From the Senator for NSW: Mehreen Faruqi

Year in Review

It has been another exciting yet enormously challenging and disruptive year for our work. Once again, despite the many challenges and roadblocks in our path, we have been able to continue and build our important campaigns and fight for people, planet and climate. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has affected almost everything that we do. Still, our work has gone on, across our portfolio areas, through the campaigns that we run, delivering high-quality support to our constituents which has really expanded this year with so many international students, separated families and casual workers in strife, and by being a voice of care, compassion and accountability in politics.


The past year was absolutely huge for our campaigning and advocacy on fee-free and well-funded public education. On higher education, we led a massive campaign to stop the government’s Job-ready Graduates legislation which increased student fees and slashed government funding for our universities. Sadly, despite an active campaign of thousands of Greens members and supporters, the government was able to pass the legislation by just one vote. We used the opportunity of this campaign to highlight the enormous failures of the neoliberal university, and grow our movement for free university and TAFE.

Our work continued on school funding. Two successive budgets revealed more funding for private schools at the expense of under-funded public schools. The Greens remain the sole voice in federal parliament committed to shifting the dial on school funding, and getting our public schools to full funding under the Schooling Resource Standard by 2023. Communities are sick and tired of the Liberals’ special deals with private schools which have completely undermined public education in this country. We also led the calls for better consent education in the Australian curriculum as part of the ongoing curriculum review. While we have welcomed the progress on this in the latest published drafting, we continue to advocate for more direct and clear language as the process continues.

Our campaign for free and universal early childhood education and care continues. With the government’s experiment with free childcare ending in July 2020, we have pushed both the Liberals and Labor to commit to universal, free early learning and care. With Labor committing more funds to early learning in its policy platform and a more generous subsidy from the Liberals, it’s clear the major parties are slowly - far too slowly - recognising that early learning remains far too expensive. But we have to keep the pressure on and ensure early learning and care becomes recognised as the essential service that it is.


I was incredibly honoured to be named the first Australian Greens spokesperson for anti-racism and take on this important campaigning and policy work. As the racist far-right continues to surge, the Greens are calling on the government to fund a new national anti-racism strategy and a coordinated plan to tackle far-right extremism. My office has dedicated substantial time and effort to calling out and interrogating the normalisation of racist far-right rhetoric and politics. This has involved parliamentary work, campaign events, and digital campaigning. We have targeted far-right media and politicians in order to hold them accountable for spreading their vitriol and toxicity. We have also worked with Lidia Thorpe’s office to coordinate our advocacy and campaigning as it relates to First Nations justice and institutional racism, amplifying the voices and experiences of First Nations people.

Animal welfare

The Greens’ position as the voice for animals in the federal parliament has never been more vital. During Covid-19, we have recommitted to and amplified our flagship animal welfare campaigns by being the strongest voice in parliament on ending live export, factory farming and racing. We have exposed the failures of the government to protect animal welfare through Senate Estimates hearings, Senate orders for the production of documents, and questions in parliament. We have continued to speak up for better, legislated federal protections for animal welfare.

On top of this, in November, we held our biggest ever ‘Nup to the Cup’ event on Melbourne Cup day. More than 200 anti-racing advocates and supporters joined online to voice their support for racehorse welfare and say ‘nup’ to this cruel event. Tragically during this event, the racehorse Anthony Van Dyck died at the tracks - just highlighting how critical our work on racehorse welfare is. Our movement against the cruelty of racing is growing every single year. We continue to work with our Greens state counterparts to end greyhound racing.


Over the past twelve months, the housing crisis has escalated substantially across the country. At time of writing, the median house price in Sydney is over $1.4 million and in Melbourne, over $1.0 million. Prices and rents continue to rise across regional areas as well. The impact of our messed up housing system is entrenching inequality and being felt particularly by women and children escaping violence, older women, migrants and refugees, First Nations and young people. Neither the government nor Labor has a plan to tackle the housing crisis and provide a home for all. In fact, both major parties are committed to policies that will continue to inflate the market and push housing even further out of reach for so many. The Greens are campaigning for a build of one million public and community homes to ensure everyone has a roof over their head. We are also now the only voice in parliament calling for winding back negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount - unfair tax loopholes that have turned the housing market into a speculators’ game.

International development

The government has shown zero interest in properly expanding our aid program during 2020-21, despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic across our region combined with the climate crisis. The annual Official Development Assistance aid budget remains very low, at around 0.22% of GNI. The Greens have consistently stood up for significantly more aid spending and reparations. Much of our attention in the international development portfolio over the last 12 months has related to our advocacy on the TRIPS waiver - the waiver of intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines that would facilitate the faster, cheaper delivery of vaccines to much of the Global South. The Greens were the first party to call for Australia to publicly back the waiver, and continue to do so.

Constituent Support

Many constituents have become increasingly distressed by the government's lack of support for the most vulnerable in our community. Our office has advocated and provided assistance by liaising with government departments and agencies on individual cases. We compiled a resource list to assist international students, temporary visa holders and others who have been neglected by the government.

The hundreds of people separated from friends and family by the travel bans and caps on flights are a priority for my office. We will continue to use every communication channel we have with the government to assist people to return to their families, homes and work in Australia. My team will continue to work closely with other Greens’ offices to respond with care and compassion, and advocate for a quick resolution and return.


  • Senate Select Committee on Job Security.
  • Education and Employment committee:
    • Inquiry into General Motors Holden Operations in Australia.
    • All relevant bill inquiries.
  • Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade:
    • Sub-committee on PFAS contamination.
  • Environment and Communications committee:
    • Inquiry into seismic testing.
    • Media diversity in Australia.
  • Economics committee:
    • Inquiry into wage theft and unlawful underpayment of employees' remuneration.
  • Education hearings of the Senate’s Select Committee on COVID-19.
  • Senate Estimates committees:
    • Education and Employment
    • Community Affairs
    • Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
    • Rural, Regional and Transport
    • Legal and Constitutional Affairs


My greatest pleasure as a Senator is representing the people of New South Wales in the Senate. While writing this report, Greater Sydney is in lockdown and the rest of the state is on a knife-edge. The people of New South Wales have suffered significantly throughout the course of the pandemic and my heart is with every single person across our state. Over the past 12 months, despite Covid-19, I have been able to travel extensively, from Mullumbimby to Albury, Tamworth to Wollongong, fighting to tackle the climate and inequality crisis with many activists, advocates and Greens members and supporters across NSW. Our struggle to protect nature, phase out coal and gas, and for real democracy is getting stronger. I look forward to continuing our work together over the coming year.


‹ Greens 2021 Annual Reports