Posted by Steve on March 20, 2014
The Australian Greens have renewed calls for Attorney-General George Brandis to drop his bid to amend the Racial Discrimination Act, following the minister’s responses in Question Time today.
Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright today asked the Attorney-General why he would not reconsider in light of concerns raised by Liberal MP Ken Wyatt.
“It seems that nothing will stop the Abbott Government from pushing ahead with these changes to the law to license the public humiliation of people because of their race,” Senator Wright said.
“These amendments should be called the ‘Andrew Bolt Protection Bill’ from now on, because that can be the only reason the Government remains so determinedly single-minded.
“Ethnic groups from around the country, the Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council Mr Warren Mundine and now several MPs within the Liberal Party have raised concerns that drastically altering sections 18C and 18D would give a green light to hate speech.
“It’s all well and good for Mr Brandis to say that the Liberal Party allows for these kind of disagreements, but if he and Prime Minister Abbott have no intention of listening and taking on board the feedback of their party room and the community – what’s the point?
“The Australian Greens will not support any bid to weaken protections for vulnerable people.”
Posted by Steve on March 19, 2014
Despite leading Coalition and Labor figures, including the Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos, caught up in lobbying scandals the major parties have combined forces in the Senate to vote down a motion backing greater regulation of lobbying activities in the federal parliament.
“It is extraordinary that when given the opportunity to vote for a much needed clean-up of lobbyist activities that would provide greater transparency for the public, Labor and the Coalition choose to vote together to maintain the current feeble oversight system,” Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
“The existing Lobbying Code of Conduct captures little of the lobbying activity that occurs behind closed doors.
“The vote on the Senate motion puts the spotlight on the unwillingness of the major parties to clean up a system that leaves the door open to corrupt activities.
“The federal code limited to third party lobbyists lags well behind regulatory schemes in the US and Canada.
“The motion the Coalition and Labor voted against called for an Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, a new definition of lobbying to include all MPs and Senators, including cross benchers and opposition MPs and for a ban on the payment of success fees to lobbyists.
“No major party Senator spoke against the motion to explain why they are opposed to these changes.
“The motion also called for the scope of lobbying to include corporations and organisations employing in-house lobbyists.
“News about lobbyists using underhand tactics is becoming a regular reminder of why reform is needed.
“The decision of the Coalition and Labor to vote together sets back moves to raise the standard on lobbyists’ behaviour and achieving better outcomes for the public.
“Lobbyists work to influence the decisions of parliament for the group or business that pays them. There is nothing wrong with this but the public has a right to know what they do.
“Lobbyists can change government decisions. How they use their power needs to be opened up to scrutiny.
“Labor has a track record of opposing reform to tighten up lobbyist activities. In 2012 they opposed a Senate Inquiry to review the federal Lobbying Code of Conduct. The Greens initiated Inquiry was set up with the support of the Coalition,” Ms Rhiannon said.
Posted by Steve on March 6, 2014
The old parties have voted down the Greens’ bill to give landholders the right to say no to coal and gas, in the Senate today, confirming the Greens are the only party standing up for farmers against the big mining companies.
A Lock the Gate delegation of farmers, traditional owners, tourism operators and winemakers watched on.
“Unfortunately, the delegation from Lock the Gate, of people personally affected by mining on their land, has come to Canberra to see the old parties let them down,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens mining spokesperson, said.
“Right across our country, people are concerned about coal and gas threatening their land, water and climate and disgracefully landholders have no rights to stop the big mining companies from marching on to their land and doing whatever they want.
“Alarmingly shale gas is taking over Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia and the Greens are the only party standing up for landholders against this dangerous industry.
“Without the right to say no, this David and Goliath situation forced upon unwilling farming families across Australia is even more weighted in favour of big coal and gas.
“The Liberal and National Senators didn’t even bother to participate in the Senate debate, even though rural communities are crying out for landholder rights.
“The old parties also voted down our Senate motion supporting Lock the Gate’s call for national laws to protect food-producing land from coal and gas and to give landholders the power of veto over mining on their land.
“It’s really disappointing that Liberal, National and Labor senators are all ignoring the community and instead doing the bidding of the big mining companies.
“We know that the old parties accept donations from the big mining companies, including the Nationals accepting money from Santos, and it’s sad to see where their priorities lie.
“When Tony Abbott is out in the bush he says that mining companies shouldn’t be allowed on farmers’ land without permission but then he does nothing about it in Canberra.
“The old parties need to wake up and realise we’re at the end of the fossil fuel era and we have viable renewable alternatives that don’t threaten our land, water and climate.
