Memo from Mayo 29 October 2021
Welcome to my latest edition of the Memo from Mayo. This week was a 'Super Monday' of Private Members' Business. I introduced two bills, including legislation to allow Australians to opt-out of political texts and calls and legislation to cap the admin fees on Home Care Packages for older Australians. I also supported my Crossbench colleagues Zali Steggall MP and Helen Haines MP in introducing their political transparency bills. Zali's bill aims to stop lies in political advertising and Helen introduced a bill to form a Federal Integrity Commission and a bill to reform political donation laws, issues I have long supported and, indeed, introduced my own private members' bills.
There was also plenty of talk over the past fortnight on climate action and COP26. The three ladies of the Crossbench have provided a video message for a Peers for the Planet event at COP26. This event for international parliamentarians will be live-streamed on November 5.
Meanwhile, in the electorate, I have hosted an event with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and, at their request, tabled a petition signed by over 170,000 people across Australia urging the Government to help at-risk groups and to ease the suffering of the people of Afghanistan. I am also hosting an online Grant Writing Workshop next Thursday while I am in two weeks of home quarantine and when that ends, I will be able to attend my third Positive Ageing Forum, this time at the Aldinga Community Centre on November 15. Details about all events are included in my Memo.
Unfortunately, due to quarantine requirements, I am unable to attend the Kingscote, Callington, and Uraidla Shows. But my team will be at all three events with a stall and plenty of show bags. I will be able to attend the Almond Blossom Festival in Aldinga on November 14 so I hope to see you there.
Stop the Rorting in Aged Care
A Private Members’ Bill that seeks to cap the amount of money age care providers will be allowed to charge for “administration” to deliver care in the home to older Australians was introduced this week by Rebekha.
The Aged Care Amendment (Making Aged Care Fees Fairer) Bill 2021, if approved by Federal Parliament, will stop providers from charging any more than 25 per cent in administration for Level 1 and 2 Home Care Packages and no more than 20 per cent for Level 3 and 4.
“The current system is not working. Senior Australians are not getting the care they really need to stay at home,” Rebekha said.
Rebekha also spoke on the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response No. 2) Bill 2021 which deals with governance issues and a national screening process for age care workers. You can read Rebekha's speech here.
Opt-out of Political Texts
Rebekha Sharkie introduced legislation this week that seeks to give Australians the right to opt-out of political texts and robocalls.
The Unsolicited Political Communications Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 would allow Australians to unsubscribe from unsolicited electronic communication from political parties, and effectively stop MPs such as Craig Kelly, or any other politician, from bombarding mobile phones with unwanted texts.
"My Bill will require political parties and candidates to include an unsubscribe function with all unsolicited electronic communication - including SMS – that contains electoral content," Rebekha said.
"This approach strikes a good balance because it respects people’s choices without impinging on the implied freedom of political communication protected by the Constitution."
Coalition’s Climate Action Plan
Prime Minister Scott Morrison presented the Coalition’s climate action ‘plan’ to the media on Tuesday, October 26.
The following is a statement of response from Rebekha.
"Unfortunately, the plan fails to legislate net zero by 2050 or set a more ambitious short-term 2030 emissions reduction goal," Rebekha said.
"The United States and the United Kingdom have set far more realistic emission reduction targets.
"Australia has chosen the least ambitious goal. That 26 to 28 per cent target is embarrassing
"Without that clear 2030 target, we won't be able to trigger investment in electric vehicles, hydrogen, and green streel. If we're not careful, given our poor vehicle emissions, we'll end up like Cuba."
Climate Change Framework
Zali Steggall, the Independent Member for Warringah, reintroduced her climate action private members bills during the sitting fortnight with Rebekha's support.
Rebekha seconded the Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2021 which aims to set out a framework for national plans to be put in place and updated by the Australian Government, and for progress to be rigorously monitored and reported.
"The member for Warringah has done the work. She's basically done all of the homework for the government with respect to COP26," Rebekha said.
"The rest of the world sees us as a pariah when it comes to real action on climate change. We need to fix this. It is not too late. We all need to support the member for Warringah's bill. We need to take action, we need to have courage and we need to lead from the front," Rebekha said.
You can read Rebekha's speech here.
Asylum Seeker Event
More than 50 people from across the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Coast, and the Adelaide Hills attended a recent refugee information event at McLaren Vale hosted by the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.
The 'Afternoon With The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre' event on October 13 featured guest speaker Kon Karapanagiotidis, the Chief Executive and Founder of the ASRC; as well as the ASRC's Director of Advocacy and Campaigns Jana Favero.
Rebekha spoke about the event in Parliament last week, tabling a petition on behalf of the Afghanistan-Australia Advocacy Network. The online petition was signed by over 170,000 people across Australia and urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help at-risk groups and to ease the suffering of the people of Afghanistan.
You can watch Rebekha tabling the petition here:
Rebekha also asked a question in Question Time, calling on the Prime Minister to review the Humanitarian Program and increase the intake of refugees, particularly from Afghanistan. You can watch the Prime Minister’s response on YouTube here https://youtu.be/n2B8TrBrnWg
Rebekha also supported moves from the Crossbench to disallow the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Implementing the Technology Investment Roadmap) Regulations 2021.
