Last night in an address to the Parliament, I discussed how trust in politicians is at an all-time low. And today’s debacle has seen the New Vehicle Efficiency Standards Bill rushed through to the Senate without debate.

I didn’t get to speak to the bill, so I’m sharing my thoughts with you now.

The first thing I want the Australian people to know is this: we have the actual minister responsible for this bill at the table, we have one Labor member and perhaps another one coming in that is on duty—maybe swapping over—but there's not one member here from the ruling party of Australia prepared to defend this legislation in the House tonight. That's why you're getting a running commentary from coalition members in the opposition.

There were three things that happened before the election campaign. Firstly, the then Albanese opposition said: 'You have nothing to fear from electing a Labor government to this country's leadership, because we are not going to change the stage 3 tax situation at all. We're not going to change the tax.' Secondly, they said: 'We won't touch your superannuation. We won't go near your superannuation.' Thirdly, they said, 'In regard to COVID, we will have a royal commission into our COVID response.' What happened when the Prime Minister became Prime Minister? He failed on all three. There is no royal commission; he changed the superannuation arrangements, which he said he wouldn't change; and he changed the tax arrangements. I'm not here to argue with the Deputy Treasurer about whether this is fair, right or wrong. I'm only saying that they broke the trust of the Australian people, which they asked for before the election campaign. People voted for the Labor Party in good faith, in the full belief that there wouldn't be a change to superannuation. You may say, 'But this is only a change for wealthy people.' No, this is a change for people that have worked hard. I'll come in a minute to farmers and how this affects them.

The important thing is this: when politicians present themselves to the Australian people and say, 'Here is our plan; if you elect us, this is what we will do,' we, the Australian people, expect they will do what they said they would do, not change the basic fundamental arguments that they raised within the election campaign. I'm not saying they're broken promises; they're broken trust agreements with the Australian people. Trust in politicians, in this nation and around the world, is at an all-time low. Go and talk to people in the street about what they think about politicians.

I've been in and out of this place since 1990. I've faced 13 election campaigns. Sadly, four of them were unsuccessful. But I'm here, and I have a memory of Labor governments that took away from single mums their parental payment to care for their children. They cut the maximum age for it from 12 years of age to seven years of age. Then the Albanese government comes in, raises it from seven to 12 and says: 'Pat us on the back. Look what we've done for single mothers.' I was here when you took it away. I raised, time after time, that it's right that, when a child turns 12 and can get themselves off to school, mum can get out, get a job and get on with life, but, when children are seven years old, I think mums are very protective of them, especially single mums, and they have to make special arrangements if they're working.

I said I'd talk about farmers, and I don't want to run out of time. Every time you're in the chair, Deputy Speaker Vasta, I tend to run out of time on very important issues, and I don't intend to do that tonight. From a farming perspective—and I'm from a farming electorate—many farmers use their self-managed super funds to secure and protect their assets, or whatever it is in their business, and pass them on to future generations. These are assets that have been built up over many years of hard work. Often these farmers have started out as share farmers on dairy farms. They've finally paid for their herd, and, after that, they started looking for an opportunity to put a deposit on a dairy farm. It's very difficult. It's very hard work, seven days a week, non-stop, with the whole family involved. I pay tribute to every farmer tonight, but, more importantly, I pay tribute to dairy farmers.

If you drive up my driveway, Deputy Speaker—and I hope you do one day—and you just get near the house, you will notice two milk cans. Those milk cans aren't there because they're pretty; they're rusted, old and rotted in the bottom. But, every time I drive up my driveway, I remember that I come from a dairying community and our businesses, which were the original grocery store and then the drapery store, were born out of the money made on dairy farms. In those days, you could have a 40-acre dairy farm and buy a Holden every two years, and hopefully you shopped at Broadbent's. Having said that, I am reminded that, every time I drive up my driveway, my wife says, 'Get rid of the milk cans.' I can't get rid of the milk cans, because they're part of who I am. I come from a dairy community.

Yes, those assets have been built up over many years. I commend the member for Nicholls, who spoke today on this bill, for his words of support for farmers in his electorate. I would have to echo the same sentiment so that we don't take for granted the sacrifice and risk that farmers and their families take to feed the nation. As the member for Forde said, they put food on the table. Milk doesn't come out of cartons and bottles; it comes out of cows. It comes out of sweat and hard work. Beef comes from grass-fed cattle, if you can afford grass-fed beef anymore. The cost of living is really putting some pressure on that. We haven't quite got to the stage of having a $100 leg of lamb, but, by gee, we're not far away. I remember the statement from the member for New England.

