Let's not kid ourselves about what sharply reduced development assistance means. It means lives lost due to poorer maternal health outcomes. It means children go without an education. It means democratic institutions are weaker and there is greater instability across our region. It means that Australia's role and influence is diminished at a time when we should be showing leadership.
You cannot make something true simply by saying it, irrespective of the language in which it is said. This bill is not about strengthening Australian citizenship; it is about this government, in a time of weakness, using our citizenship to make a show of being tough.
Education is the great driver and guarantor of opportunity and equality—and, of course, our schools exist to deliver that. But schools are more than that. They are community hubs and places where social capital is built and reinforced in the bonds between teachers, students and families and through links into the wider community.
There is no justification for having an arrangement that means workers, temporary labour, can come into this country, without first ensuring that there is no Australian labour available to undertake that task. That is a simple thing.
Residents and community groups are a vital part of the social fabric in my electorate. They, of course, depend on the effort and energy provided on a voluntary basis by the people who act as office bearers and give their leadership and organisational skills for the benefit of their fellow citizens and residents. I acknowledge and thank them for their work.