Posted by Steve on March 6, 2014
The Australian Greens have reintroduced critical legislation in the Senate to deliver a $50 per week increase to the single rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance.
“Single people living on Newstart and Youth Allowance are significantly disadvantaged by Australia’s current income support system,” Australian Greens spokesperson on families and community services said today.
“These are two of our lowest and most inadequate income support payments. They force people to live below the poverty line and do not adequately support them as they study, look for work and raise a family.
“It is nothing more than punishment to offer people just $250.50 per week on Newstart and expect them to be able to pay bills and put food on the table.
“Raising the single rate of Newstart and the away-from-home rate of Youth Allowance by $50 per week will bring relief to almost a million households, including single parent families.
“This bill also corrects the imbalance in payment indexation which continues to widen the gap between pensions and allowance payments. Newstart is $156.20 per week less than the age pension.
“The call for a $50 increase has received widespread support from not only welfare and social service groups but also from business groups, unions, various economists and members of parliament.
“The Business Council of Australia argued in its submission to the Senate Inquiry into the adequacy of allowances payments that there is a need for an increase in the Newstart Allowance on an ‘adequacy and fairness basis’ and that ‘there is concern that the low rate of Newstart itself now presents a barrier to employment and risks entrenching poverty’.
“A $50 increase to the base rate of eligible payments will ensure a fairer, and more straightforward social security system and immediately reduce the extent to which Australian people are living in poverty. Better indexation will help maintain the value of an increase into the future.
“Punishing people by condemning them to poverty is not contributing to the caring society that the majority of Australians want for themselves or for their children,” Senator Siewert concluded.
Posted by Steve on March 5, 2014
The Greens have secured Labor’s support for an inquiry into Qantas and potential forms of government assistance first floated earlier this week (http://bit.ly/1e09Gik).
Greens transport spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:
“After a week of constructive negotiations, The Greens are pleased that we’ve managed to secure support in the Senate for an inquiry investigating potential options available to the government and Parliament to assist Qantas.
“The Terms of Reference to be passed by the Senate tomorrow are almost identical to what The Greens moved in the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, with the support of Senator Xenophon, but were blocked by Labor and the Coalition.
“The Greens don’t want to play politics with people’s jobs and livelihood.
“This inquiry could be very significant in light of the thousands of Australian jobs that Mr Joyce and Mr Abbott have put at risk.
“We clearly need to understand what went wrong at Qantas, and what the government and Parliament can do to assist, to come up with recommendations that will help ensure we retain a national carrier operating out of Australia and we keep our workforce highly skilled.
“When the inquiry begins The Greens will immediately move to have Qantas CEO Alan Joyce to be called to give evidence, and for Qantas’ books to be opened up to examination.
Terms of Reference
(1) That the following matter be referred to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for inquiry and report by 27 March 2014:
Supporting Qantas and Australian jobs, with particular reference to:
(a) what initiatives should be taken by Government and the Parliament to ensure Qantas remains a strong national carrier supporting aviation jobs in Australia, including:
(i) A debt guarantee;
(ii) An equity stake;
(iii) Other forms of support consistent with wider policy settings;
(2) In considering the merits of the above, the Committee should investigate:
(a) Any national security, skills, marketing, tourism, emergency assistance or other benefits provided by an Australian-owned Qantas;
(b) The level and forms of government support received by other international airlines operating to and from Australia;
(c) The ownership structures of other international airlines operating to and from Australia.
(d) The potential impact on Australian jobs arising from the Government’s plan to repeal Part 3 of the Qantas Sale Act 1992;
(e) Any related matters.
Posted by Jim McDonald on March 19, 2012
Catch up with Noosa Greens Candidate Jim McDonald and read what he says on various election topics.
Jim has covered a wide range of issues during the election. They include:
- My 30 second pitch to Mary-Lou Stevens “In the elevator” on ABC Coast FM:
Noosa voters should vote for me because I am an experienced advocate with vision.
I’ll introduce a Private Members Bill for a plebiscite so that Noosa residents can decide on de-amalgamation.
I want a prosperous Noosa that is prepared for the new economy and for climate change, with regional food security, a Coast served by light rail and connecting to fast trains, a region with its own renewable energy sources, and jobs in clean industries.
I’ll push to get the Noosa GPs After Hours Service put back in the hospital to take pressure off emergency services.