This bill, like other policy themes under the Labor government, discourages farmers from doing their honourable work on our behalf. Worse, it disproportionately poses a serious threat to the next generation of farmers, which I'm sure the member for Forrest will bring up too. There's now enough of the next generation of farmers who don't want to continue on the farm because they know what their mums and dads have been through to get them to that point. They have always helped out on the farms, as all kids on farms do. They're helpers on the farm. It's been a family commitment. But, because they have seen how hard it is to make money on a farm today, they want to be doctors and lawyers and all those sorts of things, as the song goes. They don't necessarily want to be farmers. So you haven't got the family coming through saying, 'I want to be a farmer.' Under this proposal, if you make it even harder for farmers and the next generation, they're going to walk away.

The next generation of farmers that do want to farm already feel abandoned by the government through policies such as committing to closing the live sheep export businesses. It sends a message: 'It's live sheep now. It's live cattle next. We're coming after you, and we're coming after farmers with all sorts of environmental restrictions that the previous generations never had to deal with.' The biosecurity levy is another one where the government is passing the buck on to farmers. Biosecurity is a responsibility for all of us, not just for farmers—every one of us. I've been through a stage where we had disease on farms and you couldn't walk onto a farm without washing your boots and you couldn't take your car onto the farm, just in case. You couldn't transfer tractors from one property to another, just in case you picked up something and took it onto the farm. Biosecurity is absolutely important. That's why I was against the importation of apples from New Zealand when there was a disease over there. We railed against it and pushed against it. What happened? The disease just snuck into Australia by chance. Now it's here, we have no objection to importing the apples from New Zealand. We should never have imported apples from New Zealand, and we should put up barriers for our own protection, our bioprotection, because what protects our food and our farmers protects us.

What we eat is very important for our children. When I and other people my age were growing up, all the food that we ate came from within, probably, 10 kms of where we lived. You might have had some canned food now and again, but not a lot. There wasn't a lot around. Our food was seasonal, healthy and good for us. Milk didn't come in bottles; it came in a billy at the front gate, straight from the farm. Our bread was delivered by the bread man. It was a wonderful time to be alive, eating the freshest food created and grown on the Koo Wee Rup Swamp. You couldn't ask for a better food source than the Koo Wee Rup Swamp. I know that today all of you are still eating the asparagus that is grown in the Koo Wee Rup Swamp and the potatoes that are grown in the rest of my electorate. That next generation of farmers are going to be offended by this.

To put forward another position to the Deputy Treasurer: if you change the rules, you have to compensate the individual who is affected by that change of rules. That's called trust. You can say, 'Righto, if you've invested in your superannuation fund and it's over $3 million, we're going to change your taxation arrangements,' but at that point you should allow anybody to withdraw their funds from their superannuation and invest them in any way they would like, no matter what age they are, because you have changed the rules. If they want to invest it in property, in shares or in other forms of investment, do the right thing and let them. They said, 'Oh no, you can't do that,' because who's dominating? The big union superannuation funds are directing what they can and can't do. This government does not want self-managed superannuation funds. The big superannuation funds do not want self-managed superannuation funds. Those of us who do have a self-managed superannuation fund are being forced to have a digital identity. If we don't do it by 22 December last year, we will be fined $1.1 million. Really, why do my wife and I have to have a digital identity to run our own self-managed superannuation fund? It's crazy stuff.

I can't imagine the regulation that is being put on this generation that previous generations never had to deal with. I mean, since the early eighties we have been paying capital gains tax. We're now paying land tax that we didn't pay before and that is increasing exponentially every year. I know that isn't a federal tax but it is affecting everything the federal government does because we have a rental crisis in Australia. Why do we have a rental crisis? Because landlords are selling their properties to people who are going to live in that property, so there are no rentals left. I have estate agents in country areas who are losing as many as 150 landlords every three months, then we have a rental crisis. Why do we have a rental crisis? Because state government policies are good for the renter and they establish the rights of the person renting the house. I grew up with caveat emptor—let the buyer beware. Let the Australian people make their own decisions on their own behalf. If you don't want to rent at that price, don't rent at that price. Rentals are being taken off the market, caused by government policy and only government policy.

Look, it is sad where this nation is headed by people making regulations around our farmers, around our community and around superannuation that are not backed by common sense. It isn't until you have dirt under your fingernails that you would understand many of the issues that I'm talking about tonight.

Thank you for the opportunity to address this parliament and the people of Australia.

Thank you, Deputy Speaker Sharkie, for this opportunity to speak on the Digital ID Bill 2024 and the associated bill. One thing I will note from the start is this: look at the list of speakers here. There are no Labor speakers at all, only coalition or independent speakers—not one from Labor! There's a good reason they're not lined up to speak on this bill: half of them don't like it. Half of them are very uncomfortable with the bill, but they can't say anything to their leadership about the fact that they're uncomfortable with the way this bill attends freedoms.

