- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Abbott's plan to slash super: GetUp message

Reblogged from GetUp

Work part-time? Earn less than $37k? Know anyone who does? Today, the Federal Government announced plans to scrap the low-income super concession which means hitting the retirement savings of those who need it most, while giving tax breaks to big mining.

This move will take tens of thousands of dollars from the retirement savings of 3.5 million Australians.

Up until now, the Government would contribute $500 a year to those earning $37,000 or less as a way of helping low-income earners save for retirement. Scrapping this low income super contribution will have a disproportionate impact on women, young people and rural Australians.

The Abbott government has been good at keeping this quiet, and right now, few people even know it's happening or how it could affect their future savings. That's why we've created a shareable version of the above infographic, in order to get the word out.

Will you help spread the word by sharing the facts right now? Click here to share on Facebook, or forward the following link to friends and family: https://www.getup.org.au/superannuation.

If we all join together to spread the truth about at whose expense these "savings" will come, there's still time – ahead of budget – to stop these changes and protect the retirement savings of millions of Australians.

Let's get the facts out there,
the GetUp team

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Upper House Inquiry misses mark on young people drinking

Media release: 15 December 2013

A NSW parliamentary committee failed to confront the liquor industry and produce recommendations that would reduce the harm on the state's young people, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

('O'Farrell government accused over liquor law reform', Sun Herald 15 December, p. 3, http://j.mp/sh131215.

'Strategies to reduce alcohol abuse among young people in NSW', Social Issues Committee, NSW Legislative Council, 13 December, available at http://j.mp/1fb7feO)

Dr Kaye said: "The liquor industry will continue to impose an unacceptable toll of street and domestic violence until politicians gather the courage to stand up to it.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Abbott will trash Australia's environmental icons

The Australian Greens said 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."

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Blicks River Guardians gather resources.

Passing on the knowledge. Teaching the young to crack a whip.

This banner says it all. We must protect the headwaters of our rivers.We must protect the headwaters for the people of Dundurrabin and for all those living on the coast and dependent on the these rivers for their water.

The fete in Dundurrabin was a great success for a small community. It can never be said that this community is not strong and vital. The effect of mining on this community must be a major factor for consideration in any impact study.

These signs will be available at our next Greens' stall.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Refugee Convention too important to tamper with

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Labor cannot let the race to the bottom with Tony Abbott affect our strong commitment to protecting people who are fleeing war and persecution, the Australian Greens have said.

"We can't let Kevin Rudd retreat from Australia's proud history of giving protection to people in desperate need," the Greens' immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

"It's not the Refugee Convention that's at fault here, it's the cheap politics being played with refugees' lives.

"Many Australians will be disappointed that a Labor Prime Minster is willing to play the dog whistle like this, threatening one of the most important human rights documents in the world.

"The convention has been the bedrock of protection for millions of people, ever since it came into existence after World War II.

Thursday, 18 July 2013


Senator Milne in Lismore with NORCO staff
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2013

Labor’s decision to cut climate programs to fund Rudd’s backflip on carbon pricing proves Labor can’t be trusted on the environment, Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

“You don’t protect the environment by cutting the environment,” Senator Milne said.

“Today’s announcement is politically motivated and adds up to a $1 billion hit to the environment and the transition to clean energy.

“Labor’s capitulation to the big polluters will undermine clean energy business confidence and hurt the environment.

“Labor benefits, but farmers, manufacturers and the environment are the biggest losers.

“These cuts will hit regional Australia the hardest because these environmental programs are all about helping rural communities adapt to climate change and reduce their emissions.

“Let’s be clear, Rudd has abandoned rural and regional Australia to shore up support in marginal suburban electorates.

“All of this is politically motivated. We already have an Emissions Trading Scheme and EU linking – Rudd should have defended what we have instead of undermining confidence and attacking the environment.

“If he was genuinely interested in a fast transition to a low carbon economy he would have waited for the securing of the EU price and not rushed to help polluters take advantage of its weakness.

“It is also important to note there is still no commitment to a higher emissions reduction target then 5 per cent.

“When it comes to climate change – Abbott is a denier, Rudd is a backflipper and only the Greens can be trusted to address global warming.

“On top of all this Labor is now attacking the public service putting 800 jobs on the line – doing Tony Abbott’s work for him.”

The losses to the environment include:

Today’s green cuts
•       $213 million   Biodiversity Fund
•       $143 million Carbon Farming Futures
•       $362 million Clean Technology Program

Previous cuts announced in the May 2013-14 Budget:
•       $257 million Biodiversity Fund
•       $627m ARENA and low carbon communities

TOTAL LOSS: $1.6 billion

Antimony mining could affect our water for millenia

'BELLINGEN Shire Council will erect health warning signs downstream from the derelict antimony processing plant at Urunga following worrying early results of a water testing program.

Results received so far have been consistent with those from a NSW Beachwatch program conducted
Existing signage at Urunga
in the area a decade ago, which indicated elevated levels of antimony and arsenic at Station Creek, which flows from the plant into the Urunga Lagoon.