I’ll oppose any exploitation of the coal reserves under the Coast.
And I don’t owe vested interests any favours It will be the people I owe.
Jim has been activiely campaigning to get some decent representation of Noosa into the parliament. More information available on the following sites:
Posted by Jim McDonald on February 25, 2012
I have been long concerned about the economic security of the Noosa region. The following statement reflects those concerns:
The long-term economic prosperity of Noosa relies not only on retail, tourism, farming and construction but also on a diversity of small business, including information technology and appropriate manufacture. Noosa has the skill base to lead the region towards a sustainable, post-carbon economy that is consistent with the principles that have made Noosa what it is today.
If elected, I will:
- push for an expansion of renewable energy and green industries in a program of creating long term jobs, long-term financial security for families, and long-term success for businesses committed to the future of Noosa.
- lobby for an accelerated introduction of the NBN in Noosa at reasonable rates designed to contribute towards industrial efficiency and Noosa’s ongoing prosperity; develop Noosa as a national IT niche centre.
- encourage cooperation between small business, commercial property owners and the banks to overcome the effects of high commercial leases that weaken the viability of many small businesses, undermining profits and job security for Noosa workers.
Ever since one of my friends took his business from Noosa and established himself in the CBD of one of the capital cities, paying lower rental than for his [non-Hastings Street] premises [15% lower rental for premises 40% larger], I have been concerned about the impact of high commercial rents on the ability of Noosa businesses to survive not only the tourist cycles but also survive the impacts of broader phenomena such as the Global Financial Crisis. High commercial rentals not only adversely affect business profitability but also the financial security of employees and family units in the electorate and within the former Shire boundaries.
I do not pretend to have a solution at hand – I am not an economist – but if the electorate were to give me the responsibility of representing them I would want to be advised by groups such as the Chamber of Commerce about how we might approach such issues. At this point – recognising that many commercial investors purchased their properties at inflated prices – I have suggested that the impacts have such community importance that the current behaviour of the banks and the investors needs to be moderated in the public interest by cooperation between the three sectors. That public interest goes not only to the workers who might be employed but also to the consumers who are affected when businesses close.
I am not suggesting, of course, that high leases are the only cause for closure of businesses, but I am suggesting that – as a community – we need to look for innovative solutions to preserving and promoting Noosa’s prosperity. The above statement suggests some of my thinking, taking into account The Greens policy base [which is far too often misrepresented by our political opponents].
Much more needs to be done in concert with government agency assistance to educate businesses about the effect on their bottom line of sometimes very simple “green” practices and I would work to facilitate better awareness of business owners of such measures, particularly sharing the experiences of businesses that have successfully addressed such issues as rising power prices. Government agencies also ought to facilitate ongoing development of Noosa business owners’ skills in surviving the cyclical impacts of tourism and the broader impacts of the GFC. The cooperative underpinnings of the Chamber of Commerce movement ought to be one of the resources harnessed in such projects.
I would also support a rationalisation of red tape requirements. Often politicians seize on business complaints of red tape, but they rarely put their minds to making whatever government regulation is necessary more efficient. Instead of computerisation being used to reduce bureaucratic impositions, processes have increased the burden. It suggests to me that the design of the necessary reporting is bureaucrat-oriented rather than oriented towards assisting business owners.
I saw a complaint in a recent edition of the Sunshine Coast Daily of the Fair Work Act of the impact of business. You would not be surprised with my background that I regarded the WorkChoices legislation a blight on the Australian tradition of fairness and equity. The Fair Work Act has partially redressed that imbalance.
If I am right, small and medium sized businesses want certainty about employee entitlements and rights [and this was certainly true in my own research on SME managers]. Many SME owners are reasonably pre-occupied with managing their business and dealing with its technical aspects and requirements, but they often are ignorant of their responsibilities towards employees. If elected, I would also work to make such information easily accessible and whatever training necessary is provided for new business owners. Anecdotally, I do know that many local employees are underpaid, especially in one of the sectors. That, in my view, is not only illegal, but socially undesirable, in the long run working against Noosa’s prosperity.
Greens Candidate, Noosa
Posted by Steve on February 12, 2012
Greens MP Adam Bandt has criticised the ANZ Bank for hiking its loan rates by 6 basis points in defiance of the Reserve Bank decision to keep interest rates on hold.
Mr Bandt said the big banks were breaking their social contract with the Australian people.
