Posted by Steve on April 7, 2013
A push for higher salaries for teachers should spark a national conversation about the recognition of the teaching profession, says Australian Greens spokesperson for Schools, Senator Penny Wright.
“It is wonderful that there is growing recognition of the need to treat teaching as we treat other professions,” Senator Wright said.
“At the moment, teachers reach the highest pay level very quickly and the only way they can advance their careers is to move out of the classroom to administrative roles.
“The Australian Greens know that if we want the best and brightest to be teaching our students, we have to offer career opportunities and incentives to stay in teaching positions.
“Last year, an OECD Education at a Glance report showed that the salaries of experienced teachers in Australia are lagging behind their counterparts in other countries.
“A very large number of prominent institutions, businesses and individuals are calling for a new approach to teacher pay, and I encourage State and Federal Governments to begin this discussion in earnest.
“We need to attract the best to teaching and we need to keep them there once they are in the workforce, which means fair wages, appropriate career structures and support for the challenging work they do.”
Posted by Steve on April 3, 2013
Australian Greens health spokesperson, Dr Richard Di Natale, said today that he would be pushing for a vote on his Restoring Territories Rights (Voluntary Euthanasia Legislation) Bill, before the election.
“Dying with dignity is an issue that deserves to be on the national agenda this election year,” said Senator Di Natale.
“The front page of today’s Age tells the story of environmental campaigner Beverly Broadbent who took her own life at the age of 83 because she wanted to be in control of the way in which she died. Beverly was quoted as saying that if dying with dignity laws had been available to her in Australia then she may have waited longer.
“Dying with dignity laws provide a sense of comfort for people as they approach the end of their lives. The vast majority of the Australian population was to see voluntary euthanasia legalised but neither of the old parties have been willing to touch it.
“Euthanasia was legal in the Northern Territory 15 years ago before the parliament passed a federal law that banned the territories from legislating in this area. I have a bill before the Senate that would overturn that ban and I will be pushing for a vote on the bill before the election because the old parties can’t keep running away from this issue.
“This isn’t just about dying with dignity, it’s also about making sure that Australians living in the territories have the same democratic rights as Australians living in other states.
“It’s about time the old parties caught up with the Australian community and the Greens on this issue.”
Posted by Steve on
Federal Labor is getting dangerously close to missing the deadline to hold a referendum on local government constitutional recognition to coincide with the September election, said Greens local government spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon, following reports of NSW councils in dire need of secure federal funding to fix neglected bridges
“Federal Labor has still not given a clear indication about whether it will hold a referendum to recognise local government in the constitution”, said Senator Rhiannon.
“Time is running out to put the necessary legislation before parliament to hold the referendum.
“Educating the electorate about the importance of the referendum also needs to be top of the government’s to do list.
“Reports show there are hundreds of bridges in NSW in urgent need of repair, creating a big financial burden on councils.
“A referendum at the September federal election is necessary to secure federal funding for local councils to maintain safer roads and bridges and create sustainable transport options.
“The Greens support the federal government’s continued funding of the Roads to Recovery program.
“The referendum is key to ensuring this and other programs that involve direct payments from the Commonwealth to local governments are secure into the future,” Senator Rhiannon said.
Posted by Steve on March 10, 2013
The Noosa and Hinterland Greens were strongly against the forced amalgamation of Noosa Shire with Caloundra and Maroochy. An ideological decision made by Peter Beattie and the ALP clearly in opposition to the express wishes of the community and against independent advice provided to him by the commissioner he himself appointed to review the viability of the decision.
The forced amalgamation not only seriously abused the democratic aspirations of the Noosa community but also effectively disenfranchised and marginalised the Noosa community in the Sunshine Coast Regional Council by allocating representatives solely on the basis of population. The Beattie and Bligh Governments took insufficient account of the community’s strong identification with the social, historical, geographical and environmental foundations of the Noosa Shire.
The Noosa Greens welcomed the pledge by Glenn Elmes and the LNP to give the people of Noosa the chance to vote on restoring Noosa Shire. We continue to believe it is unfortunate that Doonan, Eumundi and Verrierdale were excluded from the vote by the LNP given the expressed wish of many in those communities, for whom Noosa is their natural centre, to join the Shire.