Workers decide how to remediate the polluted lagoon.
Council’s deputy general manager for Environment and Planning, Stephen Taylor, said a review of the current test results indicated it was unsafe to swim or fish in the vicinity, and so health warning signs would be posted.

“Obviously this has been an ongoing problem and I am not sure why these signs were not installed 10 years ago,” Mr Taylor said.

“Plans are now well underway for the remediation of the Urunga site and hopefully we will see an improvement in the future.”

Read More:
Public warned of troubled waters 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Abbott's northern plan shows little understanding of responsible development

21 June 2013

The Australian Greens said today that Tony Abbott's plan for Australia's north shows how little he understands about the importance of responsible, sustainable development.

"Northern Australia is not an empty and forgotten part of our country waiting to be exploited, which is what Mr Abbott seems to think," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens agriculture spokesperson said today.

"Moves towards intensive agriculture and expanded resource development, along with weakened, tick-and-flick environmental assessments have the potential to very damaging to the environment and local communities.

"Investment in northern Australia is important, however this must be done in a long term, sustainable fashion in order to support communities, not simply to deliver on the demands of big business.

"Large scale intensive agriculture across the north of Australia has been a pipe dream for decades. It's been tried before and the results have ended up as expensive white elephants.

"The water for large scale intensive agriculture isn't available, as has been demonstrated by CSIRO. The entire operation would also be susceptible to changing weather patterns and more extreme weather events.

"Intensive land use would affect entire ecosystems, and Mr Abbott cannot gloss over that fact.

"Unsustainable land use, changes to water flow, pollution and invasive species all have the capacity to radically change this part of our country.

"Northern Australian needs to be managed in a responsible and sustainable way, and that is not the path being set out by Tony Abbott," Senator Siewert concluded.

Wikipedia Link to Northern Australia

Thousands to Walk Together in Welcome

June 21, 2013

Greens Multicultural Affairs spokesperson and Welcome to Australia ambassador Tammy Franks will join hundreds of like-minded South Australians tomorrow (Saturday) at Welcome to Australia's Walk Together event.

The Refugee Week walk in Adelaide is one of 15 Walk Together events being organised by Welcome to Australia, with thousands expected to turn out across the country in support of a compassionate approach towards refugees and asylum seekers.

"Australia is the land of the fair go and Welcome to Australia is all about celebrating cultural diversity and welcoming those who come across the sea seeking a better life," Ms Franks said.

"I grew up right next door to Sydney's Endeavour immigration Hostel in the '80s, where playgrounds and open spaces prevailed, not the barbed wire and barbed words of now.

"Meeting and playing with the children of immigrants and refugees from around the world made for brilliant conversations, great insights and some fantastic lunchtime swaps.

"These days of course those very same childhood friends would instead be languishing in isolated, humid hell-holes and I would never have had the joy of off-loading my peanut butter or vegemite sandwiches for some far more fabulous prawn crackers!

Click pic to see this resource
"Whatever your political persuasion, tomorrow's walk is about recognising the equality and dignity of all people and aspiring to be a nation that celebrates diversity and welcomes refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

"Together we'll be calling for an end to the politics of fear and prejudice.

"All of us are an important part of the Australian story and tomorrow is about recognising that through this visual demonstration," Ms Franks concluded.

In 2012, more than 10,000 Australians in 11 cities walked together. Join the walk in Adelaide commencing at 1pm tomorrow (Saturday) outside Parliament House, North Tce and concluding with a Welcome Picnic in Rymill Park (corner Rundle St and East Tce.)

More information: http://www.welcometoaustralia.org.au/

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Queensland and NT have nowhere to hide on Gonski

11 June 2013

Coalition governments in Queensland and the Northern Territory must stop playing blind man's bluff on school funding reforms, says Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright.

The call came as the Federal Government figures revealed just how much money would flow to some of the most disadvantaged schools in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

"Premier Newman and Chief Minister Giles have been stumbling round in the dark making all sorts of claims about how the Gonski school funding reforms would harm local schools," Senator Wright said.

"Today's figures show those claims are false. Schools in Queensland and the NT stand to greatly benefit from a more equitable funding system.

"Every child deserves the opportunity to receive a high quality education and it would be a great shame for Queensland and NT students to miss out on this once-in-a-generation chance.

"It's time to end the childish political games and get on with making sure every Australian child has a world-class education."

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Greens want to put a stop to the dumping of dredge spoil.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


The Australian Greens announced a new policy in Brisbane today to stop offshore dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef, being dug up at record rates for new coal and gas ports.

"It's time Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott started treating the Great Barrier Reef as a natural wonder of the world and not as a dumping ground for the big mining companies," Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

Take Action Now. Go to https://www.greenpeace.org.au/action/?cid=40&src=GP1

"The Greens want to put a stop to the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and polling shows more than 90 per cent of Australians agree.

"We're taking to the election a policy of no new permits for offshore dumping in the reef and no new permits for dredging in the reef unless there is a plan to dispose of the dredge spoil onshore."

Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said the reef dumping put coral and fish health at risk, and could have far worse impacts than currently understood.