"We are really in dangerous territory as a nation when we make ARENA invest in gas and coal projects. If ever there were an oxymoron, it is 'clean coal'," Rebekha said.
You can read Rebekha's speech here.
Rebekha was pleased to support a private members bill put forward by Zali Steggall, the Independent Member for Warringah, to stop oil and gas exploration off the East Coast of NSW.
The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Stopping PEP11) Bill 2021 seeks to prevent titleholders from renewing and extending the Petroleum Exploration Permit 11, known as PEP 11, over 4,575 square kilometres of ocean, from Newcastle through the Central Coast to Manly.
"It reminds me of my first term in parliament when we spent much of that time fighting big oil in the Great Australian Bight," Rebekha said.
"The problem is that the exploration licences continue to sit there. That's where the great risk is. That is what Zali's bill is fighting for. We actually need to cancel these licences. It was a good day in February 2020 when, after huge public pressure, Equinor decided to step out of oil exploration drilling in the Bight."
You can read her speech here.
Voter Integrity Bill
The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Voter Integrity) Bill was introduced on Thursday, October 28.
The Bill, if pass by both houses of Parliament, will require voters to provide identification when they vote. Identification can include a driver's licence, passport, proof of age card, Medicare card, or phone or utility statements. An eligible voter who attends a polling booth without identification can have someone with them (who has identification) vouch or attest for them, or alternatively, they may cast a vote by declaration. That vote will be counted provided that they are not subsequently found to have voted elsewhere.
"We have only just received the legislation and Centre Alliance is now reviewing the Bill, as we do with every piece of legislation," Rebekha said.
"Centre Alliance has long advocated for greater integrity in politics and in elections, including transparency in political donations. While this could also extend to improving safeguards in the voting process to help to reduce voter error or fraud, Centre Alliance will not support legislation that denies Australians the right to vote."
ABC's Antony Green discusses the legislation in an opinion piece HERE.
A Labor amendment to defer debate on the bill until January 2023 was defeated in the House of Representatives on October 28. A motion to refer debate to the next sitting day was supported by the majority in the House.
Grant Writing Workshop
Join Rebekha Sharkie and her team, alongside Steve Shotton from Regional Development Australia, next Thursday, November 4, for hints and tips on grant writing, information regarding the latest round of the Stronger Communities Programme and a lesson on RDA’s grant search tool.
A must for all local community clubs and organisations looking to apply for funding and grants.
Registration is essential. To register please CLICK HERE
When: Thursday, November 4, 11am-1pm
Platform: Zoom Webinar. A link will be emailed to attendees who register.
Stronger Communities Programme
Round Seven of the Stronger Communities Programme has now opened.
The Stronger Communities Programme provides each of the 151 Federal electorates in Australia with $150,000 to fund small capital projects. These projects aim to improve local community participation and contribute to vibrant viable communities.
Eligible communities groups can apply for grants from $2,500 up to $20,000.
As in previous rounds, Rebekha has elected to establish an independent panel of community leaders to assess Expressions of Interest and select a shortlist of applications to submit to the Commonwealth for final approval.
The deadline for submitting Expressions of Interest (EOI) to Rebekha's electorate office is 5pm on Friday, December 10. You can access the link to the EOI HERE.
Rebekha's independent panel will convene December 15. The shortlist of EOIs must be submitted in early January 2022.
More information about the program and the eligibility criteria is available HERE.
$15.5M Boost for KI
The Federal and South Australian governments are investing $15.5 million in Kangaroo Island to help the region recover from the economic impact of COVID-19 and grow into the future.
Through the Regional Recovery Partnerships program, the Commonwealth and the State Governments are backing three priority projects that will create around 40 jobs during construction while creating new economic opportunities on the Island, including $5 million for short-term workforce accommodation; $4 million to build new visitor hub at Cape Willoughby; and $1 million to develop an AgTech Hub.
You can read more here.
Building Better Regions
An injection of more than $3 million in Federal funds to boost tourism and help the local community in Mayo has been welcomed by local MP Rebekha Sharkie.
The funding was recently announced under Round 5 of the Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) and covers six projects ranging from $20,000 to renovate the Myponga Memorial Hall to more than $2 million to build 23 cabins at the District Council of Yankalilla’s accommodation site at Normanville.
“COVID-19 has had such a huge impact on our tourism industry which has really felt the brunt of the sudden drop in international visitors plus interstate border closures and restrictions, so I am really pleased to see the Commonwealth's commitment to building stronger regional communities with investment in tourism infrastructure,” Rebekha said.
You can read more about the grant program and access the full list of grant recipients in Mayo here.
Aldinga Positive Ageing Forum
Following on from successful Forums in Mount Barker and Victor Harbor, Rebekha will be hosting a Positive Ageing Forum for the Aldinga Community Centre on 15 November, 9am-1pm.
Special guests will include:
- Ian Henschke, National Seniors Chief Advocate
- Graham Goodings, veteran broadcaster
- Tim Donlan, Principal, Donlan Lawyers
There will also be local speakers in the ‘Think Global Act Local’ session, plus a demonstration by Moving into Dance and a performance from Shedtastics!
Sponsors Channel 44 will be recording and live streaming the event for those unable to attend.
In order to meet COVID-19 management requirements, registration is essential. To register please CLICK HERE