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AUSTRALIA


appointed Treasurer, Sen. the Hon. Kim Carr rejoined the Cabinet as the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and Minister for Higher Education, Hon. Catherine King, MP, joined the Cabinet as the Minister for Regional Australia, Local Government and Territories, and Hon. Richard Marles, MP, became Minister for Trade. The election of Mr Rudd placed into doubt the timing of the federal election. In January, Ms Gillard, in a break with convention, gave significant warning and named 14 September as the date for the election. However, Prime Minister Rudd was not bound by this commitment and only committed to holding an election subject to the constitutional framework. Under section 28 of the constitution the latest the House of Representatives could be dissolved was three years after the first meeting of the current Parliament which was 27 September 2013.


and stated that “this election will be about who the Australian people trust to best lead them through the difficult new economic challenges which now lie ahead”.


He added that “while economies around the world tumbled into recession, we in this country, Australia acting with business have kept the economy out of recession, almost uniquely


across the developed countries of the world. And while others continue to make false claims that somehow this country is in a debt and deficit crisis, they can never answer this simple


THIRD READING: AUSTRALIA


DisabilityCare Australia Fund Act 2013 The DisabilityCare Australia Fund Act, part of a package of 12 other Acts, establishes the DisabilityCare Australia Fund to consist of the DisabilityCare Australia Fund Special Account and the investments of the DisabilityCare Australia Fund to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The former Treasurer, Hon. Wayne Swan, MP, commented that “for too long, people with disability, and their carers and families, have lived with inequity and uncertainty”. The Treasurer noted that through this legislation “the government will provide a strong and enduring funding stream for DisabilityCare Australia and, to provide certainty to people with disability that they will receive support in the long term, the government will increase the Medicare levy from 1.5 per cent to two per cent from 1 July 2014”. Mr Swan commented that through the Medicare increase “we are asking Australians to make a small contribution that will make a very big difference to the lives of over 460,000 people with disability”. The Treasurer advised that every dollar raised from the Medicare levy would be paid into the DisabilityCare Australia Fund.


Hon. Greg Combet, MP Federal Election


The Prime Minister announced that the 43rd Parliament would be prorogued and the House of Representatives dissolved on 5 August for a House of Representatives and a half Senate election on 7 September 2013.


Prime Minister Rudd, in announcing the election, noted that the mining boom was over


The DisabilityCare Australia Fund will be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians. The Bill requires that a fixed amount of the money flowing into the fund each year will be set aside for the states and territories. The Treasurer advised that “over 10 years, the states and territories will be allocated a total of $9.7 billion”. Senator Mitch Fifield was pleased to give the Opposition’s support for the DisabilityCare Fund Bill and the accompanying 12 bills. Senator Fifield noted that “every Senator in this chamber knows very well that the system of support for Australians with disability is broken”. He stated that “there is consensus that we do need and will be getting a new system of support that is based on need rather than on rationing, where the entitlement will go to the individual, where the individual will be at the centre and in charge and where they will be able to pick their service provider for aids, equipment and other supports that they may receive”. Senator Fifield commented that “the NDIS is a once-in-a-generation


opportunity to deliver a better deal for Australians with disability, because it will unfold over the lives of several Parliaments, we think it is important that the NDIS is seen as the property of the Parliament as a whole rather than of any individual political party”. In relation to the increased Medicare levy, Senator Fifield noted that the coalition did not propose the levy. He stated that “there should not be the need for a levy and the government is only proposing a levy because they have blown the bank and have failed to prioritize”. Senator Fifield noted that the coalition considered the “Medicare levy increase as being only a temporary measure until the budget has been repaired and is in strong surplus”. However, in the interim, Senator Fifield concluded that people with disabilities should not have to wait any longer for the support they need and so “the coalition is prepared to support the government’s proposed increase to the Medicare levy”. Senator Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens, noted the Greens strong support for the scheme and welcomed “the fact that the Gillard Government has moved in this way to provide care for people living with disability, no matter how that disability was acquired, to ensure that people will have daily care and to support delivering basic needs to allow full participation in society”. She noted that “disability currently affects one in every five Australians and that 95 per cent of Australians will enter the disability community, either temporarily or permanently, at some point in their lives”. In particular, Senator Milne observed that “the scheme will pay for carers to give parents of children with disability a break”.


She stated that “it is absolutely essential that people are supported so that they can have a break in order to maintain the ongoing work that they do and to enable them to continue the loving support that they give to their family member with a disability”. Senator Milne advised that a proposal by the Greens for a trial specifically for Aboriginal people living with a disability had been adopted, saying that “the Australian Greens recognize that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with a disability often have significant difficulty accessing appropriate services”.


The Parliamentarian | 2013: Issue Three | 227


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