16 SENATE Tuesday, 14 February 2017 Senator Dastyari: Mr President, a point of order on relevance: Senator Chisholm was not even the party's secretary at that time, a point that was made by the One Nation senator herself. The PRESIDENT: Senator Dastyari, resume your seat. That is a debating point. Senator BRANDIS: So, Senator Chisholm just sat there for 20 minutes. Time and again he was invited to deny it, and he was eloquent by his silence. (Time expired) The PRESIDENT: Senator Ketter, a final supplementary question. Senator KETTER (Queensland) (14:05): I note the minister's answer to my first supplementary question, but I am compelled to ask: does the minister think that One Nation is more fiscally responsible than former Treasurer Peter Costello? Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:05): Senator Ketter, Mr Costello's remarks, with which I wholeheartedly agree, were made many years ago. Senator Wong: What has changed? Senator BRANDIS: I will take your interjection, Senator Wong, and I will tell you what has changed. What has changed is that since One Nation has been represented in this chamber, since the middle of last year, they have shown a willingness to vote for responsible government legislation. Senator Ketter, you and your colleagues in the Labor Party ought to get over the fact that the Australian people elected four One Nation senators. You do not have to agree with them. You are perfectly at liberty to disagree with them, as I do on many issues, but, at the same time, you ought to respect the decision of the Australian people. Opposition senators interjecting— The PRESIDENT: Order on my left! Senator BRANDIS: In particular, you ought to respect the decision of your constituents and mine, the people of Queensland, who elected two One Nation senators. Treat them, as your leader is incapable of doing, with professional courtesy. (Time expired) Honourable senators interjecting— The PRESIDENT: Order! Senators, that was very disorderly, with a lot of interjections from both sides, particularly from my left. I advise all senators to cease interjections. Indigenous Employment Senator WILLIAMS (New South Wales—Nationals Whip in the Senate) (14:06): My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Scullion. Will the minister advise how the government is supporting jobs for Indigenous Australians and how this contributes to the government's Closing The Gap agenda? Senator SCULLION (Northern Territory—Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:07): I would like to thank Senator Williams for his question and acknowledge his longstanding interest particularly in employment for Indigenous people in western New South Wales. I would like to also acknowledge this question on an important day, with the Prime Minister tabling the Closing the Gap statement in the other place. The Prime Minister spoke of the wonderful work we have been doing in employment programs, particularly with the 5,000 Indigenous jobseekers who have moved from welfare through the Vocational Training and Employment Centres, the VTEC program, into real jobs through that VTEC network. The most important thing to note is that these are not low-hanging fruit—75 per cent of the 5,000 people were what we refer to as stream C jobseekers, and they are the jobseekers with the greatest barriers to employment. The program was targeted not at the easy job seekers but the more difficult ones. Take our Employment Parity Initiative. We are partnering with the largest employers—household names like Woolies, Accor, Crown Resorts, Transfield—and that new approach has seen us now employ 60 people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent today and 60 people yesterday, and it will be 60 people tomorrow. Every single day, 60 jobs will be created for our first Australians. But to close the gap we are going to need an additional 188,000 Indigenous Australians in work by 2018. Employers and Indigenous job experts are who we need to speak to, and we have been speaking to an Indigenous Employment Forum with the Minister for Employment, Michaelia Cash, and people such as Jeremy Donovan and Laura Berry—absolute experts in Indigenous engagement and employment. Those are the sorts of people that are leading our policy to ensure that we close the gap in employment. The PRESIDENT: Senator Williams, a supplementary question. Senator WILLIAMS (New South Wales—Nationals Whip in the Senate) (14:09): Can the minister explain how the government has supported Indigenous jobs through its Indigenous Procurement Policy? CHAMBER
