Turnbull’s 18c attack: ‘Not what Australia is about’

A quick word

I can see why many Australians think the Coalition’s obsession with watering-down the Racial Discrimination Act is simply irrelevant.

Watering-down section 18C won’t create jobs, train apprentices, re-open TAFEs or help teachers in our schools.

It won’t make seeing the doctor cheaper, the NBN faster or solve the gas emergency we have right now in manufacturing.

But the one thing this change will do is make it easier for people to be insulted or humiliated on the basis of race.

I do concede this government has someone with a sense of humour to choose Harmony Day to weaken protections against racism.

But they have never been able to answer one simple question: What insult do they want people to be able to say that they cannot say now?

Now, I understand it is possible to consider watering-down these laws if you never know what discrimination is like.

Just like it’s easy for the Prime Minister to support cutting penalty rates, because he doesn’t know anyone who relies on them.

It’s easy to dismiss a hurt you won’t feel. It’s easy to weaken a protection you’ll never need. But that’s not leadership. That’s not what Australia is about.

The only two cases the Prime Minister held up as his rationale could both have been addressed by improving the process – not by changing the law. This isn’t about free speech; it’s about the Prime Minister appeasing his party.

How much more will Australia throw overboard to save one man’s job? Labor will never support the right to be a bigot.”

Hon Bill Shorten MP

No support for Turnbull’s unfair cuts

Opinion 2The Coalition’s unfair Omnibus Bill has been slammed by the community sector, women’s groups and early childhood educators during the Senate Committee Inquiry.

There is absolutely no support for Mr Turnbull’s unfair cuts to families, pensioners, new mums, people with disability and young jobseekers.

For the first time, the Department of Social Services (DSS) has revealed that the number of Age Pensioners and Newstart recipients who will lose the Energy Supplement. Around 403,000 age pensioners, 472,000 people on Newstart and around 200,000 Youth Allowance recipients will no longer have access to the supplement by 2020.

All up, 1.7 million Australians will eventually lose the Energy Supplement.

For pensioners this will be a cut of $14.10 per fortnight to single pensioners or $365 a year. Couple pensioners will be $21.20 a fortnight worse off or around $550 a year worse off.

DSS also admitted that no distributional analysis has been done on the Turnbull Government’s cuts to Family Tax Benefits – cuts that will affect around 1.5 million families.

Did Christian Porter even consider the financial situation of the families these cuts will hurt before he introduced them into Parliament?

DSS also admitted that around 587,000 families on the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit will be worse off by at least $200 per child.

Malcolm Turnbull should take his unfair cuts to vulnerable Australians out of the Parliament and out of the Budget, for good.

Graham Perrett MP, Federal Member for Moreton