February E-News Update

What else has happened this week in Canberra - February E-News Update

“This was and always will be aboriginal land.” Bill Shorten MP, Closing the Gap Speech (February 12th 2018)

You could say it’s been an ugly start to the Parliamentary sitting year. The purpose of this e-update is to let you know what else has been happening in Canberra. From the 10th Anniversary of the Apology to Labor’s Private Health affordability announcements to the Liberal Government’s shocking 457 visa reforms, there has been significant policy debate occurring in our nation’s national parliament.

10th Anniversary of the National Apology

Ten years on from the historic National Apology to the Stolen Generations and more than two decades after the Bringing Them Home report into the Stolen Generations, a Shorten Labor Government will deliver this overdue act of justice.

This week Labor announced that in Government we will establish a compensation scheme for survivors of the Stolen Generations in Commonwealth jurisdictions.

This announcement recognises and responds to the legacy of pain and trauma that the Stolen Generations and their families continue to experience today.

The compensation scheme will provide ex gratia payments of $75,000 to Stolen Generations survivors who were removed from their families. Labor will also establish a Funeral Assistance Fund to provide one-off payments of $7,000 to Stolen Generations members to assist with the cost of their funerals.

Labor’s Stolen Generations compensation scheme deals with the unfinished business of the National Apology and responds to the third recommendation of the Bringing Them Home report in 1997.

The traumatic effects of forced removal and separation from families, communities and culture have been severe and long-lasting for the Stolen Generations and their descendants.

A Shorten Labor Government will also establish a $10 million National Healing Fund to support healing for the Stolen Generations and their families – in recognition of the inter-generational effects of forced removal.

Click to WATCH this great video from Bill Shorten:



Liberals Voted against local workers having the first shot at local jobs

Parliament also debated reforms to the 457s temporary work visas scheme.  

A critical part to the integrity of the 457 temporary work visa scheme is to test and see if there is a workforce skill storage and the need for temporary skilled workers. It’s only fair that employers demonstrate that they have tried and failed to recruit local workers for any job vacancies.

Labour market testing puts local workers first by making employers prove there are no experienced local workers available to do the job before a skilled visa is made available.

The reforms push by the Turnbull Government stripped all forms of Labour market testing from the legislation, giving the power to determine if and what form it should take to the Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton.

Instead of protecting labour market testing conditions in legislation, the Turnbull Government expects Australians to rely on Peter Dutton to do the right thing by local workers.

Labor moved an amendment that would ensure local workers are given the first opportunity to apply for a local job before an employer brings in an overseas worker.

The Liberals and Nationals voted against Labor’s amendment. It is just unbelievable.

It is vital that an independent, labour market testing body is created to determine genuine skills needs and restrict temporary work visas so that they are only made available when a genuine skills gap cannot be met with local workers.

You can’t trust the Turnbull Government to support labour market testing and you can’t trust them with local jobs.

Click to WATCH part of my speech:



It’s a priority – MYEFO and supply bills

Labor has a principled position about not blocking supply, a principled position we intend to maintain. However, speaking on the supply bills does allow Labor MPs to voice concerns about the Federal Budget and the twisted priorities of the Turnbull Government.

A couple of surprises were in the MYEFO this year that have hit Central Victorians hard. Among them was the way in which funding has been ripped away from universities. At the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University, they were very concerned about the impact that this cut in support for students would have on all of their regional campuses.

It is typical of this government: they put out these policies like blunt instruments, without really consulting with the sector, without really asking what impact this would have. 

Pensioners have also been impacted by the government's poor decision making. At a time when gas and energy prices are spiralling high, this government wants to ditch the energy supplement, which will leave pensioners $366 a year worse off.

The Liberals still want to increase the pension age to 70. It demonstrates again just how out of touch this government is with older Australians who have worked hard their entire lives and now deserve respect and dignity in retirement.

Click to WATCH part of my speech:




Help us spread the Labor message. It's time to hit the ground and make sure voters know there is an alternative to this disastrous Liberal Government.

Labor’s Field Campaign 2018 across the Bendigo Electorate kick starts next week. Can you join us?

Next Thursday 22 February, Labor members and supporters kick start our local field campaign with the first event of the year!

Our Twilight Street Stalls will be held at 10 separate locations across the Bendigo Electorate from 3:30pm-5:30pm. Following this, all are welcome for finger food upstairs at the Rifle Brigade Hotel from 6pm.


Please contact Korey in my office on 5443 9055 or via email at  korey.fernando@aph.gov.au to RSVP.

In 2018, there will be a Victorian State Election and there could be a Federal Election.  This is the year that Labor member and supporters will have to rally and work together to help keep Bendigo and Central Victoria Labor.

In Unity,

Lisa Chesters MP
Federal Member for Bendigo