In light of the disappointing developments in the Senate on Tuesday night, which saw the Palmer United Party assist the government senators to scrap important financial advice regulations, I want to highlight the case of a constituent in my electorate whose life has been turned upside down as a result of rogue financial advisor and, in doing so, highlight the value of the Labor government's reforms to the financial sector that have now been scrapped.Bernard Kelly came to my office last week to describe to us the ongoing heartache he is suffering in the wake of the collapse of Timbercorp.
He is not alone. There are thousands of Australians who have lost their hard-earned life savings, homes, and, most distressingly, in some cases, lives as a result of poor and even corrupt financial advice. We have heard some of these stories during the debate on the FoFA reforms, during the Senate inquiry last week and during discussions in light of the Murray inquiry. The details of one person's suffering can never fail to move us or remind us why we are fighting for proper consumer protection and why we need to continue to fight for it.
I rise to emphasise the importance of investing properly in universities and tertiary education and ensuring that access to higher education is determined by ability and not family income. I do so because it is one of my key commitments as a Labor member of parliament. I do so because I have had an overwhelming number of pleas to defend and extend our support for universities from my constituents. I do so because access to quality higher education is one of the most fundamental requirements for ensuring equality of opportunity and fulfilment of personal potential. And I do so because it is one of the most fundamental foundations for a progressive, dynamic and growing economy and nation.
Over the past weeks there have been a lot of calls from government MPs and business leaders—not all but some—for people to stop complaining about the federal budget measures and to get on with the business of putting shoulders to the wheel to collectively address the so-called pending budget emergency or the debt problem—as the member for Hindmarsh constantly referred to it in his contribution this evening—by putting an end to the age of entitlement. Underlying these calls is the message that the Australian people have never had it so good and therefore a bit of pain for the sake of the nation's prosperity is justified. There are so many ways in which this narrative is so very, very wrong. It is wrong because these budget measures are predicated on a series of untruths, concealments and broken promises, as evidenced by the Prime Minister's own words throughout last year leading up to the federal election.
I want to pay tribute today to an amazing woman who lives in my electorate. Her name is Wendy Dyckhoff and she was recently awarded the silver medal by the Kangan Batman TAFE college for her achievements in adult literacy and learning.
Today my fellow co-convenor of the parliamentary friends of Palestine, the member for Reid; the convenor of the UN parliamentary group, the member for Fremantle; and I had the pleasure of hosting the launch of the United Nations Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
International Rare Disease Day was on 28 February. The day gives us an opportunity to support those whose lives have been impacted by a rare genetic disorder.
An inevitable part of life, especially in an ageing population, is coming to terms with the passing of many loved people, especially community stalwarts and personalities in our electorates. My electorate of Calwell lost one such resident to cancer last year.