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

Friday, 29 March 2013

Barry O’Farrell’s mid-term report card:

As the O’Farrell government enters the second half of its term, the Greens NSW MPs have put together a report card on the O’Farrell government’s worst failures and the Greens top achievements for a more sustainable and caring NSW.      

  The O’Farrell government’s mid-term mark failures: 
  • Launched attacks on wages and conditions of teachers, nurses and other public sector workers, and drastic cuts to our workers compensation laws
  • Overturned the 26-year ban on uranium exploration in NSW, prompting widespread community concern and condemnation
  • Savaged schools and TAFE stripping a staggering $1.6 billion of funding from public education
  • Opened up national parks to recreational hunters for the sake of a political deal with the extreme Shooters Party to enable electricity privatisation.  
  • Broke an election promise to oppose mining in drinking water catchments with approval of massive coal mine in the Sydney catchment
  • Gave tunnel vision priority to more tollways with $1.8 billion committed to the WestConnex without traffic modelling or cost-benefit analysis.
  •  Launched a “dob-in a rorter” program that demonised public housing tenants, while they failed to clear the maintenance backlog and left tens of thousands on social housing waiting lists.
  • Watered down coal seam gas policy, failing to protect our farming lands and water with a weak strategic land use policy
  • Proposed child protection reforms that focus on punitive approaches to parents in at-risk families and prioritising adoption under short timeframes.
  • Eroded civil liberties and failed to deal with police accountability - from the expansion of the sniffer dogs program, the removal of the right to silence and the failure to ensure that police do not investigate police.
  • Squandered opportunity to transition to low carbon clean energy economy throwing $11 billion of wind industry investment into doubt with unrealistic and unreasonable wind farm guidelines.
  • Trashed marine science with the closure of The Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre of Excellence and continuing the deal with the Shooters Party for a moratorium on new marine parks.
  • Replaced one pro-developer planning system with another, failing to put planning decisions back in the hands of local communities.
Greens achievements:
  • After years of strong campaigning with the community, the Greens efforts to stop the corrupting flow of political donations from corporations were rewarded with sweeping changes to the electoral donation laws which limited donations to those on the electoral role and placed a cap on electoral communication expenditure.
  • Following the disgraceful parade of Labor figureheads before the Independent Commission Against Corruption, in 2012 John Kaye proposed changes to the requirements on members of the NSW parliament to disclose their incomes and assets. All Greens members have adopted the disclosure reforms as a measure of their commitment to transparent and democratic political process.
  • Cate Faehrmann’s motion calling on the Commonwealth to enact marriage equality laws successfully passed the NSW Legislative Council. MPs from all sides voted in favour of ending discrimination, putting to shame the recalcitrance of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott
  • Member for Balmain Jamie Parker launched the Inner West light rail plan, which will build on the huge success of the existing light rail extension and further expand light rail within the CBD, along Parramatta Road and to the Balmain Peninsula.
  • At the request of survivors of sexual abuse and their supporters, David Shoebridge was a key part of the campaign which led to a Special Commission of Inquiry into Catholic Church sexual abuse in the Hunter region and the Federal Royal Commission into sexual abuse in religious organisations.
  • NSW Legislative Council supported Jan Barham’s move for foster kids leaving care plans, a basic requirement for those who have been in the care of the state.
  • Established Australia’s first comprehensive inquiry into coal seam gas, after helping to kick start NSW’s largest grassroots environment campaign in a decade. After exposing the St Peter’s urban coal seam gas approval, the Greens helped city and country unite to oppose destructive gas mining.  
  • Kick started pollution law reform in NSW, with Cate Faehrmann’s work with the community to expose the extent of the Port Botany pollution legacy and an amendment for immediate notification of pollution incidents taken up by the government after the Koorangang Island fiasco.
  • Jeremy Buckingham used parliament to expose the secret Nimmie - Caira water buy back, the largest in Australian history.
  • Jan Barham’s move for a NSW Forced Adoption Apology was taken up by the government and successful with cross party support.
  • John Kaye’s Truth in Labelling (Free-range Eggs) bill successfully passed the NSW Upper House after a strong community campaign calling for a stop to the misuse of the label. The bill is currently awaiting debate in the Lower House.
  • Jan Barham successfully moved a motion calling for more action to reduce homelessness, with support for local solutions to this blight on our wealthy society.
  • Working with community groups, David Shoebridge drove a successful campaign against a proposal for children as young as twelve to hunt unsupervised on public land in NSW, with the government eventually backing down and scrapping the plan.

Meanwhile in the Senate:
Senator Lee Rhiannon

Lee Rhiannon profile picture

Strikes and student action spotlight university funding shortfall

I spoke at a picket line at Sydney University protesting management’s attempt to drive down conditions - Media Release  and to students rallying at UTS at a National Day of Action demanding no more course cuts or fee hikes. The new Higher Education Minister Craig Emerson should make his mark and increase base funding for universities - Media Release.


More of the same: Labor’s grubby politics continues under Coalition

Greens MP and Party Room Convenor Cate Faehrmann says the report card is a clear indication of the benefits of a strong Greens voice in the NSW Parliament when the two old parties continue to morph into one.

“The O’Farrell government’s term has been marred by the same kind of political deals that destroyed trust in Labor’s brand,” said Ms Faehrmann.

“When Barry O’Farrell commenced his term in office by doing deals with the extreme right-wing micro parties in the NSW Upper House, he broke a key promise that he would not do deals that aren’t in the interests of the people of NSW.

“Since then the Premier has given the thumbs up to savage cuts which are wreaking havoc on people’s lives and the environment, not to mention our international reputation.

“Despite the political deals being done by the O’Farrell government to the detriment of the people of NSW, the Greens have continued to stand up for the community and the environment. Our achievements reflect this,” said Ms Faehrmann.

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