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SOCIAL SERVICES AMENDMENT BILL 2017

  A freeze on family payments is a cut to family payments; those opposite can play as many word games as they like. Are rents and mortgages going to freeze for two years? Are supermarkets going to freeze the price of groceries? Are power companies, water utilities, councils and private health insurers going to freeze their bills for two years? This two-year freeze on family payments is a cut and it is one that Australian families cannot afford—and that is assuming this remains a two-year freeze. We have all seen how this government likes to extend what are supposed to be short-term freezes. A Medicare rebate freeze introduced by Labor shortly before the 2013 election and meant to last less than a year remains in place after five years of coalition government. It is little wonder that I have zero confidence that this supposed two-year freeze will fare any better.

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KEYS2DRIVE FUNDING PLEA

We have just heard from the member for Robertson on the importance of roads in Australia. I rise to speak on keys2drive, a Labor program started in 2009, with the express purpose of keeping young people safe on Australian roads. Some 250,000 young Australians have gone through keys2drive, learning the skills they need to stay safe, so it makes no sense to me that this government is considering axing this program on 1 July. This government, which says that it can afford $50 billion in handouts to corporations and banks, cannot find even $4 million a year to keep this vital national program going.

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PAYMENTS FAIL TASMANIAN PENSIONERS

Tasmanians awoke yesterday to a special feature in the Sunday Tasmanian: 'Thousands endure a life of struggle.' It tells the story of life for age pensioners in Tasmania, and it is heartbreaking. More than 1,000 Tasmanian pensioners participated in the newspaper's survey, which reported that 59 per cent said life on the pension is difficult or very difficult, 74 per cent said that they run out of money before the next pension payment is due and 90 per cent believe the age pension should provide a reasonable standard of living, not just the bare minimum.

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KIM CRAWFORD AFL

  Congratulations to the member for Gilmore. That was a good speech on a very important issue. I rise today because Tasmania has always punched above its weight when it comes to Australian Rules Football, the only real football game in this country, not that run-and-fall-over game with men looking like brick walls when they play in New South Wales and Queensland. There are names like Hudson, Baldock, Croswell, Lynch and Richardson, just to name a few. They are champions who have come from the island state to dominate the great game. This is a game that, unfortunately, does struggle to accept that Tasmania and its people have played a huge part in making the game what it is today, and we still do not have our own team. That is not what I rise for today. That is an argument for another time.

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TASMANIAN ALP UPDATE

  I rise to offer my thanks to Bryan Green, the former leader of the Tasmanian Labor Party. He retired on Friday, following a 19-year career in the Tasmanian parliament and he goes with our good wishes and our thanks for his many years of service.

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GONESKI FUNDING CONCERNS

Tomorrow the Gonski bus will pull up outside this place. The bus has travelled Australia hearing from teachers and students about the marvellous difference that Gonski funding is making in Australian schools. But those opposite know all about Gonski. A week or so before the 2013 election they signed up to it. The member for Sturt, then the coalition's education shadow minister, told parents, 'You can vote Liberal or Labor and you will get exactly the same amount of funding for your school.' That was untrue.

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