But it's not just the Labor party that's at odds here. I'll go back to 2022, when the coalition was in power and I was a member of that government. To give the experience—and I'll come to that a bit later on—if you ran a superannuation account on your own in 2022, the then minister, Jane Hume, introduced and passed legislation for a government sector ID for small and medium super funds. I got a direction from the government that said: 'Sign up or else. You have to have a digital identity if you want to be a director of your own super fund.' I thought: 'This can't be right. The Liberal-National government would never to do this—make it compulsory.' Not only did they make it compulsory but, under the law, directors who failed to apply for a director ID within the stipulated time frame could face criminal or civil penalties of 5,000 penalty units, which currently stands at $1.11 million. Directors of a CATSI organisation can face penalties of $200,000. So I thought, 'I better get on and get a digital ID,' because I didn't want to be the member of parliament that wouldn't sign up for, at that time, his own government's digital ID.

It was quite difficult. It was quite a strain on my wife to get that done, because you have to have facial recognition. You had to go through the process, and our accountants couldn't process our documentation. So don't talk to me about 'voluntary'. This government is talking about 'voluntary', and I'll speak a bit more on that when I get a chance later, when, internationally, this legislation is in nearly every Western country. 'Oh, surprise! 'No, it's in Australia. It's only an Australian proposition.' No, it's not an Australian proposition; it is worldwide. We are following along, tagging along, with the Americans and other countries on this bill.

We just heard the member for Cowper outline the community concerns about this bill, and what the community is on about is freedom of activity, freedom of engagement and freedom of being part of the Australian community without encumbrances like a digital identity bill. If you want to hide the bill, what you would do is introduce it in budget week. But the first thing you would do is rush it through the Senate on the last day of sitting, helped by the fact that coalition members didn't turn up to vote against it. I know why they didn't, because they proposed it themselves and put in the legislation. As a backbencher, I didn't see that legislation; I didn't see that come before the party room. I didn't see it; I wasn't told about it. But, when I did find it, it was in some obscure corporate legislation—set out here—that would have gone through the party room without comment. It would have been an uncontroversial bill. Well, it became controversial for us.

From where I sit, there's something exceptionally sneaky and suspicious about the bill and how the government is handling it. Accordingly, debate on this bill is as a pesky and insignificant piece of legislation—no big deal! Well, it isn't. To the contrary, it's one of the most heinous, overreaching and disturbing bills I've seen in the 25 years that I've spent in the parliament. Adding to my suspicion, consultation about this important bill was stifled. A quiet notice went out: one month to provide feedback. This was just before Christmas, when people were distracted and rightfully preparing to switch off—not switch on. Then, to top it off, as I said, it was rammed it through the Senate without any committee consultation. There's nothing surer than this bill having the capacity, in one fell swoop, to imprison us all as servants of the state. Have I gone too far?

There's been too much. This Digital ID Bill is already mandatory. Take the requirement for digital identity for directors of superannuation funds. I explained the situation with my wife before. We could have faced a serious fine if we hadn't done what we were told. Other people have told me that they just signed up using paperwork. How they did that I don't know. That wasn't our instruction. The reason 10 million Australians have to have a myGovID is that 10 million Australians were coerced into getting one and Centrelink won't or can't talk to you without one. Recently, in Western Australian, there was a payment to be made, but you couldn't access the payment without a digital ID. As one commentator put it:

Why should the Government have any more of our data than they already have? They don't deserve it. They have not proven that they can be trusted to handle information about their citizens responsibly.

Well, it's too late. The game's up. Australians can see through this nonsense. The Australian people will never forget the extent to which their human rights—which I screamed about every day—were violated during the pandemic, nor will I. It's clear we're already living in Orwellian times, with 24/7 surveillance through satellites, banks and facial recognition technology. How do I know about facial recognition technology? I have an in with Coles supermarkets. Bunnings tried to bring in facial recognition for their customers and dropped it because it was against the law. It's still against the law, but Coles have put in all the facilities and all the cameras for facial recognition throughout all their stores. Whether it's throughout all their stores yet, I don't know, but they're just waiting for the time when they can switch it on. What it will do is get your face against the products you're buying. It doesn't even wait until you get to the checkout; it puts it against the product you are putting your hand up on the shelf to buy. They will know everything about you.

A pregnant mother was called by her bank after their transaction algorithm picked up that she'd visited a medical centre and had had a pregnancy scan. Apparently they were offended that she and her partner had negotiated their mortgage based on having one child. Their crime, it appears, was that she and her husband didn't consult the bank before conceiving their second child, thus affecting the loan and their ability to pay it.

