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Indigenous voice wording, gender pay gap on PM’s agenda

Legislation with new wording for the Indigenous voice to parliament is expected to be introduced when parliament returns.

March 27, 2023
By Mibenge Nsenduluka
27 March 2023

A historic bill to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by enshrining an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice in the constitution is set to be introduced to federal parliament.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese last week revealed the question to be asked in a referendum on an Indigenous voice to parliament later this year and the draft constitutional amendment outlining how the voice will work.

Legislation with the new wording will be introduced to parliament on Thursday.

The government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund to boost manufacturing in Australia is also expected to progress.

The NRF will aim to provide finance for areas such as technology, transport and renewables to boost manufacturing capabilities across the country.

Debate will continue on the government’s contentious Safeguard Mechanism, a key plank in its climate policy, as Labor moves closer to reaching a deal with the Senate.

Under the Albanese government’s proposed legislation, an emissions cap would be enforced, with companies breaching limits able to buy carbon offsets or trade emissions with other companies.

Companies would need to reduce emissions by 4.9 per cent every year until 2030.

Efforts will continue to close the gender pay gap through the government’s Workplace Gender Equality bill.

Minister for Women Katy Gallagher last month introduced a bill to the Senate that would require workplaces with 100 or more employees to publish pay gap data.

Senator Gallagher said this would be a key reform to drive transparency and action on equality.

The government’s $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund is also before the Senate after passing the lower house in February but faces an upper house battle as the Greens demand further measures to ease the property squeeze.

The signature fund will build 30,000 new social and affordable homes in its first five years and includes support for marginalised groups.

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