Mr Bandt said the decision was also a serious challenge to monetary policy at a time when the economy is facing serious challenges from the global situation.
He said the government should now get behind the Greens’ bill to require banks to provide a tracker mortgage with rates that would rise and fall with the cash rate.
“The banks are breaking their social contract with the Australian people,” Mr Bandt said.
“The time for tough talking from the Treasurer and the Opposition is at an end. Now it’s time for action and the government should support the Greens’ bill to rein in excessive profiteering.”
“ANZ’s decision is also a challenge to monetary policy at a time when the global economy may mean action is needed.”
“Wayne Swan should not let ANZ get away with it.”
The Greens’ Banking and Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Mobility and Flexibility) Bill, currently before parliament, would force banks to provide loan products that track changes to the Reserve Bank cash rate and also make it easier for consumers to switch mortgages by changes to mortgage lenders insurance.
Posted by Jim McDonald on February 7, 2012
The Greens candidate for Noosa, Jim McDonald, called for the State Government to restore Unity Water assets to the Councils that developed them.
Dr McDonald said, “Ratepayers funds helped develop Noosa’s water supply and so it belongs to the community. It should never have been grabbed by the Bligh Government to be corporatised in preparation for selling off another public asset. Lake Macdonald was a Noosa Council project.
“Unity Water has done nothing but slug consumers and adopted practices that look more like a mafia operation: exhorbitant metre reading guesses and residents slugged for costs even if they are not connected to the grid are, frankly, unethical standover tactics.
“Separating Unity Water from the Council is also dysfunctional. Subsided trenches crossing Noosa’s streets remain unrepaired despite the Sunshine Coast Regional Council having just completed asphalt road repairs throughout Noosa.
“In one case, a subsided trench on Hill Street in Sunshine Beach lies unrepaired not 10 metres away from the recent round of resurfacing. The Council claims maintenance of the trenches is Unity Water’s responsibility.
“We can blame Labor for that nonsense. But what does the LNP propose? Their so-called “CanDo” policy States that Glen Elmes’ party will combine Unity Water into an even larger body, claiming it would be more efficient. What that will do is make it easier to sell it off to private enterprise and the LNP should come clean about their plans.
“Not being known for its consistency, the party that tries to tell us that the amalgamated Sunshine Coast Regional Council isn’t efficient for Noosa ratepayers argues for State centralisation of water assets developed by the Noosa Shire!
“In no case in Australia has the sale of publicly owned utilites resulted in cheaper prices for consumers whether they have been sold by Labor or Liberal/Nationals.
“Voters are entitled to straight answers from the LNP for their ultimate plans for Unity Water and other publicly-owned assets. Mr Elmes should come clean and state unambiguously that the LNP will return Noosa’s water assets to a reconstituted Noosa Council.
“The Greens are committed to retaining essential public services in public ownership to be run in the public interest.
“I will work in the Parliament for residents to get back Noosa Council control over the assets their rates paid for.”
Greens Candidate, Noosa
Media Release, 6 February 2012
Posted by Jim McDonald on January 25, 2012
The Greens candidate for Noosa, Dr Jim McDonald welcomed the announcement for an election date by Premier Anna Bligh, this morning.
Dr McDonald said that the LNP and Labor leaders had descended to a schoolyard level of debate on the election date.
“I have no doubt that the decision will be controversial concerning the decision to push back the Council elections, but people have been confused between coverage of State and local government elections.
“The Greens policy supports fixed terms and the adoption of that principle will take away the demeaning argy bargy that we have seen this week between Campbell Newman and Anna Bligh.
“However, the biggest problem we face in Queensland is that no party once in government seriously commits to any long term action planning.
“People often say to me that The Greens can never win government so it is a wasted vote. But voting for The Greens is a vote for the future. We must leave behind the dysfunctional ratbaggery that has characterised the Queensland Parliament and deal with long term issues beyond the three-year electoral cycle instead of short-term, populist programs.
“If I am elected to the Parliament for Noosa I can focus my contribution in representing Noosa on the solutions requiring long-term strategy and action, such as a commitment to the infrastructure planning and programs necessary to prepare for the effects of climate change in the region and economic prosperity for Noosa in the post-carbon economy.
“This is not something you ever hear from Mr Elmes or the Young Labor candidate from Brisbane.