"Big mining companies are meant to dump offshore as a last resort, but recently the old parties have allowed record amounts of dumping," Senator Waters said.

"Since 2000, 22 million cubic metres of dredge spoil has been approved to be dumped in our precious reef - that's more than 13 MCGs worth.

"Because of wind, wave and ocean current action, the dredge spoil travels and can end up smothering precious coral ecosystems and affecting fishing areas - all just to save the big mining companies the cost of disposing the spoil on land.

"Last week in Senate estimates, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority told me that since their scientists recently started using 3D modelling and factoring in deep ocean currents, they'd found dredge spoil sediment was moving much further than previously claimed by dredging companies.

"It's environmental negligence to let the big mining companies dump their dredged port waste in the Great Barrier Reef, especially when we still don't know the full impact and when the UN is warning the reef could be added to the list of World Heritage sites in danger in a year."

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Meet Senator Waters and Jeremy Buckingham in Grafton, June 13

March against Monsanto Rally, Bellingen, May 25. Bellingen spoke.

Carol Vernon spoke about The Greens policy
Media Release, May 26th, Carol Vernon

Greens candidate speaks at Bellingen March Against Monsanto Rally

“I want my food to be GM (genetically manipulated) free. I want comprehensive GM labelling of my food. I want farmers and biodiversity protected and the government made accountable for the use of GM technology. I’m sure the people of Cowper agree with me.”

Carol Vernon, Greens candidate for Cowper, was just one of the Greens candidates and politicians joining communities around Australia to rally against the expansion of GMO crops and to call for better labelling of products that contain GMO.

Carol attended the Bellingen event where more than 400 people shared their concerns about the corporatisation of food production and seed supply, and the use of herbicides and pesticides linked with GM crops.

“I believe we are becoming unwilling participants in corporate funded experiments where inadequate labelling means we are often unaware of ingredients, additives, processing aid or other constituents in our food using GM technology

“Despite bold claims of bigger crop yields and positive environmental improvements, genetically manipulated crops have failed to deliver on all fronts.

“When big money and corporations become too closely linked to government, ethical behaviour and integrity flies out the window.

“While the other parties, represented in Cowper by Luke Hartsuyker (Nationals) and Alfredo Navarro (Labor), would allow big business to assert their dominance over what Australians grow and eat, the Greens have consistently challenged the dominance of large corporations in our agricultural sector and are proud to stand up with the community on this issue.

“A strong Greens presence in the Senate is necessary to ensure we regain control of our food supply and food exports.

“Through the choices we make as consumers, and growers, we can all take steps to improve our food fate locally.”


Check out


for more information.

Marguerite and Annabelle did a fantastic job organising this event. They had some wonderful helpers who donated their time and talent. Congratulations guys.

An audience of near 400 rotated through the hall and park in Bellingen. A smaller March in Hyde St was also held at the end of the event. Uncle Tom Kelly, traditional landowner, welcomed us.

The Liberal, National and Labor parties are all in favour of genetically manipulated crops. The Greens oppose the genetic manipulation of crops; are pushing for a transparent labelling of genetically manipulated food and the freedom for all to collect and exchange seed.

The March began at 'half time'. Photo by Solveig Larsen

The March grows

Monsanto protest audience

Seedsavers share the seed.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Spotlight on Abbott to keep carbon price’s tax-free threshold

Senator Christine Milne
Date: Wed, 8 May 2013

Please find below the Australian Greens response to the announcement by Minister Combet this morning about the deferral of the 2015 increase in the tax-free threshold linked to the carbon price.

“It’s logical that post the fixed price period, future household compensation will reflect the carbon price movement," Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

“But the real question is not when will the tax-free threshold be increased, but whether as Prime Minister Tony Abbott will slash the tax-free threshold to $6,000 and reverse pension increases.

“The Greens in the balance of power will stand up against the destructive excesses of an Abbott government wanting to slash both energy efficiency programs, and the renewable energy target to way below the current 41,000 gigawatt hour goal.

“Only the Greens will challenge Labor to maintain a backbone on carbon pricing beyond the election.”

Failure to boost Newstart would be an indictment on Labor

8 May 2013

The Australian Greens said today that anything short of a $50 per week increase to Newstart in next week's Federal Budget would be an indictment on Labor for their misguided priorities.

"It seems today the Government is softening up the ground for the fact next week's budget will not deliver for those people in our community doing it the toughest," Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"Any moves to improve the taper rates for Newstart would be welcome, but in isolation they are not enough to help the people trapped on this payment. An increase in taper rates will not provide enough money to close the gap between the poverty line and the low rate of Newstart.

"People on Newstart are skipping meals and missing out on the absolute essentials, which is why a $50 per week increase is so important, and why we have legislation before Parliament to fix this inequity.

"Labor is putting the wishes of big business before the needs of the most vulnerable in our community by failing to fix the holes in the mining tax.

"Adjusting the taper rates to allow people to earn more each week is a small step towards improving this payment, but it won't change the fact that by keeping Newstart so low, the Government is condemning people into poverty.

