1 year ago




96 SENATE Tuesday, 14 February 2017 town a better place in which to live. Isn't that wonderful. They can see that business is fundamental to community life and to quality of life. They had come from Western Australia, and they mentioned that country towns like Chinchilla—and this is something echoed through many of the towns—are a great place for young families. But of course the trend is occurring there—changes. Then we went to Roma, and I met a person who was perhaps the highlight of the tour, Tyson Golders. He is a retailer and farmer, so he understands the importance of customers and how customers regulate businesses. He understands weather, he understands climate and he understands the natural laws of the universe. He is the Mayor of the Maranoa Regional Council. That was formed some years ago by the amalgamation of five shire councils. He ran for mayor on the ticket of localising the regional council—getting the services back to the people. That is very popular with the people, but it is choked by councillors who are wedded to old ways that benefit them in the regionalisation. What Tyson Golders showed me—repeatedly, by talking with people in various towns there—was the need to connect with people, the need to be in touch with people for information and the need for accountability. That is why he wants to get things back—the work, the decisions and the accountability—to the local shires. Amalgamation was supposed to give economies of scale but instead it has given diseconomies of scale because of the diseconomies of information. Roma is faced with a gas downturn, tax is an issue, GST is an issue for a local coffee and a restaurant shop, drugs are an issue—and how can I forget this in a country town: Bruce Garvie invested in a very, very well designed hotel, the Royal Hotel. They are very proud of their saleyards. I can remember walking around the saleyards on the top deck and seeing massive dark blue and black storm clouds coming over. You could smell the rain and everyone was anticipating it. By next morning we had not had as much as we had expected, but it was wonderfully refreshing to smell the rain on that soil. On this trip I learned that there are many opportunities for state policies, and I will be passing some of them onto Steve Dickson, the leader of the Pauline Hanson's One Nation party in the Queensland election. Deamalgamation would seem to be near the top of those policies. That is all I want to say tonight; I will share the remainder on another night. Women's Rights Senator SINGH (Tasmania) (20:53): I stand tonight in solidarity with women around the world. Regardless of where they live I stand by their rights to access reproductive counselling and other sexual health services. I stand by a woman's right to choose. I reaffirm this stance in light of the reinstatement of the global gag rule by US President Trump on 23 January—a rule imposed on women around the world by the US government. I am deeply concerned by this move to restrict family planning advice. The implications are far reaching and punishing for the most vulnerable women. This rule prohibits international organisations such as HIV/AIDS clinics, birth control providers and other planned parenthood organisations from receiving US aid if they have any involvement in abortion services— including counselling, referrals or advocacy. The rule applies even if the organisation is using their own funds in this area of service. If a provider refuses to sign the gag a loss of funding and removal of access to donated contraceptives, including condoms, will follow. Marie Stopes International has estimated the funding loss will lead to 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.2 million abortions, 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 21,000 maternal deaths—all during President Trump's first term. Family planning organisations and NGOs in Australia are equally speaking out. Family Planning Alliance Australia has said: FPAA recognises that this decision has wide reaching and damaging impacts. The oppression of women and the removal of autonomous decision making about their sexual and reproductive health has flow on social, economic and political impacts to the whole community. Similarly, Marjorie Newman-Williams, vice-president of Marie Stopes International, has explained: All the medical evidence, as well as everything we know from our daily interactions with women, is unequivocal: If you take safe abortion services out of the reproductive health care package, it exposes women to risk. The last time this global gag rule was in place it did immense harm. It endangered health systems and it endangered the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable women on this planet. Services such as maternal and child health care, access to contraceptives, sexual advice, STI and HIV testing and counselling are all impacted. In many cases clinics are the only places where women can access sexual health information and contraceptives. Shackling access to terminations does not result in fewer terminations—it makes the procedures unsafe. Denying access to life-saving family planning and reproductive health and HIV services endangers women's lives. It stigmatises women and criminalises them. It leads to irresponsible practices and increased maternal deaths, and it violates women's rights. The World Health Organisation estimates that 22 million women experience unsafe abortions each year, the vast majority of whom are in developing countries. CHAMBER

