A fantastic first year: Mehreen Faruqi

It was incredibly exciting to be returned to the Senate at the election, albeit disappointing to see the Liberals are back in government. 

By Senator Mehreen Faruqi

It’s been a fantastic first year representing you in the Senate.

In my first speech last August, I committed to pushing the boundaries and pursuing radical solutions to the wicked challenges we face. Amid the accelerating twin crises of climate meltdown and inequality, and throughout a federal election, we did just that. I cannot thank enough the thousands of Greens member and supporters I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with this year. 

Election campaign 

It was incredibly exciting to be returned to the Senate at the election, albeit disappointing to see the Liberals are back in government. 

Our election campaign reached more voters outside of traditional Greens areas than ever before, with events ranging from the Lakemba Ramadan Markets and campaigning in Bankstown, Blacktown and Mount Druitt to dozens of small community meetings across Sydney. Greens’ results across the state, and particularly in Western Sydney, reflect this movement-building. The dedicated work in community outreach, events and targeted advertising across Western Sydney lead to unprecedented swings. The eight seats where our Senate vote from the last election grew by more than 40 percent were all in Western Sydney, including Chifley and Werriwa where our vote grew by more than 75 percent! 


I’m incredibly proud of the Greens’ absolute support for public education at all stages of life. Our education election platform set the standard for ensuring everyone access to world-class education with free childcare for 80 percent of families, fully-funded public schools and lifelong free TAFE and uni. 

In Parliament, our work included introducing a bill to protect the Australian Research Council from ministerial intervention, moving to disallow the government and Labor’s $1.2bn private school slush fund and campaigning against the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. 

The decimation of TAFE, introduction of university performance funding, underfunding of public schools and neglect of early learning and care are all important fronts in our ongoing work in the education portfolio. 

Animal welfare 

A jam-packed year in the animal welfare portfolio started with our bill to ban live cattle exports passing the Senate. From there, we saw the passage of a ban on cruel cosmetics, exposed departmental interference in the Moss Review of their regulation of live exports, established an inquiry into the feasibility of a national horse register and set a significant precedent by successfully introducing animal welfare considerations into the Inspector-General of Live Exports Bill. In my home state of NSW, the government dropped greyhound muzzling laws after years of lobbying! 

Our work for national animal cruelty laws, a ban on all live animal export and an end to greyhound racing will continue this parliamentary term. Just as we’ve stood against the government’s draconian ag gag legislation and reopening of the live export trade, we will continue to be a voice for animals in the Senate. 


As the cost of living rises and housing affordability worsens, the Green’s work to ensure housing is about giving people a home – not giving investors greater profit – is more important than ever. The Greens’ plan for universal housing was central to our campaign, including building 500,000 new affordable and sustainable community and public homes, reforming renters’ rights and funding crisis services to address homelessness.

In the Senate I’ve spoken in support of public housing, passed motions calling on the federal government to work with all states and territories to ensure the adequate provision of social housing, and highlighted the government’s ignorance on the crisis of homelessness.  

International development 

I’m thrilled to have taken up the international development portfolio. As someone born in the Global South taking on this role, I am looking forward to bringing a new perspective to the role. In full awareness that global poverty is the result of colonialism, structural inequalities, and grossly unfair neoliberal trade and debt systems, we must look at overseas aid as a global justice issue.

We’ve started our work in the portfolio by pursuing the government on their attempts to suppress a climate change strategy for the pacific aid program. I look forward to working with the community and aid organisations to reverse the Liberal-National’s budget cuts and return the focus of aid from Australia’s national interest back to poverty reduction and justice.

Committees and inquiries 

I’m a full member of the Senate Education and Employment Committee and the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, and a participating member of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport committee. Since joining the Senate, I’ve been involved in inquiries into the exploitation of general and specialist cleaners working in retail; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia; the Higher Education Support Cost Recovery and Charges Bills which establish a new tax on universities; and two anti-union Fair Work Bills. 

I contributed to the report of the inquiry into the management of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in and around Defence bases, and succeeded in re-establishing the PFAS sub-committee in the new Parliament to keep an eye on the government response to contamination. We also successfully established an inquiry into the feasibility of a National Horse Traceability Register for all horses, which is due to report soon. 


I’m lucky our work has taken me all around New South Wales from Albury, Merindee, Broken Hill, Armidale, Wagga, Woy Woy and Wollongong to Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Lennox Head, Nowra, Williamtown, Murwullimbah, Newcastle, Goulburn, the Blue Mountains, Lismore, Umina and across Sydney.

The fantastic NSW results in the state and federal elections are a testament to the hard work of so many Greens members and supporters. In particular, I’m proud of our campaigns for justice for PFAS victims, against raising the Warragamba damn wall and against seismic testing for fossil fuels of our beautiful NSW coast.