The Noosa Greens always supported the residents’ vote and ensured it was written into Queensland Greens policy. The LNP policy originally proposed only an “advisory” vote but fortunately they changed their position when drafting the legislation, although the final decision still rests with the Minister. Unlike the LNP, it was our view that the costs should be covered by the State as amalgamation was forced on the community by the Queensland Government.
When the Noosa Shire is finally ratified as a local government authority in its own right, with the model proposed by the NIA, it will be closer to the model of proportional representation of the residents that The Greens have long called for.
The Greens want a referendum on including local government in the Australian Constitution. This commitment was part of the arrangement which saw the parliamentary Greens agree not to block supply or participate in any vote of no confidence in any Gillard ALP government. The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government was established as a direct result of these negotiations and its final report has recommended a referendum at the next election to recognise local councils in the constitution and allow the federal government to directly fund them.
Posted by Steve on
The restoration of local government for the communities of Noosa is a victory for democracy. So many men and women contributed their time, their energy and their resources to a hard-fought campaign that brought together people across the political spectrum. However this magnificent achievement remains at risk and vulnerable to the whim or ideology of future state government who may choose to ignore the will of the people as did Peter Beattie and the Queensland ALP (remember them?)
With a parliamentary inquiry report recommending a referendum to recognise local government in the constitution at the September election, Australian Greens local government spokesperson and committee member Senator Lee Rhiannon has called on the Gillard government to introduce required legislation soon after parliament resumes next week.
The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government report has recommended a referendum at the next election to recognise local councils in the constitution and allow the federal government to directly fund them.
“Two expert committees have now found in favour of a referendum. The Labor government must move quickly to pass legislation between March and July facilitating the referendum and allowing time to build strong community and cross party support,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“If the government drags the chain it will rob the campaign of time to educate the community about the importance of constitutional reform to allow the federal government to fund local councils.
“Two High Court cases have created uncertainty around federal grants to local councils.
“This referendum should receive active support from all political parties, state governments and local councils across the nation.
“Referendums are notoriously difficult to pass, with voters approving eight out of 44 proposals to alter the constitution, so it is important campaigning gets going as soon as possible.
“This report reveals a big appetite from local councils for reform and strong capacity to campaign. The Gillard government must lead the way in securing this important change.
“The Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 sets out the referendum process. This includes passing a bill setting out the proposed alteration to the Constitution, establishing ‘yes’ and ‘no’ committees of MPs to prepare a case supporting their position and the Government-General issuing writs,” Senator Rhiannon said.
Posted by Steve on February 25, 2013
After paving the way for the creation of the position, the Australian Greens have today welcomed the appointment of Megan Mitchell as the National Children’s Commissioner.
“Children are some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” the Greens’ youth and early childhood spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“It is only right that we created the essential role of National Children’s Commissioner.
“Until now there hadn’t been a person whose sole focus was on the needs of our young people, at a national level.
“Ms Mitchell has vowed to listen to our nation’s youngest citizens to make sure that their voices are heard and I commend her for that.
“This is a major step in improving the situation for our young people and I look forward to seeing Ms Mitchell assume the role and stand up for Australia’s children.
“I welcome this news, but now the government needs to act to protect children who come to Australia fleeing war and persecution.
“The government must move to establish an independent guardian for unaccompanied refugee children.
“Currently the Immigration Minister’s role as their legal guardian is a conflict of interest and he has abandoned the very children he is supposed to protect.”
Posted by Jim McDonald on July 1, 2012
Noosa residents have been slugged again by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council. Not only have we lost hard rubbish clearance and 2 free annual entry tickets to the tip but now we have to pay more for rubbish collection – even the recycling bins which provide income for the Council:
Letter to Noosa News, 19 June 2012
Posted by Steve on June 22, 2012
The Newman government has taken the extraordinary step of beginning to remove the rights of some of its citizens through its introduction of amendments to the Civil Partnerships Act and related legislation, according to the Australian Greens.