"Of course, you need to be able to find work in the first place to be able to access any benefit from the taper rates.

"Only an increase in the base rate of Newstart will address the poverty that people currently living in," Senator Siewert concluded.

Gillard Government wastes $768 million on supporting fossil fuel industry

Wednesday 8 May 2013

The Australian Greens today released new costings from the Parliamentary Budget Office that show the Gillard Government's carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiatives will cost the public $768 million over the next four years.

"It makes no sense to waste millions in taxpayer dollars promoting the illusion of 'clean coal' - when after years of rhetoric there is still no coal-fired power station capturing carbon pollution and storing it underground," Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

"Capturing carbon dioxide and burying it in the ground does not work - despite the massive support it has received over the years.

"This is taxpayer money going directly to big mining companies with little or no benefit for the environment or local communities."

Scrapping these CCS schemes would save:
*         Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute - $45 million
*         Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships Program - $723 million

"If the Gillard Government had the courage to stand up to the big mining companies and abolish counter-productive fossil fuel subsidies it would have more money to invest in our universities, now suffering under Labor's cuts to higher education," Senator Milne said.

"At the same time as coal companies are benefiting from three quarters of a billion dollars of public money for their PR strategies, the Gillard Government is cutting single parent payments and university funding and schools are still waiting for adequate funding.

"Labor should scrap these CCS subsidies immediately and invest in technologies that actually work to drive down emissions, like better support for the renewable energy industry which is clean, drives jobs and innovation, and is rapidly becoming the cheapest electricity option.
"If the coal industry wants to develop CCS, it should pay for the research itself - the Gillard Government has done enough. It's time for the coal industry to step up and back its rhetoric with real money.

"In this critical decade of global warming, we need to stop investing in fossil fuel technologies and start driving the transition to a 100% renewable clean energy future.

"The Greens are the only party that can be trusted to stand up against the big mining companies to protect the environment."

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Public Leads Way on Rooftop Solar - Then Gets Blamed for Using it!

6th May 2013

Greens WA spokesperson on Energy issues Robin Chapple MLC today repeated his criticism of the Government over its ongoing unnecessary investment in fossil fuel generators.

"Treasury reports that Western Power is $94m out of pocket due largely to the amazing rate of solar rooftop power installation by WA households.

"All electricity users will wind up chipping in to compensate Western Power - what a sick joke!

"Instead of continually forking out millions on their outdated fossil fuel plants, the government should have been well advanced down the road to the renewable energy future.

"The public know where the future of electricity generation lies - survey after survey records their overwhelming preference for renewable energy sources - with their accompanying reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

"Only the Greens, with our Energy 2029 plan for sensible, sustainable measures to make the switch to renewable energy, share this vision.

"This Government consistently panders to the fossil fuel industries, while barely bothering to look at renewable energy options and new technologies.

Energy 2029 plan: http://www.greenswa.net.au/energy2029

7.30 report on Egypt scandal – Livestock exporter council move to protect their business

Media Release – 6 May 2013

In the lead up to ABC’s 7.30 report on live export cruelty tonight, the Australian Greens have underlined the failures of the ESCAS system to reduce animal cruelty and responded to the Australian Livestock Exporters' Council’s statement on the Egyptian scandal.

Greens animal welfare spokesperson Sen Lee Rhiannon can comment post ABC 7.30. She has:

·         an end live export bill<http://lee-rhiannon.greensmps.org.au/banliveexportbill> currently being debated in the Senate

·         issued a report<http://lee-rhiannon.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/greens-release-live-exports-position-paper-building-domestic-meat-processing> on the five steps need to build the domestic processing industry and transition from live exports

·         repeatedly called for Labor’s establishment of the overdue Office of Animal Welfare<http://lee-rhiannon.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/time-act-office-animal-welfare>.

“The Australian Livestock Exporters' Council is clutching at straws if it hopes the failed ESCAS system will end the animal welfare abuses witnessed in Egypt,” Senator Rhiannon said.

We will block Coalition attacks on workplace rights: Bandt

6 May 2013

The Australian Greens will use its numbers in Parliament  to block any attempt by an Abbott government to remove workplace rights, Greens Deputy Leader and workplace relations spokesperson Adam Bandt MP said today.

Coalition spokesperson Senator Eric Abetz told a conference of the Australian Industry Group today that the Coalition would engage in a crackdown on unions, including restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission, and make changes to laws on individual agreements.

“The Greens will use our numbers in Parliament to resist any attempt to attack Australians’ rights at work,” Mr Bandt said today.

“The Greens will oppose Coalition attempts to trash the rule of law and the right to silence by reinstating the Australian Building and Construction Commission. A person should not have less rights than an accused criminal simply because they work in the building industry.

“The Greens also believe that collective agreements should be stuck to once they’re made. An employer shouldn’t be able to undercut wages and conditions by making a collective agreement and then later ‘contracting out’ of their obligations through lesser deals with individual workers.”

“The Greens stick to our principles and in the next Parliament, we will be the best protection against an Abbott assault on people’s rights at work.”