Then, as you know, there's the move towards a cashless society. The Digital ID Bill is yet another bill supporting the government and the banks to move us into a cashless economy. Just imagine how dangerous the ID becomes when the money in your bank account is inextricably tied to it. What worries me is that, if they give you a digital identity, the digital identity can be taken away. We just had an enormous storm go through Mirboo North. It was a unique, unprecedented storm. It smashed huge forest trees to the ground as though they were matchsticks. There was only one apparent death caused by the storm—one farmer, who was hit by flying debris—but how the rest of the town survived without death, I don't know. There was no communication, no power, no electricity, no water and no food available. As one lady said to me, we went back to 200 years. But I make the point that, because they were so reliant on cards, they couldn't get fuel, supplies et cetera. They're saying this digital ID is not mandatory, but it is, and I've been against mandatory everything through the whole of my 25 years, whatever that mandatory might be. But in this case I believe that, if it's given to you, it can be taken away. I know of a personal instance. A friend of mine was deemed by a bank to be not a suitable customer. The bank were the judge and jury, and they said, 'We and other banks will no longer deal with you.' Now his whole business operation has to go through his daughter.

We saw the government's willingness to override our human rights during COVID. We saw the closing of bank accounts, the police storming in to arrest a pregnant woman who had posted her views about a lockdown on Facebook and the censoring of social media posts put up by people sharing their heartbreaking stories of vaccine injury. When I say no to the next vaccination mandate, which I will—as I did to the COVID mandate—how might my digital identity be used to encode, punish or penalise me? Might it prevent me from paying for my shopping prevent me from travelling by cancelling my drivers licence or switch off my electricity? I think the worst part on former minister Jane Hume's was: 'A director ID will be attached to a director permanently, even if they cease to be a director, change their name or move interstate or overseas.' It will be like a tattoo! I haven't got a tattoo, but that would be a digital tattoo.

I am concerned about this; I'm concerned about freedom and the huge risks. I want to say to the people in this room that every time I've made a decision or looked at legislation, I've made that decision and looked at the legislation in the knowledge that the decisions we were making may affect you, your children and your grandchildren. Just like a tattoo, they're permanent: the legislation is permanent. Yes, this can be repealed, perhaps, by a future government chasing freedom. But every bit of legislation can be turned around and can be used by authorities. Will it be your children or your grandchildren affected by the legislation that we move today? Boring? It works. I'm with Senator Canavan, Senator Rennick, the member for New England and others who have stood up here and opposed this bill. And they've opposed it for very good reason.

We all read books. There was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, where she was an expert hacker. That book tells the future of how they can hack, what they can do and how they can move money and all sorts of things. It's a fictional story, but it exists today. Hackers make us look like fools. We have all talked about the scams that are happening, where $3 billion is lost every year in Australia through hacking and scamming. How can the government be so confident that we can put all this information into one bank—myGovID or whatever it is—and that they won't be hacked? Or cut out—hacked to the point where, as the member for Cowper said, you don't exist. The government didn't do it, but somebody decided to take you on and the way they can attack you now is through your digital ID. It's an Australia Card on steroids. People today want the opportunity to have control over your life—more control. So it isn't about keeping people safe, it is about control. There is no redress here in the case of fraud or cybersecurity. They've said, 'We'll find the people,' if they can find the people who did the cyberattack. They could find them, but are they likely to be in this country? I don't think so. This government today have said that we have been under cyberattack from our so-called friends and people who we trade with. That has happened already.

The government have failed to demonstrate the need for digital ID and they have failed to convince us that they are trustworthy enough to keep this information secure. I heard everything in the second reading speech that it was designed by the Public Service to say. I saw all the new commissioners they're putting in place—I saw all of that. But that won't mean one thing to the individual who is crucified under this legislation through his digital ID being attacked. I listen to my constituents, and they tell me they don't like it. They're telling the government they don't like it. The backbench of the Labor Party is telling them they don't like it and the backbench of the Liberal Party is telling them they don't like it. I heard what the shadow minister said today—I thought it was pretty wishy-washy. If you are really going to protect freedoms in Australia, you oppose this bill and you oppose it with all your strength and all your arm.

Why has the Bureau of Statistics been so coy about its new official method of estimating excess deaths?

In July 2023, the ABS released a new model to calculate excess deaths, created retrospectively and reporting six monthly, not monthly. How can timely action be taken on excess deaths with such infrequent reporting? This change is very disturbing, given we had excess deaths in the range of 6.9 to 15.9 per cent above the historical average during 2021, 2022 and 2023. The ABS twice changed the way it calculates excess deaths during the pandemic years, and both times it made changes which show fewer excess deaths are estimated.

Interestingly, the new method for excess deaths shows 24,351 excess deaths between January 2020 and 27 August 2023. This is in stark contrast to the previous method, which would have shown 56,058 excess deaths to the end of 2023. This is more than twice the number being reported under the new model. The new model is a complicated mathematical equation, and the ABS have not been transparent about how they chose this new model, which rewrites the history of the pandemic. Is it possible that the model was chosen to minimise excess deaths or to make it appear that all excess deaths were due to COVID?

