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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Palmer’s MOU with Muir underscores need for Senate voting reform

Posted by Steve on December 30, 2013

Australian Coat of Arms

The Australian Greens have called for reform of the Senate voting system after the release of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Palmer United Party and the Motoring Enthusiasts Party failed to clarify the relationship between the parties.

The Motoring Enthusiasts Party’s Senator-elect, Ricky Muir, was elected despite polling only half a per cent of the primary vote in the 2013 federal election in one state Victoria.

“Australians should be able to feel confident that when they vote for a party in the Senate, if preferences are distributed they flow according to the voter’s choice,” said Greens Democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon today.

“The current Senate voting system does not do that. The system we have now encourages the creation of front parties to harvest preferences and unprincipled backroom preference deals.

“Senate Group Voting Tickets have led to the election of Mr Muir on a tiny fraction of the vote. They need to be abolished to restore fairness to our elections.

“The MOU between the Palmer United Party and the Motoring Enthusiasts Party does not clarify the relationship between the two,” Said Senator Rhiannon.

Pyne’s elitist education u-turn deserts struggling students

Posted by Steve on December 1, 2013

Gonski-promise

Hundreds of thousands of Australian students will continue to struggle at school if the Coalition refuses to honor funding promises to Australian public schools, says Australian Greens spokesperson for Schools Senator Penny Wright.

Senator Wright said after days of deliberate deceit by Education Minister Christopher Pyne, a meeting of education ministers today had revealed Federal Government’s education cuts would only affect public schools.

“This government has finally revealed their true education agenda – to give even more to those who already have more, and take from those who can least afford it,” Senator Wright said.

“This is an utter betrayal of the public and our students to so completely abandon the principles of the Gonski review, which was about finally ending the huge education gaps between the most and least privileged children.

“Whether it is kids from the country, kids with disabilities or kids with tough family circumstances, the students who need extra help overwhelmingly attend public schools.

“If public schools lose out, thousands and thousands of these kids suffer. The Coalition’s plan is elitist and shameful in the extreme.

“State education ministers said today’s meeting was heated – I can only imagine how inflamed it would have been if the room had been filled with parents from around the country because a more complete duplicity is difficult to imagine.

“The Australian Greens will continue to stand up for schools and students all around this country and we are committed to blocking the Coalition’s efforts to desert Australia’s most needy children.”

ASIC must answer to Parliament on corruption claims

Posted by Steve on September 30, 2013

saddam-hussein-old-iraq-ban

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.”

‘Name and Shame’ laws a dangerous approach

Posted by Steve on September 29, 2013

Justive reinvestment

Queensland’s proposed ‘Name and Shame’ laws are a dangerous approach to punishing juvenile offenders, says Australian Greens Senator Penny Wright.

Spokesperson on legal affairs, Senator Wright, said the proposed laws are out of touch with evidence that shows that naming and shaming may well increase juvenile crime.

“The Queensland Government’s so-called tough approach to juvenile repeat offenders is punitive and will actually be counterproductive,” Senator Wright said.

“There is no reliable evidence that this form of ‘Naming and Shaming’ will deter young people from offending but there is the real risk that it will become a badge of honour for those few who do reoffend.

“Pandering to a desire for punishment and retribution may win votes but it does not actually make our communities safer.

“If the government is truly serious about prevention rather than punishment, it will heed the evidence that addressing the causes of offending where they occur, is much more effective.

“Justice Reinvestment is a far smarter approach. It targets the communities where offending is most prevalent and leads to less crime and therefore less victims.

“We need to address the causes of why young Australians are facing court. The Queensland Government’s approach is strong on rhetoric and retribution but it will not produce safer communities. It is time for a new strategy,” Senator Wright said.

MOU for environmental vandalism across Queensland

Posted by Steve on September 25, 2013

NPQ

The federal and Queensland governments’ new agreement to hand federal environment protection powers to the state government will devastate the state’s natural assets, say the Australian Greens.