“We are yet to see the Coalition’s full policy, but Eric Abetz have given us a taste and it doesn’t taste good. Labor now needs to guarantee it would vote with the Greens to block these moves in Parliament if we are faced with an Abbott government after September 14.”

Mr Bandt will outline the Greens’ approach to workplace relations in a speech to the Australian Industry Group conference in Canberra tomorrow morning.

Plan would reopen the floodgates to politics for sale in NSW

Media release: 6 May 2013

Allowing political donations to be made by employees and board members of real estate development corporations  and tobacco, gambling and alcohol companies would take NSW back to the bad old days of polices determined by cash gifts, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

('Come in, donor: Libs push to let developers back', Sydney Morning Herald, 6 May, http://j.mp/10cFA3v)

Dr Kaye said: "This would create the worst kind of back door donations. It would be even more difficult to trace where the money comes from and what favours it is buying.

"Once again government policies and decisions would be purchased by industries that have a track record of getting outcomes that suit them by pumping  big donations into the coffers of political parties.

"NSW would be taken back to the worst excesses of the previous Labor government.

"Even if the existing limits on individual donations survive, a big developer, ClubsNSW or a tobacco corporation could effectively deliver a $150,000 donation using 30 employees, board members or other close associates.

"Planning laws and gambling and tobacco control would be sacrificed to keep the cash flowing from the industries that would stand to make massive profits.

"Changing the limits on individual donations would further empower the wealthy and corporations while leaving working people and the average citizen shut out of political decision making.

"Premier Barry O'Farrell must come out and unequivocally reject these changes or every decision his government makes will be tainted by the potential donations it might bring to the Coalition.

"The proposed changes to the donations laws have significant and worrying implications for the O'Farrell government's draft planning laws and the changes to poker machine taxes.

"It looks a lot like policies are being put in place to make the Coalition even more attractive to developers, registered clubs and the alcohol industry.

"The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matter that authored the draft report is dominated by Coalition members and is entirely a puppet of the O'Farrell government.

"When the final document is released this week, we will know if the Premier intends to wind back ten years of hard won progress away from the corrupting influence of political donations," Dr Kaye said.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Greens welcome Tourism Inquiry

Jan Barham MP
Fri, 3 May 2013

A parliamentary inquiry into the value and impacts of tourism for local across NSW is welcome and long overdue, says Jan Barham, Greens MP and spokesperson on Tourism.

"I have long believed that a thorough tourism inquiry is necessary to develop a clear understanding about the benefits and impacts of tourism across the state. This Parliamentary inquiry will provide communities, councils and businesses with the opportunity to present their views and ideas about how to ensure a sustainable and successful future for tourism in NSW," Ms Barham said.

"Many regional communities look to tourism as an economic and employment opportunity, but sometimes aren't aware of the investment in infrastructure and the potential impact on residents, such as holiday letting and van camping in residential areas."

The inquiry, to be conducted by a standing committee of the NSW Upper House, was approved on Thursday and its terms of reference include investigating and reporting on:

(a)     the value of tourism to New South Wales communities and the return on investment of government grants and funds,
(b)     the value of tourism to regional, rural and coastal communities,
(c)     the impacts of tourism on Local Government Areas, including:
        (i)     infrastructure services provision and asset management,
        (ii)    social impacts,
        (iii)   unregulated tourism, and
        (iv)    employment opportunities,
(d)     the marketing and regulation of tourism, and
(e)     the utilisation of special rate variations to support local tourism initiatives.


148 page Defence White Paper - four paragraphs on the greatest security threat of the century

There will be security challenges presented by climate change.

Australian Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence – Senator Scott Ludlam. 3 May 2013.

The Government continues to downplay the security significance of climate change while wasting time and money pursuing the dud Joint Strike Fighter, the Greens warned today after the release of the Defence White Paper.

“The security challenges presented by climate change will be particularly acute for Australia.  Projected climate-induced migration patterns, the concentrated locale of extreme weather events, and hot spots for resource conflicts make this<http://www.careclimatechange.org/files/reports/CARE_Human_Implications.pdf> abundantly clear, yet the White Paper dedicates only four paragraphs out of 148 pages to the issue of climate security,” said Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence, Senator Scott Ludlam.

“This White Paper represents an outbreak of bipartisan denial.  While providing a perfunctory acknowledgement that climate is a security issue, there is no indication whatsoever that any procurement decisions have been informed by this recognition of the obvious.  The irrational focus on the Joint Strike Fighter is an example of flawed procurement decisions flowing from misunderstanding of the changing security environment.”

Senator Ludlam’s submission<http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/committee/submission-2013-defence-white-paper> to the White Paper process documents how other governments are addressing the security implications of climate change while Australia seems set on proceeding with business is as usual.

“The Government must also come clean on the ongoing Australian military presence in Afghanistan.  It is intimated that Australian special forces will continue to operate in Afghanistan but there has been no indication of the scale or duration of those operations – will Australia have a permanent presence?