Australians can handle the truth and they deserve to know.

I’m Russell Broadbent, your Member for Monash

No-one will ever forget the repetitive ‘safe and effective’ claim used to ‘up sell’ Australia’s provisionally approved Covid 19 injections. But I want to remind you that this mantra started from the VERY BEGINNING, when there was no long-term safety data!

Well, now it seems that these claims of ‘safe and effective’ were just that – claims…talking points… some people might even say mis-information.

You see, Astra Zeneca has just admitted in the UK High Court that their Covid vaccines cause blood clots.  They were taken to court by around 50 victims seeking up to 100 million pounds in damages for devastating side effects on blood clotting.

Australians have been reporting adverse reactions to the TGA since early 2021 shortly after the rollout of the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

By July 2021 the TGA was reporting deaths associated with the injections.

The TGA’s own database has received 488 adverse eventnotifications where Astra Zeneca was received by the patient, and later died.

Yet it took until March 2023 to remove the injections from our shelves.   Why?!!

Surely, this vaccine should have been suspended immediately when the alarm was first raised…Rather than injecting and mandating healthy people with something that might devastate or end their lives?

This week the company withdrew the vaccine globally, citing ‘commercial reasons’ while claiming it has saved over six million lives!

I say show me the evidence!

And that’s Justice.  As I see it.

Link to news article here: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/astrazeneca-vaccine-withdrawn-after-fatal-blood-clot-revelation/news-story/b94023cfa237c74b26fc329855c6b51a

How many more stories like Tania’s will it take for government authorities and medical practitioners in this nation to show up, believe and respond compassionately to the vax injured?  

Listen to Tania’s brave call for government officials and bureaucrats to listen to and believe the desperate pleas for help from the thousands of vaccine injured Australians.

Not much shocks me, but this week I talked with a woman who told me her story of suffering and distress as a result of being severely injured by the Covid vaccine. Her story shocked me and should shock every Australian.

Verity is a 52-year-old highly trained midwife in my electorate. Well, she was a midwife until 2021 when she was coerced into being jabbed in order to keep her job. The perverse irony is that the jab injured her so severely that she is no longer able to work as a nurse or midwife.

What makes this story even more distressing is that this highly qualified and experienced midwife was reluctant to be jabbed from the start!

Verity has given me permission to share her story and I will introduce you to her on this program in the next couple of weeks.

In 2021, Verity was a fit and healthy woman. She ran several times a week and participated in park runs and half and full marathons around Australia and New Zealand.

Each time she came on shift at the hospital, Verity was asked whether she’d had her vaccine. When she tried to discuss her concerns with fellow work colleagues, she was told by her manager quote - “Keep your mouth shut and follow the rules”.

Verity told me that a few weeks later she was informed by a work colleague that she was no longer allowed on the premises. HR told her she was immediately stood down and within a few weeks her employment was terminated due to orders from the Chief Health Officer.

Verity was completely cut off from work colleagues. She received no support from anyone despite having worked tirelessly at the hospital for around 10 years…including night duties, public holidays and over Christmas and New Year. 

This is a nurse who like every other nurse in 2020, prior to the vaccines, put herself and health on the line to care for patients. Quite literally, she went from hero to zero overnight. 

With no job, no leave, no income and no job prospects – not even as a cleaner, Verity had no choice but to submit to the experimental injection. Because some other family members had experienced reactions to the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, Verity was determined to wait until Novavax became available. Together with her son, (who incidentally had a cardiac history but couldn’t continue his university course without being jabbed), Verity went and got the Novavax. 

If you think her story is horrendous so far, what happened next is heartbreaking.

Verity immediately started experiencing joint pain in her left arm, then her legs along with “skin crawling sensations all over her body and head which intensified, followed by extreme itchiness like an allergic reaction.

When she consulted a doctor he said, “I don’t know anything about Novavax but if you’re having effects, it means its working!”. He also called her an anti-vaxxer! Which clearly, she wasn’t because she’d submitted to the damn jab.

How dare he?

Two weeks later Verity continued to struggle with severe chest pains. She couldn’t breathe properly which was exacerbated by lying down.

Not wanting to go back to the first doctor she saw another in the hope of being listened to and believed. But this new doctor also called her an anti vaxxer, and said that she was suffering from anxiety and might be pre-menopausal. I’ve heard this a lot from other women, and it is one of the most insidious forms of gaslighting that I’ve heard. 

Verity continued and still continues, to suffer from a broad range of other debilitating symptoms… severe headaches, hearing loss, tinnitus, chest pains, leg weakness, arthritis and extreme fatigue and insomnia. 

