Memo From Mayo December 2020
"This time last year Parliament had finished for 2019 and my team and I were looking forward to the Christmas break after a busy election year. Then bushfire swept through the Hills on December 20, and fire struck Kangaroo Island and flared up again with a vengeance in the New Year. Our community had barely started the recovery journey when the COVID-19 pandemic stopped being an overseas story on the news to being a reality for Australia. We have been through a great deal this year but our communities have been resilient and supportive. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to help a neighbor in Mayo this year. Our electorate is not only beautiful but we are resourceful and innovative. I look forward to working with everyone as we move forward with hope in 2021. From my family to yours, I wish you all the joy of the season." Rebekha Sharkie MP
Rebekha's Mount Barker Electorate Office will shut Christmas Day and will reopen on 4 January 2021.
The Victor Harbor Satellite Office will also shut on Christmas Day and reopen on January 11.
Photo: The Mount Barker District COVID-19 Relief Program is being operated by the Mount Barker Community Centre. The program was set up in partnership with the Mount Barker District Council and the Rotary Club of Mount Barker with support from Rebekha and State MP for Kavel Dan Cregan. Local residents can drop off donations of new toys and Christmas hamper items at Rebekha’s electorate office at Shop 1, 72 Gawler Street, Mount Barker until December 18. Rebekha's Victor Harbor Office is also a collection point for the Combined Christian Churches-Community Care Yankalilla. This not-for-profit group is looking for donations of non-perishable food items, gift vouchers and new, unwrapped toys. Goods must be dropped at the office before December 18.
Mobile Electorate Offices
Rebekha has hosted a number of mobile electorate offices across Mayo in recent months including street corner meetings in Hawthorndene and Strathalbyn.
Constituent meetings have also been hosted at venues at American River, Kingscote, Parndana and Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island as well as Aldinga, Willunga, McLaren Vale.
"Unfortunately, the COVID-19 cluster in Adelaide meant we had to reschedule our meetings at Coromandel Valley, Blackwood and Cherry Gardens," Rebekha said.
"However, I will be hosting more mobile electorate offices at Aldinga and Sellicks on January 28 and Myponga and Yankalilla January 29.
"COVID-19 and social distancing have meant our communities have had to adapt to different media platforms to communicate, but nothing beats face-to-face.
"If you're a constituent and you have a Federal issue you wish to discuss, please call my office on 8398 5566 to make an appointment."
Rebekha spoke about the mobile electorate offices in Parliament. You can watch her speech on YouTube here.
Buy Now Pain Later
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) lenders such as Afterpay, ZipPay and Payright must be regulated by the same consumer protection laws as other credit providers, Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has told Federal Parliament.
In a motion lodged in Parliament responding to an ASIC report on the BNPL industry, Rebekha said the number of Australians using BNPL services had nearly doubled in the past 12 months and yet there was no regulatory framework to make sure they could afford it, and no protection if they couldn’t.
“The Buy Now Pay Later industry is a financial tsunami waiting to happen," Rebekha said.
Predatory Payday Lending
In the first sitting week, Rebekha seconded a Private Member's Bill aimed at tackling predatory payday lending practices and consumer lease reforms.
The National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2020 was introduced by the Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie.
The content of this Bill mirrors the content of a similar Bill introduced by Rebekha last year and legislation introduced by her Centre Alliance colleague Stirling Griff.
For Rebekha's speech and more information about the Bill, click here.
Question Time: Wine Exports
South Australia produces half of Australia's wine products and 80 per cent of the nation's export wine.
China is Australia’s largest wine export market with wine exports to China growing from $330 million in 2014, to $1.2 billion in 2019.
During the recent sitting fortnight, Rebekha asked the Agriculture Minister David Littleproud what the Government was doing to assist.
The Minister told the Parliament that the Govt is appealing the "tariff", accelerating support for emerging markets and meeting with major stakeholders to find other solutions, within the guidelines of Australia being a 'fair trade nation'.
Question Time: Deeming Rates
Last week during Question Time Rebekha asked the Treasurer when the government would assist older Australians and cut the deeming rate.
Sadly, the Treasurer said the Government had already acted on this issue and was adopting a 'watch and wait' mode.
"That's not good enough. We need an independent body to decide these important financial issues," Rebekha said.
"2020 has been a challenging year for older Australians. Many retirees have put savings in government-guaranteed term deposits because they are concerned about the share market. They need cash reserves to get them through."
You can read the question here
The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Extension of Coronavirus Support) Bill 2020 was passed by Federal Parliament last week.
Rebekha voted against the legislation in the House of Representatives. In her speech, Rebekha said she was concerned the Bill signalled to an abrupt end the extra support for Centrelink recipients and returns people to poverty. She called for an increased, permanent rate to JobSeeker payments.
Drop Charges Against McBride
Rebekha joined Andrew Wilkie MP - Independent Member for Clark - in putting a motion to the Parliament to call on the Government to drop all charges against whistleblower David McBride.
Major David McBride has been charged with numerous Commonwealth offences for his whistleblowing on command failings and unlawful killings in Afghanistan and faces life in prison.
The Crossbench stood alone in support of this motion.
You can watch Rebekha's speech on Youtube here and read her speech in full here.
The Menzies-Calwell Club is about bringing together all sides of politics to talk about policy ideas.
The name recognises the extraordinary friendship between two former members and two gentlemen: the late Robert Menzies, the longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia, and the then Leader of the Opposition Arthur Calwell.
Last week Rebekha spoke on a motion acknowledging these political stalwarts and the club named in their honour.
You can read Rebekha's speech here.
The Federal Budget was delayed this year due to COVID-19.
In response, Rebekha published three 'Budget Overview' newsletters outlining the measures in the Budget and the funding secured for Mayo.