“It’s a relief that this Paper at least attempts to erase the diplomatic blunders of the 2009 Paper with regard to China, but the fact remains we will have at least 2500 US marines based in Darwin as an ongoing signal to Beijing.

“We welcome the news the Government has ruled out nuclear powered submarines.”

Figures show need for urgent action to help jobseekers into work

3 May 2013

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson for families and community services said today the Government needs to take urgent action to improve the level of support provided for people looking for work.

"Figures being reported today underscore the concerns I have about the number of people who may be cycling in and out of work," Senator Siewert said today.

"These figures, obtained through questions I asked in Senate Estimates, show that large numbers of people are ending up back on Newstart after job placements.

"Where does this fit with the Governments claims that Newstart is effective for helping people into work?

"I am concerned that this system churns people through short term job placements. This may make numbers look good, but means people are sill having to survive long term on low Newstart payments.

"Short term, cyclical and insecure work does not provide people with the opportunity to build savings and financial security, the very same things they are unable to do on Newstart.

"This makes it significantly harder to escape from the resulting poverty trap.

“During the Inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart, the Department admitted that they had at that time a poor understanding of people cycling through the system. I was very surprised by this, given the importance of this issue for unemployed people.

“Addressing this is a fundamental part of helping people on Newstart and the Government needs to take strong, effective action when the current review of employment services is complete.

Sunday, 5 May 2013


Senator Larissa Waters
Senator Larissa Waters
Greens Senator for Queensland
Saturday, May 4, 2013

UNESCO's confirmation overnight that it will consider listing the Great Barrier Reef on the World Heritage list of sites in danger, puts the Newman and Gillard governments on notice to stop letting mining companies destroy the Great Barrier Reef, say the Australian Greens.

"The World Heritage Committee has officially expressed concern over the lack of progress made by the Newman and Gillard governments in following its recommendations on the reef's management," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

"Since the World Heritage Committee gave its initial warning more than a year ago, the Newman and Gillard governments have continued to fast-track mega industrial ports alongside the reef.

"That means dredging up seabed and dumping it in the reef so that thousands of coal ships can cross the reef every year.
"Feeding grounds for turtles and dugongs are too precious to be used as a dumping ground by mining magnates

"The Greens are the only party that is standing up for the Great Barrier Reef.

"I currently have a bill under Senate inquiry to adopt the World Heritage Committee's recommendations, including placing a moratorium on all further developments until the joint government strategic assessment is finished in 2015 and allowing no new ports in pristine areas.

"Protecting the Great Barrier Reef must be beyond politics and all parties should support my bill," Senator Waters said.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Forest industry assistance package exposes hollow intergovernmental deal


Thursday 2 May

"The signing of the new Intergovernmental Agreement on Forestry and the accompanying funding package reveals that what started out as a process to exit native forest logging in Tasmania has ended with yet another massive federal government assistance package to prop up the industry," Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said today.

"Conservation outcomes come a poor second, are not guaranteed and secured only $25 million in total over a period of years whilst industry assistance secured $119.4 million upfront in addition to the $87.4 million paid since the process started.

"$29.4 million is to be spent on roading, harvesting and residue movement which means further subsidising log trucks around the state and woodchips to the port.

"$13 million is to be spent on 'residue solutions' or disposing of woodchips which opens the prospect of further woodchip export subsidies and of forest furnaces to log and burn native forests for electricity.

"The Greens are totally opposed to logging native forests to feed forest furnaces and excluded such electricity from the Renewable Energy Target because of adverse impacts on the climate and biodiversity.

"It is sobering to see that some millions are allocated to communications to sell the Gillard- Giddings Forest Industry package whilst conservationists prepared to communicate with the community and for the forests are to be 'silenced' for not being part of the 'mainstream consensus'".

Greens look forward to NDIS debate, but people need to know where Mr Abbott stands

2 May 2013

The Australian Greens welcome the Prime Minister's announcement that NDIS legislation will come before parliament in the next session and look forward to beginning negotiations as soon as possible,"  Australian Greens disabilities spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"The government has always had the numbers for this legislation but has spent the past few days playing political games. They should now get on with negotiating an outcome," Senator Siewert said.

"The Greens are open to discussing all measures to fund this scheme.

"Given that the Prime Minister is currently asking all Australians to share the cost of this scheme, the flawed mining tax and unnecessary concessions to some of Australia's richest companies should also be on the table.

"If we got rid of the flaws in the mining tax we could raise $26 billion. If we got rid of fossil fuel subsidies to the big miners, we could raise $13 billion. The ALP cannot overlook these opportunities.

"The Coalition has put a big caveat on its support for a Medicare levy increase, describing it as a 'temporary increase' that can be removed later. The Australian people need to know exactly where Mr Abbott stands.

"An NDIS is important for meeting the care and support needs of Australians living with a disability and MPs need to effectively deliver it," Senator Siewert said.