“The Greens won’t give up as a strong voice in Parliament for everyone who eats, drinks and needs a liveable climate,” Senator Waters said.
The Greens’ Landholders’ Right to Refuse (Gas and Coal) Bill 2013
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 Steve on September 30, 2013
Greens Deputy Leader, Adam Bandt, has called for an inquiry into the Reserve Bank of Australia following disturbing new claims of illegal approaches to Saddam Hussein’s regime, as well as demanding ASIC explain why it is turning a blind eye to the RBA’s corporate activities.
“Most Australians would be shocked to know their central bank was using their money to line up dirty deals with Saddam Hussein,” said Mr Bandt.
“The stench surrounding the Reserve Bank gets worse and a full inquiry is needed to clear the air.”
“The claim that RBA officials misled Parliament is disturbing. When Parliament resumes, the Greens will move to have RBA officials appear before a parliamentary committee to answer these serious allegations.”
“Also appalling is the utter failure of ASIC, our corporate regulator, even to investigate sustained claims of wrongdoing within the corporate activities of the Reserve Bank.”
“ASIC throws the book at a lone global warming activist who sends out a press release, yet turns a blind eye to repeated claims of sustained corporate corruption in the Reserve Bank.”
“The Greens will ask ASIC to explain to Parliament why it has failed to investigate serious and repeated claims of illegality within the RBA’s corporate activities.”
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
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.”
Posted by Jim McDonald on April 30, 2012
What is the real result for The Greens in the Brisbane Council election – not the unsubstantiated views of the media or the failure to report?
Looking at the vote as at closing Saturday, I’ve gone through the Wards where we were represented. If we regard less that ±1.0% as holding our own, we have held our vote in 5 of the wards [26% of wards] in which The Greens had candidates. In 10 of the wards [53% of wards] we increased our vote by more than 1.0% with Bracken Ridge & Moorooka at over 2%, Walter Taylor [+4.62%], and Wishart [+3.21%].
So, in 79% of the seats in which The Greens stood candidates the vote was either steady or significantly increased.
Andrew Bartlett increased the Mayoral percentage by 2.21%.
In two wards there was a significant fall in votes [more than 5%] in Tennyson and The Gabba. In the latter, Drew Hutton had obtained 25.6% of the vote in 2008.
In the By-election for Anna Bligh’s former seat, Jo Bragg actually increased the Greens vote by 1.52% and in the present mood of the electorate that is holding our own at the very least.
The facts of the matter [subject to the usual caveats about error] as as follows:
Bracken Ridge +2.1%
Holland Park -0.73%
The Gabba -5.13% [Drew Hutton last time at 25.64%]
The Gap +1.44%
Walter Taylor +4.62%
Wynnum Manley -2.30%
*No previous Greens candidate
Noosa & Hinterland Greens
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 March 4, 2012
Election signs are a sign that democracy is at work and there is an election in place.
Signs enable parties that aren’t supported by mining billionaires, like the sitting Noosa LNP member, Hon. Glen Elmes, to have a chance at getting their message out. The LNP is supported by mining magnate Clive Palmer. The Greens are supported by small donations from individuals.
Candidate signage is an Australian and international democratic tradition found in every Western liberal democracy. However, Glen Elmes is prepared to support his mates on the Sunshine Coast Regional Council trashing an Australian electioneering tradition and almost certainly breaching the Local Government Act.
The Council has announced that it will limit signs in Noosa to two for each candidate.
This limitation to two signs is disrespectful of the democratic political process. Mr Elmes runs the facile visual pollution argument, and rests his case on having both won and lost elections in the absence of signage. That reasoning is irrelevant to the matter of democratic principle. Indeed, I would argue that he presents the spectacle of an elected member of Parliament supporting the Council in breaking the provisions of the Local Government Act 2009. The Act expressly prevents the Council from prohibiting signs. While the Council limits two signs to a candidate, the Council prohibits any other signs. In my view the Council is breaking the law by putting any number on election signs.
Section 36(1)(b) of the Queensland Local Government Act 2009 states, without any caveat, that “A local government must not make a local law that … (b) prohibits the placement of election signs or posters.” What is clearer than that?
That provision leaves it open to regulation about placement but not limiting the number and certainly not insulting the intelligence of the voters and the candidates who put themselves forward for public office. If the Sunshine Coast Regional Council wants some consistency about placement, then it ought to consult the reasonable guidelines issued by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
Mr Elmes’s support of the two sign announcement is another example of the LNP having lost any sense of a fair go and why his party is no better than the State Labor Government which ran roughshod over the Noosa Shire. The Greens stand much closer to the great Australian social justice traditions than either party, both of which have lost their way.
Noosa Electoral District