“So much of Queensland’s iconic environment has been deemed to have national significance, like our Great Barrier Reef and our ancient rainforests, and for more than 30 years places like this have had special federal protection,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

“Now Tony Abbott is ripping up that federal protection so there’s nothing to stop Campbell Newman giving the big mining companies open slather across Queensland.

“Then Mr Abbott is set to move on to the other states and territories, leaving a patchwork of varying environmental standards across the country, with no federal power to enforce them, which will no doubt create confusion and uncertainty for business.

“The Newman Government says it wants to maintain environmental standards but its track record indicates otherwise.

“Premier Newman has proven himself an environment vandal, having already gutted state protection for national parks, coastal areas, native vegetation and wild rivers.

“And when it comes to the Great Barrier Reef, Mr Newman says ‘we’re in the coal business’.

“The Reef is on the brink of becoming a dredging dump ground for coal and gas ports and a shipping super highway – now, more than ever, leaving the fox in charge of the hen house will prove disastrous.

“Leaving the Reef in the hands of an environmentally reckless premier will no doubt spark international criticism, with UNESCO warning that the Reef could be added to the list of World Heritage sites in danger within a year if it continues to be overrun by development,” Senator Waters said.

Abbott will trash Australia’s environmental icons

Posted by Steve on September 23, 2013

GBR-Fish

Tony Abbott’s plan to devolve environment approval powers to the states so he can push through damaging developments is environmentally reckless.

“Tony Abbott is focused on destroying the environment in the fastest possible timeframe by handing over environmental powers to the states in a bid to fast track mining applications,” Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

“The strategic assessments that Greg Hunt is crowing about today will put state premiers in charge of protecting nationally significant environmental assets like the Great Barrier Reef.

“It is totally irresponsible to leave the Great Barrier Reef in Campbell Newman’s hands, especially when UNESCO is warning the Reef could be added to the World Heritage in danger list if its industrialisation does not slow down.

“When asked about the Reef, Premier Newman declared that ‘we’re in the coal business.’

“Giving state governments the final say will wind back Australia’s environment protection by more than 30 years.

“So much for steady and methodical, the Coalition’s approach to the environment is reckless, destructive and out of control.”

Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said:

“Premier Newman has already repealed Queensland’s protection for national parks, native vegetation, wild rivers and coastal areas – he cannot be trusted with total control of our Great Barrier Reef.

“The Reef does need a long term plan but not one that leaves it entrusted to Premier Newman and ignores the impacts of mining industrialisation.”

Coalition undermining ‘Yes’ vote for local government

Posted by Steve on June 27, 2013

Noosa News

While welcoming the final passing of the laws to set up the Referendum for constitutional recognition of local government, Greens local government spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has accused the Coalition of running a spoiler campaign to undermine the chances of the Referendum passing.

“The split in the Coalition vote shows that Abbott is a wolf in sheep’s clothing on the Referendum for constitutional recognition of local government,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“In the Senate seven Coalition senators voted against the Referendum bill and nineteen others abstained, including Senators George Brandis and Eric Abbetz.

“While the Coalition officially support including a reference to local government in the Constitution, their actions seem designed to put roadblocks on any momentum around a ‘Yes’ vote.

“A number of Coalition MPs in the Senate debate said that they did not want the Referendum campaign to distract from their election campaign.

“Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann summed up his party’s approach when he told the Senate that the Coalition will be campaigning for a change of government not a change to the Constitution.

“The deceptive tactics of the Coalition could jeopardise financial certainty for many local councils and shires.

“Former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown played a key role in initiating this Referendum.

“Despite the undermining tactics of the Coalition the Greens are still confident that the Referendum can pass. The Greens are mounting a strong ‘Yes’ campaign,” Senator Rhiannon said.

Wage rise needed to keep talented teachers in classrooms

Posted by Steve on April 7, 2013

Teachers

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.”

Greens to push for vote on voluntary euthanasia bill

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.”

Govt must move fast to recognise local govt though election referendum

Posted by Steve on

Constitutional recognition of local government

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.

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Larissa's Maiden Speech