Households pay the price of electricity competition and privatisation

John Kaye MP

Media release: 2 May 2013

The opportunity to ease the pressure on household power bills has been sacrificed  to fatten up the profits of the privatised electricity retailers and prop up the competitive market, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

'Sneaking an extra charge on power bill', Daily Telegraph, 2 May, page 2, http://j.mp/10WbkkJ

IPART's fact sheet on the draft determination that is to commence in July 2013 is available at http://j.mp/IPART130502
Dr Kaye said "NSW households could have been experiencing real relief on their power bills.

Purge of state-owned corporation boards will damage morale and expertise

John Kaye MP
Media release: 2 May 2013

The O'Farrell government is pursuing an ideological war against unions and public sector workers that will rob the boards of state-owned corporations of expertise and employees of a voice in the strategic direction of their enterprises, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye

Dr Kaye said: "Treasurer Mike Baird is purging the boards of state-owned corporations of union-nominated and staff-elected members.

"Public sector employees will be denied a right to have a say in the strategic direction of their workplace. This is a sure-fire way to disengage public sector workers and set them against management.

"Staff representatives bring a specific expertise to these boards that Mike Baird wants to eradicate.

"The perspective of both unions and staff will become a victim of the Coalition's war on public sector workers and their representative organisations, despite the valuable contribution they have made.

"Employee morale and the quality of the decision will be damaged.

"The Greens call on the Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers Party to join with us in rejecting this destructive move," Dr Kaye said.

Could you eat on $2 a day? Lee Rhiannon will, for five days.

Senator Lee Rhiannon
For five days from Monday I'll be eating on $2 a day - the equivalent of the extreme poverty line. It's part of a campaign called Live Below the Line. From May 6-10 Ill gain a window into the day-to-day lives of people who are doing it tough.

You can read about why I have taken the challenge, what I will eat and what I will do in my LBTL week in my just published op ed on Fairfax’s Daily Life http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/can-you-live-on-2-a-day-in-australia-20130502-2ivox.html

I hope you will consider supporting me and donate to my campaign? All you have to do is head to my public profile at: www.livebelowtheline.com.au/me/leerhiannon and click on Donate to me. You can choose to make your donation tax-deductible.

Your generous support will help provide schools, teacher training, books and bicycles for young people living in extreme poverty. This year the campaign is aiming to raise $2.5 million, which will help send 4,600 children to school.

Thanks for your support,

PS - If you're really up for a challenge, why not Live Below the Line with me? Head to: www.livebelowtheline.com.au and we can start a team.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Community and The Australian Greens will not be “silenced” Prime Minister

Senator Christine Milne
Wednesday 1 May 2013

In Tasmania today the Prime Minister called for conservationists to be silenced in the follow up to the Tasmanian Parliament vote to support the gutted Tasmanian forest deal.

“One of my fundamental objections to what the Tasmanian Upper House had done was that they had moved to silence the community by making the permanent reservation of forests contingent upon reports from an unelected special council on the behaviour of conservationists in protest action or in the market place,” Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

“My fears of a crackdown on democratic freedoms have been realised within 24 hours. I call on the Prime Minister to withdraw her attack on those who have the courage to not be part of the mainstream consensus.

“On day one, the Prime Minister of Australia has thrown her weight behind an assault on a fundamental democratic freedom, namely, freedom of speech and non-violent protest by saying:

“The obligation is on the signatories that first came together, the parties that started this process, to do everything they can to use their abilities to silence those who haven’t gone with the mainstream consensus.”

“It is wrong to threaten the community that if they speak out about what is happening in our forests, or if FSC certification is not given to Forestry Tasmania, then the magnificent forest areas under a logging moratorium will not be reserved.

“I will stand with conservationists and the community and will never be silenced, Prime Minister.”

Gloucester coal renewals a mistake

1 May 2013

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today said the O'Farrell Government was following the mistakes of the disgraced former Labor Government by renewing two large coal exploration licences over the Gloucester Valley.  Renewal of the licences 6523 and 6563 appeared in the latest Government Gazette.

"Disgraced former mining minister, Ian Macdonald,  granted these coal exploration licences in 2006.  They are in areas where coal mining should not occur and areas that should be preserved for agriculture, tourism and residences," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"By renewing these exploration licences, the O'Farrell Government is repeating the mistakes of the former Labor Government.

"The government should have refused to renew these licences and should also act to halt AGL's plans to pockmark the Gloucester Valley with coal seam gas wells.

"Prior to the last election the Liberal and Nationals promised to solve the conflict between agriculture and mining.  Their Strategic Regional Land Use policy is an utter failure and leaves areas like the Gloucester Valley vulnerable to destruction by companies only interested in mining coal for export.

"With multiple coal and coal seam gas projects proposed for the Gloucester Valley, the future of the Valley hangs in the balance.

"The Greens want the beautiful Vale of Gloucester to have a sustainable future based on agriculture, tourism and other non-destructive industries.  Sacrificing the long-term future of the Valley to mining and gas for a couple of decade's profit, is short-sighted," he said.

Fossils Finally Floored - Renewables can Power Australia!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Robin Chapple MLC, Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region and Greens WA spokesperson on Climate Change and Energy, today welcomed the findings of the Australian Energy Market Operator's (AEMO) report into the feasibility of 100% renewable sources powering the major eastern states electricity grid.

