Skip navigation
Next Tuesday’s Federal Budget is a big moment for our country. Join me on Instagram live for instant reaction on budget night – Tuesday 14th May at 8.30pm – with Ladies Finance Club founder Molly Benjamin.
‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Hi Allegra,

The past few weeks have been some of the most difficult in memory. The senseless attack at Bondi Junction on Saturday 13th April killed six people, wounded many others, and left our community in mourning.

Most of those attacked at Bondi were women, and the tragedy in our community is part of the broader national emergency of violence against women. The trends are extremely worrying and have given momentum to a national conversation on what more needs to be done.

At the same time, victims' families have also spoken on the need to take action on mental health. Stopping violence against women and working to better support mental health are two key priorities for me.

Ending violence against women

I was pleased that National Cabinet met last week to discuss how to address gender-based violence, but I’m disappointed with the result.

There were some positive steps, but the resounding view from survivors, sector groups, and the community is that the government has not gone far enough. More needs to be done to ensure that there is effective intervention and prevention.

We as the community must keep up the pressure. The government’s announcement lacked additional funding for services that provide grassroots support to women fleeing violence. Local organisations like the Lokahi Foundation, Bondi Beach Cottage and Jewish House have told me they are in serious need of resources so that they can provide counselling, and safely house women and children escaping violence. At the same time, Women's Legal Services Australia has told us that 1000 women a week are being turned away because of lack of capacity. Both need urgent action.

Legal experts say more needs to be done on issues like bail and apprehended violence orders. National Cabinet flagged a commitment to strengthen “accountability and consequences” for perpetrators, but we need to make sure our federal and state governments deliver effective protection for women at risk.

See my thoughts on the National Cabinet’s announcement here.

During the last parliamentary sitting, I tabled a petition signed by over 30,000 thousand people calling on the government to do more to end violence against women and in the last 2 weeks I’ve been continuing to meet with experts and community groups to push for more action.

One of these outstanding experts is Jess Hill, who I met last week. Jess is one of Australia's leading experts on coercive control prevention and is doing critical work fighting against gender-based violence. We spoke about what urgently needs to be done now beyond just awareness campaigns. We also spoke about the need for more accountability and consequences for perpetrators, and the need to regulate damaging industries like porn and social media.

It was moving to join the Eastern Suburbs Domestic Violence Network and Randwick Council at a Domestic Violence vigil and discuss the challenges with the Inner-City Legal Centre.

The community is hurting, but it is also standing up and demanding action. We can’t let this moment pass.

What I want to see in the Budget

Next Tuesday’s Federal Budget is a big moment for our country. Join me on Instagram live for instant reaction on budget night – Tuesday 14th May at 8.30pm – with Ladies Finance Club founder Molly Benjamin. Log on to Instagram on Tuesday evening to join the live.

We’ve already had a big win, with the government agreeing to wipe $3 billion off student loans.

If you have an average HECS debt of $26,500, your debt will be cut by $1,200. If you have a $50,000 debt, it will be cut by $2,200.

HECS debt indexation will now be based on the lower of consumer price inflation, or the wage price index – and the changes will be backdated to last year.

The government's announcement follows a year of intense pressure from the crossbench. I have pushed the Minister on this in Question Time and Monique Ryan’s petition calling for this change got over 280,000 signatures. It shows yet again the power of independents in this parliament.

But there’s so much more we need from this Budget. Here are my top four priorities:

1. Putting downward pressure on inflation.

Rising costs are hurting Australians across the country. We need to make sure that this budget doesn't add to those price pressures, and that every dollar spent by the government has the greatest impact. For instance, the government is spending a lot of money on infrastructure projects – and while these can be positive, government spending has often not been on projects that make the biggest difference and they are also making it harder to get the tradies we need to build housing. Every dollar counts, and I will be looking closely to make sure the government is spending its money wisely.

2. Helping those people who need it.

While we have to keep downward pressure on inflation, we know some in our community are struggling more than others. That is why I believe we need to increase investment in mental health and domestic violence services, as well as Jobseeker. We also must make it easier for women wanting to re-enter the workforce to access childcare.

We also need to see more action on the housing crisis. That means better incentives for the states to increase housing supply, support for social housing, increases in Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and a change to property taxes to make it easier to rent out spare rooms.

3. Delivering for climate and cost of living.

Permanent power bill relief and faster action on climate must also be a priority.

I am continuing to advocate for my People Power Plan – which would turbo-charge the uptake of solar, batteries, efficient electrical appliances, and better home energy performance.

The plan includes specific support for renters and apartment dwellers – and has been backed by a broad range of community organisations.

4. Future-focused economic reform.

Investment and innovation are crucial for our economic prosperity, so we need a budget that delivers for start-ups, high-growth and small businesses that are so crucial to innovation and growth.

That means making it simpler for businesses to hire people and increasing access to funding for new and emerging businesses. One place to start is implementing the recommendations put forward by the House Economics Committee, including my additional comments to the report. These were focused on building on the opportunities to enhance dynamism in areas where the report didn't go far enough, for example, innovation, tax, IR and climate action.

We also need the government to seriously engage with tax reform – to address intergenerational equity, productivity, and climate change.

Recording of Integrity and truth in politics Zoom with Dr Helen Haines MP

I know that integrity is one of the most important issues for people in Wentworth and so it's been a key focus for me since entering parliament. Last week, Dr Helen Haines MP joined me over Zoom for a discussion about truth in political advertising, strengthening our democracy and how Independents are cleaning up politics.

Link to Zoom recording

Attend event: Fighting disinformation online with Voices of Wentworth

Disinformation is a threat to our democracy and is something I and other crossbenchers are fighting hard to address. Australians are confronted with disinformation online every day and often feel ill-equipped on how to deal with it.
Voices of Wentworth is hosting a FREE practical workshop on skills and techniques to spot disinformation and how to respond and counter it.

Register Here

Get active on Walk Safely to School Day

Take part in Walk Safely to School Day, supporting National Road Safety Week, on Friday 10 May 2024!

Walk Safely to School Day encourages positive environmental action, better use of public transport with reduced car-dependency and encourages parents and carers to walk more, reducing traffic congestion around schools.

Being active every day, including walking to school, is so critical in our daily lives. Parents, teachers, or carers all have a role to play in helping children and young people to lead active healthy lives. I think this is a fantastic initiative and look forward to participating next Friday with my kids. More information and how to participate here.

Standing up Against Antisemitism

Australia has been a safe haven for the Jewish community, as well as for all communities. But the past six months have been incredibly tough as we have seen antisemitic incidents on the rise.

I know people have very strong and varied views on the conflict overseas and should have the right to express those views. But Australia's strength has been ensuring that everyone is welcome in all our institutions - regardless of faith, background, sexuality, and gender. Those qualities of Australia are really important and hate speech and exclusion have no place against any group in this country.

Last week, the Prime Minister and I met with Rabbis from across the country to discuss what more the federal government can do to combat this very disturbing trend.

You can read more about my work standing up against antisemitism here.

As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office at [email protected].

Kind regards,

Allegra Spender MP

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Instagram Website

Allegra Spender MP Federal Member for Wentworth
If you no longer want to hear from us, you can unsubscribe.