So, here’s this previously fit and healthy highly skilled woman who’s unable to work in her profession – unless she gets a further two jabs!!!

This is crazy!

Verity was literally sobbing over the phone when we spoke two days ago – not just about her own pain and suffering, but the palpable relief that I believed her where others had ignored and doubted her.

I have to ask, where are the doctors who know this is happening?

Are they turning a blind eye?

Are they wilfully blind?

Are they fearful of retribution from AHPRA?

What’s stopping them from coming forward and sounding the alarm?

I’ve been telling the stories of vax injured Australians for three years now, but my shock at the lack of compassion, the lack of decency, the lack of humanity outrages me more than anything.

If you’re a doctor who wants to speak up but feels like you can’t, please contact me. I will do whatever I can to help get the truth out.

I did enjoy hearing from the previous speaker, the member for Solomon, about Darwin and surrounds and the whole of the Northern Territory. It's greatly loved by all Australians. I want to pass it on to you that I love the place and my wife loves the place. We've only been there a couple of times, but it's a great place to visit. And you've reminded us that it's 50 years since Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin. I can recommend a trip to Darwin to anybody. In particular, go down to the wharf and have a look at the presentations they've got down there about the bombing of Darwin.

One of the saddest things that happened to me as a federal member was when I went to Monash University—Monash was playing a part in Gippsland at the time and had a role down there. I was meeting someone in the Clayton campus and I couldn't find a car park. I was driving round and round, trying to find a car park. I finally got a car park and went to the area where I was meeting someone. I said to the person that greeted me, 'It's very hard to get a car park,' and he said, 'Yes, but don't worry; all the country kids get over it this term and they'll give up. They won't come back next term. There'll be car parks everywhere.' He was talking about students from the regions—that it's all just too hard for them.

Education is a really important issue in Australia. I'm going to talk about HECS in a minute, but I want to just put the framework there for you, Deputy Speaker Wilkie. We have education because it's the lifter of all young people. A good education means a good future. What was said in the parliament by the minister today—he talked about somebody with a tertiary education earning $60,000 a year more than someone who has just come out of a secondary college or whatever. Now, I'm not a tertiary educated person. I came up in a different way, through business. But I know how important education is. Education is funded by the states and federally, and it's important to train our population for greater productivity, greater opportunity, greater lifestyle, greater science, greater maths, greater chemistry, greater engineering, to make a greater society.

That's why we invest in our students—because they can grow Australia. They can make Australia great—not to be confused with an American politician! Why do we educate them? We educate them to make Australia a great place, and we need people who are highly educated to be able to have the future that we desire for them. So we invest in education.

However, once HECS fees came in—and I've got to tell you upfront that Bron and I, my wife and I, paid for our children's university fees upfront so they didn't have a HECS debt. Most students don't have parents who are able to do that at the time.

Currently in Australia our young people are facing the toughest times that I can remember in my years in this parliament, especially our tertiary education students. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about high food costs or skyrocketing rents, if you're fortunate enough to get a rental; it's exceedingly difficult for students to survive, let alone what country kids have to put up with, with the dislocation from their country area to go to university. If studying a full-time course wasn't enough, most university students are also juggling work, and many have career responsibilities as well. But on top of this, with regard to their HECS fees, they're being lumped with yearly indexation that dramatically increases their student loans, not to mention their stress levels.

From a long time ago up until recently, it was about a four per cent annual increase in the HECS debt. In three years, there's been a 12 per cent increase. If you haven't paid any back, that's 12 per cent on top of what you had before. As you know, compounding interest when you're investing is good, because it compounds and compounds and compounds, and over ten years whatever you've invested comes out nearly double or triple what you put in. That's just compound interest and nothing else. Compound indexation over a period of time, especially for women—and I'll come to that in a minute—has left people with an ever-increasing bill. But that four per cent over the last couple of years went to 7.1 per cent. Over three years, that's a 23 per cent increase in your HECS debt. That's what has happened in Australia. That's what has drawn my attention to it.

Let me tell you about Tom. Tom's HECS debt two years ago was $13,609. Then it went to $28,553. Now it has gone to $32,334. That's a remarkable increase. Someone who had a $13,000 HECS debt suddenly has a $32,000 HECS debt. I know that you're interested in gambling, Deputy Speaker. If you were losing that much when you were gambling, you'd be pretty upset! Here we are as a government, actually thinking this is a good idea. I know the background from when John Dawkins was the education minister under Paul Keating. They said, 'We'll give a whole lot of young people who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity the ability to borrow the money from us and then pay us back when they get a job.' It sounds simple, until you realise that today the total HECS debt is $78 billion. Our former students owe the federal government $78 billion. Can you imagine! Is that a cash cow for the federal government, or an asset of the federal government that they claim is an asset on the books? The latter would be right, because, of $78 billion, 10 per cent is an $8 billion a year increase. Five per cent is a $4 billion a year increase added to the debt of young students when they come into the workforce.