"AEMO membership includes all the major eastern states power generators, who are not Greens fellow-travelers, which lends even more credibility to their findings", Mr Chapple observed.

"The report confirms that 100% of the National Electricity Market (NEM) - the major south-eastern grid - can be satisfied using renewable inputs, while still meeting NEM's stringent reliability requirements.

"They are following the trail blazed by the WA Greens, who demonstrated earlier this year how WA's major electricity grid - the South West Interconnected System - could be powered by renewables, in our Energy 2029 report.

"Now, with the inclusion of NEM, it is obvious that practically the entire Australian electricity market can be supplied using renewable inputs.

"Only the massive inertia of the huge subsidies which keep the fossil fuelled clunkers burning - and the blinkered outlook of the dinosaurs in government, both here and in the east - is holding WA, and indeed the nation, back from a clean, greenhouse gas-free future", said Mr Chapple.

"The Greens are the only party standing fully in support of the clearly-expressed demands of the WA people for phasing out fossil fuels in favour of renewables", Mr Chapple concluded.

Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam warned that "the vital national Clean Energy Finance Corporation will be abolished if the Coalition wins control of the Senate at the Federal Election".

"While neither major party seems to understand the urgent need to embrace 100 per cent renewable energy, the Coalition actively undermines it at every opportunity. Tony Abbott is even actively undermining the Renewable Energy Target by refusing to assure investors that he will maintain the existing target for 2020. The technology exists to deliver all of Australia's energy needs through renewable energy - what is missing is the political will."

Energy 2029 plan: http://www.greenswa.net.au/energy2029

AEMO report: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/government/initiatives/aemo-100-per-cent-renewables.aspx

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Antimony and arsenic threat to the waters of the Clarence River catchment.

The Urunga site
We cannot ever afford to be complacent about the effects of antimony mining (arsenic is a waste product). Here is a report about the effects of the processing of antimony ore at Urunga. The clean up of the Urunga site is yet to happen.

If the Wild Cattle Creek Mine (near Dorrigo) is reopened the future quality of the water in the Clarence River system and the Coffs Coast water supply will be in doubt.

The Hillgrove Mine and other historical mining in the catchment of the Macleay River has already necessitated the installation of a very costly water purification plant for Bellbrook. Those living above Bellbrook are advised not to constantly drink the water.

Excerpt: Sample information seen by this newspaper of water taken from Station Creek identified “antimony levels above the drinking water quality guideline on all occasions” and “arsenic levels sitting above the recreational guidelines issued between February and April 2003”, following heavy rain. 
Official water monitoring results concluded there was a minimal impact from the disused crushing plant at the Sea Lido, “with water quality suitable for swimming”.
(They can be viewed at http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/beach/bppsob/bpp0203_2bellingen.pdf)
The spokesman for Mr McClymont declined to say whether there was any danger posed to public health.

From Bellingen Shire Courier Sun

Media bias and beat ups: Choosing the gender

Watch lead Senate candidate Cate Faehrmann defend a woman's right to choose while schooling the ABC on media bias and beat ups.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Introducing our next Greens MP: Mehreen Faruqi

Dr Mehreen Faruqi

We're very excited to announce that environmental engineer and academic, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has been preselected to replace sitting Greens MLC, Cate Faehrmann, when she resigns her seat to contest the Senate later this year.

Mehreen was preselected by a postal ballot of all members of the NSW Greens, in a field of seven all-women candidates.

Mehreen is an Associate Professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management, University of NSW. She worked as a consultant in Pakistan before migrating to Sydney with her family.

She has more than 20 years of experience as a Civil / Environmental engineer and a sustainability expert working in both regional and metropolitan NSW.

She has managed local government Departments of Natural Resources and Environment on NSW’s mid-north coast and in Sydney. She is a former Chair of the Orica Botany Community Participation Committee and a published author. She is a long term member of the party and is currently the Convenor of The Greens NSW Women’s Group.

A message from Mehreen:

"I’m incredibly humbled by the support Greens members across NSW have given me, in selecting me to become their next Greens MP.

“I’m proud of our grassroots democratic process and the fact that all members have the right to have a say in who represents them in our parliaments.

“I’m looking forward to working hard for the people of NSW and continuing Cate’s excellent work in protecting our national parks, fighting for gender equality and equal marriage, campaigning for public transport, taking The Greens message to Western Sydney and growing the campaign against coal seam gas mining.

“As the first Greens MP in NSW from a migrant background, I’m also excited about building stronger relationships between The Greens and migrant communities,"

A message from Cate:

"Mehreen is a very exciting addition to the Greens team in the NSW parliament. Her extensive experience in environmental and sustainability work means Mehreen will be a powerful voice on some of the key issues facing the people of NSW.

Congratulations to Mehreen and we're looking forward to having you in Parliament representing The Greens from July.

You can stay up to date with Mehreen's work by liking her Facebook page.

To get involved in the federal election campaign please click here.
The Greens NSW

19 Eve Street
Erskineville, NSW 2043
Authorised by James Ryan.


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