Tuesday, 14 February 2017 SENATE 17 Senator SCULLION (Northern Territory—Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:09): We are pulling every lever in our control to get more Indigenous people to work. It is a fact that an Indigenous business is now 100 times more likely to employ an Indigenous person than a non-Indigenous business is. I can remember looking at Canada and the United States, when I was in opposition, and I knew that they had built a successful indigenous middle-class there, principally through the investments of government particularly around procurement. We were $6.2 million in 2012-13 and I said we wanted a simple target of three per cent, and we have now gone from $6.2 million, that those opposite were languishing on, to $284.2 million in 12 months. As I said today, Indigenous procurement is connecting Indigenous businesses, and we will be working with the states and territories on the private sector to extend these excellent policies. (Time expired) Senator WILLIAMS (New South Wales—Nationals Whip in the Senate) (14:10): Will the minister outline what other initiatives the government is delivering to support jobs for Indigenous Australians? Senator SCULLION (Northern Territory—Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:10): In remote Australia, where we have I think some of the biggest challenges, a community development program was developed by sitting down with communities and Indigenous leaders who told us principally that they were sick of people moving from the program to passive welfare and a lack of opportunities. Under the Remote Jobs and Communities Program 60 per cent of people left for passive welfare. We had to change that. We introduced CDP. We have had 12,400 people leave, but not to passive welfare—it has been to a real job. Between July and 31 September we placed 12,400 people into jobs, and 4,100 have now been in their job for over six months. It is not just a matter of placing them; it is making sure that they remain in those jobs. We are increasing engagement and building skills in community led activities by the community and for the community. We are working with these communities to ensure we get the very best employment outcomes. (Time expired) Pauline Hanson's One Nation Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (14:11): My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. I refer to the minister who yesterday said in relation to the Western Australia Liberal Party's preference deal with One Nation: 'I have seen comments from the Premier which describe the arrangement entered into by the WA Liberal Party organisation as sensible and pragmatic. I would agree with the Premier's description.' Does the minister consider One Nation's economic policies to be so fiscally responsible that they should be preferenced above his mates the National Party? Senator CORMANN (Western Australia—Minister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:12): I thank Senator Sterle for his question. Of course I do agree with the Premier of the great state of Western Australia, Colin Barnett, in relation to those comments. What I would say to the Senate is what I have said publicly—unlike at the federal level, in Western Australia the Liberal and National parties operate as independent parties, not as a coalition. My personal preference always is for the Liberal and National parties to act as we do here at the national level, as a strong and united coalition where we direct preferences to each other. But in Western Australia that has not been the circumstance for a very long time. Indeed, since 2008 the Nationals under Brendon Grylls's leadership, and we respected that this was their right as a separate party, have preferenced other parties ahead of Liberal Party candidates. They have done so at every election since 2008 in the upper house, and indeed they are doing that at this election. This is nothing unusual. It has been business as usual for a long time. In fact, the WA Nationals preferenced One Nation ahead of Liberal Party candidates in the upper house back in 2008, and in this election the WA Nationals are preferencing the Greens ahead of Liberal Party candidates, believe it or not. While my own personal preference and the experience at a national level and in all other parts of Australia is that there is a strong and united coalition, in Western Australia there is an alliance arrangement between independent parties and as such each party makes its own decisions on preference allocations. Our priority, incidentally, is to convince as many Western Australians as possible to support their Liberal Party candidates in the legislative assembly and in the upper house with their primary vote, with their first preference. If they cannot vote for our candidates with their first preference, we encourage them to give us their second, third or fourth preference—as long as it is ahead of the Labor Party and the Greens, because of course they would be disastrous for Western Australia. (Time expired) Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (14:14): What was the minister's involvement in setting the 'sensible and pragmatic arrangements'? Senator CORMANN (Western Australia—Minister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:14): Preference arrangements for the Liberal Party of Western Australia are entirely a matter for the Liberal Party organisation in Western Australia. The PRESIDENT: Senator Sterle, is there a final supplementary question? CHAMBER
In Australia, many children have received the historical benefits of a developed economy, a high functioning health system, accessible education, a good social welfare system and labour force protection for working families. Yet there are a significant number of children who have missed out on these ‘safety net’ benefits through entrenched poverty, discrimination, social exclusion and disadvantage.
This report considers the significant progress, or lack thereof for children across a number of key social policy areas including family life, education, justice and health, and what this has meant for children.