None of these payments made throughout the year take into account the time the student's loan it is indexed. Even the rate of indexation, as I said, has dramatically changed from four to seven per cent. That's a massive increase. According to ATO statistics, it's women who hold the majority of student debt in Australia. I'll repeat that: it's women who hold the majority of student debt in Australia. These HECS and HELP debts are further entrenching women's economic disadvantage in this nation. Today, I read that total HECS debt, as I said before, is $78 billion. Since the start of HECS in 1989, $111 billion has been lent through student loans, with a whopping $19 billion added to this debt in the form of indexation. Only $51.5 billion has been repaid since 1989. Our teachers and nurses carry the biggest repayment burden of any group. These are already overwhelmed frontline workers who take on our most essential and critical roles.

In fact, I know multiple women who were mandated to get the COVID injection and lost their jobs. Yes; many were terminated for, as will be put on their reports, so-called gross or serious misconduct, because they refused to submit to an experimental COVID injection. These women now find themselves unable to work in their professions, but they are still lumped with repaying their HECS debts. They're still there. Even if your job is taken away from you by government mandates, your HECS debt is still there.

Now, another report that I read, which will be interesting to you, Deputy Speaker Claydon, is about how HECS and HELP debts have helped entrench women's economic disadvantage. This is important. These are the key points. Women say they are frustrated by the HELP debt system and feel disadvantaged. Women hold the majority of all student debt in Australia. Researchers say the student debt system has exacerbated structural financial inequities between men and women. That's a fact. So why do women have a heavier debt burden? More women undertake university education, but, on average, men can expect to earn higher incomes than women after graduation. That's crazy stuff. There's a maths equation here that simply doesn't add up. Why are we penalising people, especially our frontline workers, who are paying for the privilege of serving our nation?

But there's another double blow lurking for women. Because they're the ones that give birth and necessarily take the most time out of the workforce raising children and they're the ones who pick up the lion's share of other caring obligations, such as caring for elderly parents, they spend significantly longer repaying their debt and then are gravely affected by the reduced amount of superannuation in their nest egg. (Time expired)

Last week a 52-year-old woman from my electorate called me in great distress. Her name is Verity. Previously fit and healthy, Verity told me about the horrific pain and suffering she endured after reluctantly submitting to the COVID injection. Ironically, Verity had been terminated from her job as a midwife due to the mandates because she was waiting for Novavax—a decision she came to after seeing her sister diagnosed with Guillian-Barre syndrome following a Pfizer injection.

Verity outlined the disgraceful treatment she received from the very people who should have given her comfort and solace when she sought treatment for her symptoms. Not one but two doctors accused her of being an anti-vaxxer. She was told us that her reactions meant 'the jab must be working' and that her severe chest pain and inability to breathe was 'just anxiety'.

But it was her parting pleas that struck me hardest. Through loud sobs, she said to me:

Russell, thank you for listening to me—I've been silenced, censored and ridiculed, and felt completely isolated … How can a doctor call me an anti-vaxxer when I took the vaccine?

I'm a politician, and you can ridicule me; we're paid for that. But don't ridicule or abandon these injured people.

I stand with Verity and all the voiceless vaccine injured, including Ro, who is in the gallery today, and Rado and Kara, who are unable to be here due to ill health. I seek leave to table Verity's email.

Leave not granted.

I've been in Adelaide—you were with me, Deputy Speaker Sharkie— when one of those services handed out a tent and some food to a family because they had completely run out of accommodation. This was three years ago now, when we didn't have the crisis we have today. What I'm hearing is that the Home Guarantee Scheme is another scheme from a federal government, when we should be, in my view, getting the money out to the state governments and telling them to get on with the job. They're the ones that are on the ground. The federal government is too far away from the action to be able to do this.

What's happening in my state of Victoria is that one in five of the properties on the market are being sold by landlords because they're sick of the land tax and all the other taxes that they are encumbered with, to the point where they say: 'What's the use of having a rental? This used to be a good investment.' Forty-six per cent of the income of the state government of Victoria comes from property taxes, which the federal government have no control over whatsoever. They have no control over land development. They have no control over land release. They have no control over the opportunities that are there.