“Because I am not constrained by the vested interests that support Labor and the LNP, my focus will be on the benefits for the whole of the electorate and the region rather than select groups and the coal and gas industries.”
Dr McDonald said, “The Noosa and Hinterland Greens Branch are organised and ready for the long campaign.”
Jim McDonald campaigning for the Greens
Greens Candidate Noosa
Media Release, 25 January 2012
Posted by Steve on November 8, 2011
Today is an historic day for Australia and a boost to global efforts to reduce emissions as the Senate passes the Clean Energy Future legislation, according to the Australian Greens.
“Today is the day that Australia lays the foundation for a whole economic transformation and it’s the day we start serious action to tackle the climate crisis,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
“It is a day when the parliament placed the well being of future generations front and centre.
“This is an exciting day in Australia. Laying this foundation stone means it is the beginning of building a clean, zero carbon economy and seizing the opportunities of creating jobs and investment and putting our economy on a 21st century track.
“Where the old CPRS that we rejected was a full stop at the end of the campaign to tackle climate change, this package is an opening paragraph. We have a lot of work to do in the months and years ahead to make the best use of the opportunities we have created.
“But today is also the beginning of the end for Tony Abbott.
“We have had to put up with a 12 month scare campaign from Tony Abbott and the big polluters, based mostly on lies and exaggerations.
“All that negativity is now out the window. There will be a psychological shift in Australia as people see less tax coming out of their pay or more in their support payments and then look to see how they can positively contribute to the task of tackling the climate crisis.
“Tony Abbott staked his entire political career on destabilising the Gillard government and on defeating the legislation to put a price on carbon pollution.
“He has failed on both counts and, instead of standing and facing the music, he has cut and run.
“Australia can now celebrate the passage of this historic package of bills, seize the opportunities it presents, and hold our heads up high internationally as our efforts for the first time bolster global negotiations and help to support carbon prices around the world.
“I will be travelling to Durban to attend the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change where Australia’s efforts will be welcomed and celebrated.”
Posted by Steve on September 12, 2011
Greens MP and employment and industry spokesperson Adam Bandt released terms of reference for a Joint Select Committee Inquiry into Australian jobs and manufacturing.
“If best the government can do on jobs is a one day talkfest than the manufacturing sector is in big trouble,” Mr Bandt said today.
“It is left to the Greens to put forward a proposal for a proper inquiry into manufacturing.”
“I will give notice today of motion to establish a joint select committee on Australian Jobs and Manufacturing.”
Inquiry into Australian Jobs and Manufacturing
That a Joint Select Committee on Australian Jobs and Manufacturing be appointed to inquire into and report on:
(a) the state of the country’s manufacturing sector and the threats to jobs and opportunities in the sector;
(b) the significant role of commodities exports in Australia’s economy and the impacts of this on the economy, including on costs of capital and labour, infrastructure investment and the value of the dollar;
(c) policies to support and encourage innovation and adaptation in the manufacturing sector including local content rules for the resources sector and government procurement; and
(d) any related matters.
Posted by Steve on September 6, 2011
The federal government should not featherbed the big mining corporations by rebating state royalties, and Barry O’Farrell should get his facts right on the carbon price, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
“The Gillard government is in a bind over its feeble mining tax. Already, $100 billion is being lost over the next 10 years from the public purse. This is money which should be going to hospitals, housing, schools, dental care or developing high-speed rail,” Senator Brown said in Hobart.
“Mining company profits leapt 15.2 per cent to near $25 billion in the three months to June. The states have a right to increase royalties. But the Commonwealth is wrong to repay that money to the miners.
“As far as saying to the states, ‘well, you can’t increase royalties’, that again will cost the taxpayer. Ultimately, unless the government amends its own watered-down mining tax, we may end up with the federal taxpayer subsidising the states and the mining companies getting off scot-free.
“But Premier O’Farrell’s claims on the carbon tax don’t add up. The carbon pricing package negotiated by the Greens will be a boon for clean energy jobs in New South Wales,” Senator Brown said.
“New South Wales has enough clean energy potential to power 3,000,000 homes, remove pollution equivalent to 3,300,00 cars and create 6,600 jobs.”
Clean Energy Jobs in Regional Australia, Climate Institute, 1/3/2011
“It is also notable that both the New South Wales and Victorian modelling has nothing at all to say about the damage that unmitigated climate change would wreak on their economies,” Senator Brown said.