“The Greens are appalled that a state government would crumble to the Australian Christian Lobby’s demands and start to legislate to weaken the relationships of same-sex couples,” Greens’ human rights spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.
“This decision is another reason why we need federal marriage equality reforms which cannot be weakened at the whim of a malleable state government.
“Civil unions are not marriage, and only marriage says to same-sex Australian couples that their love is equal.
“The Greens have legislation in both houses of federal parliament to remove discrimination faced by same-sex couples who want the right to choose to celebrate their love with a civil marriage ceremony.
“Tony Abbott needs to stop defying Liberal party tradition and grant a conscience vote to Coalition members, following the leadership displayed by the NSW Premier recently for a marriage equality motion.”
Posted by Steve on June 20, 2012
Addressing the National General Assembly of Local Government, Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, has called on Regional Affairs Minister Simon Crean to respond to the recommendations of the Expert Panel which examined the recognition of local governments in Australia’s Constitution.
Senator Milne also told the Assembly that the work local governments do is crucial in building a clean economy and creating strong and healthy communities.
“In 2010, Bob Brown stood here and made a commitment to a referendum on recognising local government in the Constitution. The Greens have delivered, included a referendum on this issue as part of the Agreement to form Government with Labor,” Senator Milne said.
“In December last year, Simon Crean committed to responding to the Panel’s report in early 2012. So far no response has been forthcoming, while The Greens have continued to work for greater recognition of local government and the vital role it has in Australia.
“Australia’s councils are supporting our local communities to go green, with energy efficiency and solar hot water programs, biodiversity projects funded by the $1 billion Biodiversity Fund secured by the Greens, and building public support for nuclear free council zones.
“There is no doubt that local government is integral to building the cleaner, smarter and healthier Australia that communities want.
“There should be no more delay – I encourage local governments and communities to campaign with the Greens in Parliament to put pressure on the Government to schedule the referendum for the next election.”
“Local governments are on the frontline of building a clean green economy and providing essential public services, but councils are under pressure to make a small pool of money go a very long way,” Australian Greens spokesperson for local government, Senator Lee Rhiannon, said.
“Constitutional recognition would provide funding security for local councils to continue to deliver services that people expect and deserve.
“Greens Senators – standing alongside over 100 Greens local councillors around Australia – will continue to campaign for a referendum on constitutional recognition for local government.”
Posted by Steve on
In the wake of today’s High Court decision overturning John Howard and Julia Gillard’s school chaplaincy program, the Greens are offering to work with the government to ensure the remainder of the $222 million is spent to the benefit of students in employing properly qualified counsellors and student support officers.
“This decision by the High Court has very potentially far-ranging implications which will take some time to digest, but the Greens welcome both the overturning of the school chaplains program and the confirmation that executive government must legislate through the parliament to a much greater extent in relation to the expenditure of public money,” said Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne.
“On the constitutional issue, the Greens will be carefully examining the implications of the decision, including the ramifications for federal-state relations, but we have always believed that decisions of the executive, particularly the expenditure of money, should be subject to the scrutiny by the democratically elected parliament.
“As to the chaplaincy issues, schools across Australia need the resources to employ properly qualified counsellors, student support officers and other non-teaching staff to help students through difficult times.
“That’s what this program should always have been, and we look forward to working with the government to legislate for a program to use these funds wisely to support schools and students.”
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for Youth Affairs, said “The government must not scrap the money allocated to chaplains but instead roll it over to fund properly-trained counsellors and student support officers.
“The High Court has given the government the chance to get the support and welfare program right, so that our school-aged children can get proper support to handle problems such as bullying and self-esteem or difficulties they may be facing at home.
“We know that the needs of students at different schools are not the same. Schools need to be able to choose what type of support or welfare officer best meets the needs of their students.
“For example, school students in rural areas may need different sorts of support to their peers in the city. Schools with large bodies of students who don’t speak English as a first language will have needs different from students at other schools.
“The Greens’ policy has been that schools should have the right to choose who they wanted to counsel students, and that those offering that help to have met minimum qualifications set by the federal Education Department.”