Yes, if there is federal land that can be sold off for housing, sell it off, move it. If it's in the right place at the right time, please do that. But, for heaven's sake, all of these plans that I've seen over my 25 years of service in the parliament have all been 'a new plan', 'a new plan', 'a new plan'. Whether it's a revamped plan or a new plan I don't know, because the government don't tell us. They say, 'We've got a new plan.' Whose money are they using? Is it the money that was set aside in this budget, the last budget, the previous budget or the budget before that? I don't know, but it probably goes like this. A public servant walks in and says, 'We need a new name for the same plan'—the same plan that hasn't worked for a long time—'and this will take five years to implement.' You heard the member for Paterson when she said that, faced with this situation, they have a new plan. I think the public servant would have walked in and said, 'Minister, we need a new name for the old plan'—the same plan there was under the Liberals. Do you think that the Liberals, the Nationals and the Independents in this House were not dedicated to doing the best thing with regard to housing on behalf of their constituents? No. Every one of them wanted to do the best thing. The largest cohort of people becoming homeless are women over 50—in a country like Australia! And it's everywhere. It's in our regions and it's in our cities. Women over 50 are either couch surfing, sleeping in cars or going to agencies for help for overnight accommodation. Housing is a really important issue for people in Australia. In a rich country such as ours, we should be getting the stock out there. We might have to make some innovative and different programs, like dongas on blocks in a row, but just put people in decent housing.

As the member for Paterson said, it's great to come home. I've never suffered homelessness, ever, and my children have never gone without a feed. I can't imagine what it would be like to be in the position that so many Australians are today.

Mr BROADBENT (Monash) (17:05): I don't think that the former member for Bennelong ever gave a speech like that one, where he never followed the dictates of the party or the talking points.

Mr Perrett: John Howard?

Mr BROADBENT: Yes. Good man! One thing we know is that Australian families are enduring very difficult times, whether from high rents or mortgages, skyrocketing energy bills or insurance premiums going through the roof. Many families doing a tough right now with rising inflation. I heard a call before, saying that inflation is going down. Go and get a trolley full of groceries and find out if inflation is going down! If you can find inflation is going down—

Mr Perrett interjecting—

Mr BROADBENT: then you're not doing the shopping!

Mr Perrett: I do the shopping!

Mr BROADBENT: That's what's happening. You're not seeing the price that families are paying—

Mr Perrett interjecting—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Wilkie): The member for Moreton should restrain himself.

Mr BROADBENT: The member for Moreton should never restrain himself! I really appreciate him. I don't want to go across you, Deputy Speaker Wilkie, but I enjoy the member for Moreton; he has been a great contributor to the parliament. He's prepared to stand up and talk about the real issues that are affecting families every day in Moreton, as I do in Monash!

A tub of yoghurt, for instance, used to be about five bucks; last week it was 10! What's going on? I don't think that's supermarket gouging—I don't know what it is—but you can't have a 100 per cent increase in something. Everything I touch is either getting smaller in the packet—smaller jam!—and still larger in price. I'm embarrassed to come home to my wife and say, 'Here's your marmalade.' The tub used to be about this big and now it's only about that big at the same price, if not dearer.

Last week a constituent told me her story. Alison and Dean are in their late 20s, with two young kids aged three and eight months. Up until late last year, Dean had run his own business for five years as a gas plumber. No longer in Victoria: when the Victorian government brought in new legislative changes which meant that gas could not be installed in new homes as of 24 January, Dean was out of a job—along with thousands of other people. Just like that he had to close his business. That's five years of hard work down the drain. Alison planned to have eight full months of maternity leave after giving birth to her second child in July last year. However, due to their financial situation, including the uncertainty of Dean having to find a new job, Alison had to return to work months earlier than expected. The couple now pay $260 week for their two children to attend child care three days a week. Alison told me that there have been weeks when their bank account has been in minus and they've had to wait until payday to be able to pay council rates and insurances. And she's not on her own there, I can tell you. This is because they prioritise their mortgage, childcare fees and ensuring their children are fed before anything else. To add to this, every time their account is in minus, their bank charges them a fee of between $5 and $10. At the moment they're living from pay cheque to pay cheque. At the end of the week, after taking into account the bills and the mortgage, there's not much left to spend, let alone save for a rainy day.

A recent report from the Brotherhood of St Laurence found, quite rightly, that people experiencing poverty and job insecurity are increasingly unable to budget their way out of financial crisis. I know a family that's reticent to go to the doctor because they can't afford the out-of-pocket costs. This is disgraceful in a country like ours; taking a child to the doctor is not discretionary! Apparently, more than 1.2 million Australians—and they would have been in Tasmania too, Deputy Speaker Wilkie—did not go and see a GP during 2022-23 because of the cost. That's twice as many as compared to 2021-22. It's affecting all of us. And then there are people who are rationing their medication in order to make it through to their next payday. This is not good enough in a nation as wealthy and with as strong an economy as we have.

Governments need to redirect their priorities towards those doing it toughest in Australia, towards those who are living independently or who are lonely. We have a responsibility to those who are least able to look after themselves in this country. I haven't stopped addressing those who need the most help since I first came into this place. Right now, this country is facing a crisis of people who need direct help. We have to find ways to give it to them.

Russell Broadbent MP
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