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 SENATE 97 Sustainable Development Goal 3.7 ensures universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services. It is an acknowledgement of the right of women to autonomous decisions. The United Nations Population Fund believes access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare, including voluntary family planning, can reduce maternal deaths by one-third and child deaths by as much as one-fifth. Further, poverty and reproductive health are intricately related. Supportive family planning enables the world's poorest countries to speed up their economic growth and social development, and create the conditions for raising living standards and reducing poverty. Of course this global gag rule has been enforced before, under the Bush administration, and it was backed up unashamedly by the Howard government. Indeed one of President Barack Obama's first acts as President was to reverse the global gag rule on family planning organisations. I am proud that when Labor were in government we reversed the Howard government's prohibition on Australian international development assistance for organisations that delivered family planning services. I am proud that funding was doubled under Labor for family planning services directed towards women in developing countries. I applaud the Dutch government for announcing it is planning to launch an international fund to support services defunded under the US global gag rule. As a country they have recognised women have the right to make their own family planning decisions. Tonight I call on the Turnbull government to follow the lead of the Dutch and Belgian governments and also pledge funds to help plug this $600 million per year funding gap left behind by the US global gag rule. I understand there is a pledging conference scheduled for around the beginning of March, and I have written to Minister Julie Bishop to call on our government to lend our support to women and girls around the world affected by this global gag rule. The global gag rule is an attack on women. It sends a message to the world that women do not have the right to make autonomous decisions, that their judgment cannot be trusted. It is a dangerous precedent to set. When we value women's lives as less important we remove their rights and choices. It is timely that it is Valentine's Day. The United Nations Population Fund launched a campaign around Valentine's Day. Their campaign highlights the plight of child brides, the practise that ensnares tens of thousands of girls around the world every day. It calls on us to say 'I don't' instead of 'I do'. As outlined in the report by Plan International Australia Just married, just a child: child marriage in the Indo-Pacific region, girls who are married at a young age are exposed to early and unwanted pregnancies and often face a higher risk of STIs and HIV. Many girls also suffer physical, emotional and sexual violence. Complications of pregnancy are the second leading killer of girls aged 15 to 19. In developing countries where child brides are most prevalent nine out of 10 births to adolescent girls take place within a marriage. In Nepal, more than 48 per cent of adult women report that they were married before they reached the age of 18. Gender inequality is a leading cause of the high rate of child brides. These girls need high-quality services and support. Health clinics provide much more than critical sexual education: they are a haven, a place of support where girls can learn to advocate for their own rights. This US global gag rule is a barrier to women and girls throughout the world accessing these services. It is a barrier to those child brides who need that support. Voluntary family planning empowers women and girls to finish their education, join the workforce and empower their communities. When women are empowered, communities are empowered. Educated women are more likely to send their children to school, which helps end the poverty cycle. Educated women are more likely to become economically self-reliant and engaged in their community, which builds a culturally rich society. Women around the world contribute extraordinary achievements and deserve and demand to be respected. The global gag rule is an attack on women everywhere. It demeans women, which is why I stand in solidarity with the communities affected by the global gag rule. (Time expired) Tasmania Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (21:03): Young people in my home state of Tasmania are being absolutely shafted. There is no other way to put it. This government is waging a generational war against young Tasmanians. They have been saddled with the disastrous legacy of 30 years of failed trickle-down economics and corrupt crony capitalism. This has entrenched intergenerational poverty and disadvantage for many families. Of course it is their children who so often have borne the brunt of this through things like substandard nutrition, substandard education and substandard opportunity. Here are just a few of the things that this Federal Liberal government is bequeathing to young Tasmanians. A climate warming out of control. An unstable jobs landscape, with significant decreases in full-time employment, particularly recently, partially offset by increases in part-time employment. An unaffordable housing market that is basically impossible to enter for many young Tasmanians. A welfare system that punishes and dehumanises vulnerable people, and because of Tasmania's status as having the highest percentage of welfare recipients of any CHAMBER

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