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Appropriation (Nation Building and Jobs) Bill (No.2) 2008-2009

Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia)
(4.32 pm)—I rise today to speak to the government’s $42 million stimulus package that, as the government puts it, aims to provide long-term infrastructure building for Australia. While the Greens have stated on the record our support for the intent of this package, we do raise genuine and serious concerns about a number of the areas that have failed to be adequately addressed within this package of the Appropriation (Nation Building and Jobs) Bill (No. 1) 2008-2009 and related bills.

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Matter of Public Interest: Paid Parental Leave

I rise today to discuss the release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report entitled Paid Parental Leave: Support for Parents with Newborn Children handed down two weeks ago.

I must say that while many of us that have been talking about greater supports for working families for years were sceptical at the Government’s referral of parental supports to yet ‘another’ inquiry, the initial recommendations and proposed model put forward by the Productivity Commission have proved to be quite promising.

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Now more than ever the time to support working parents

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says that now more than ever, government-funded paid parental leave is a must to adequately support Australian families.

Senator Hanson-Young has responded to statements from Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan that recent global financial events could delay the introduction of such a paid parental leave scheme for Australia to beyond 2009.

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Greens to push for 26 weeks’ paid parental leave

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the Greens will push for 26 weeks’ paid parental leave, saying that such a scheme will provide better support for parents and babies.

Yesterday the Greens welcomed the Productivity Commission’s recommendation for a government-funded 18-week paid parental leave scheme as a positive step in the right direction that was long overdue for working parents.

“Twenty-six weeks of paid parental leave is what the Greens are bringing to the table in this debate,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

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Paid leave a no-brainer to support Australian parents

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young today welcomed the Productivity Commission’s recommendation for a government-funded 18-week paid parental leave scheme, saying that such a proposal was long overdue for Australian workers.

The recommendation was made in the Productivity Commission’s initial report into paid parental leave, based on more than 250 submissions, which was released today.

“A paid parental leave scheme should be a no-brainer for the Government,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

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Greens call for better support for parents

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has backed Parliamentary Secretary for Early Education and Childcare Maxine McKew’s call to reduce the current childcare ratio to one carer for every three babies.

“The Greens have long called for nationally consistent childcare standards, and to achieve carer-to-child ratios of at least one-to-three for children up to two years old, and one-to-four for children older than two years,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

Currently in Australia the dominant standard is one carer for every five babies.

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South Australia's Greens Senator makes history

South Australia’s first-ever Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, vowed to put the Murray River at the top of Canberra’s agenda when she was sworn in today.

Senator Hanson-Young, 26, makes history as the youngest woman ever elected to the Federal Parliament, and is the youngest member of the current Parliament.

“It’s been a nine-month wait since the election results were declared, and I am incredibly honoured and excited to be here in the chamber today, able to put South Australia’s issues front and centre,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

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Greens ‘New Century’ Australia Senate Agenda

The Australian Greens today outlined their vision for Australia in the new century ahead of the opening of the Balance-of-Power Senate.

Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, said a record 1.17 million people voted Greens at the last election, and the five Greens Senators were ready to work constructively with all parties to respond to the challenges of the new century.

"Pollution, poverty, discrimination and the destruction of Australia's forests and precious environments are the legacy of the last century and decades of greed and inaction."

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Guest workers must be protected

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has welcomed the Federal Government’s Guest Worker Pilot Scheme announced yesterday, but stated that the rights of workers must be protected.

“While it is pleasing to see the Government provide much needed assistance and training for our Pacific neighbours, especially with the injection of money back into their respective communities, we must ensure that the guest workers are not exploited,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Poor housing and contentious pay deductions are two issues that the Greens will be keeping a close eye on.

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