Posted by admin on May 22, 2013
Senator Christine Milne has announced the Australian Greens policy for no new coal seam gas and empowering land holders to say no to coal seam gas on their land.
“The Greens are the only party standing up to the big coal seam gas mining companies who are threatening our precious water, valuable farmland and global climate,” Greens Leader Senator Milne said.
“Coal seam gas is methane which is a potent greenhouse gas and is leaking from wells and pipes. Not only that, coal seam gas threatens our land and groundwater, which underpins our regional communities and national food security,” Senator Milne said.
Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens mining spokesperson, said the Greens were standing with the community on coal seam gas.
“I’ve was at the Beyond Coal and Gas summit in the Hunter Valley on the weekend where hundreds of people, young and old, from cities and rural areas, joined together in opposition to coal seam gas tearing apart their land, water, and climate.
“Only the Greens are working to give landholders the right to say no to coal seam gas on their land and moving to extend new water protections to shale and tight gas mining.
“Tony Abbott is a wolf in sheep’s clothing on coal seam gas – he’s telling rural communities they should be able to stop coal seam gas mining companies from coming on to their land but then doing nothing about it in Canberra,” Senator Waters said.
NSW MLC Cate Faehrmann said: “With the recent Planet Gas pull out, we’ve seen that communities can win against big mining companies when they stand together and the Greens will continue to be a strong voice for the community in parliament.
“New South Wales, like the rest of Australia, has an abundance of renewable energy alternatives which are the clean, green future,” Ms Faehrmann said.
Posted by admin on May 19, 2013
Tony Abbott’s double dissolution agenda and secret policy would be a disaster for the climate and the environment, according to Greens Deputy Leader, Adam Bandt MP and environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters.
Labor needs to give a clear commitment before the election that they won’t be spooked into caving in to the Abbott agenda because of the double dissolution threat, Mr Bandt said.
“This plan shows that Tony Abbott is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. His double dissolution plan shows he will stop at nothing to implement his disastrous plan for the environment,” Mr Bandt said.
“His budget reply was a vision for an uncaring Australia and here is more evidence of how he’ll hurt people and the environment.”
“He won’t even guarantee that electricity bills will fall after his secret plan is implemented, because he knows his plan won’t help the planet and it won’t help people.”
“This plan is all about rolling back action on global warming and gutting environment laws so that all the most important decisions are made by state premiers.”
“We’ll see more logging and shooting in national parks, more mining and development in precious areas, more communities trampled on.”
“This is the danger of Abbott in total control of Parliament. Having more Greens in Parliament is the only way to protect the environment, clean energy and the climate.”
“Any plan for the Great Barrier Reef that doesn’t stop the big mining companies from treating the reef as a dredging dumping ground and a shipping super highway will fall tragically short,” Senator Waters said.
“Tony Abbott’s Coalition is so wedded to the mining industry that we can expect his plan for the Great Barrier Reef will ignore the biggest threat – the reef’s industrialisation by the big mining companies.
Posted by admin on May 13, 2013
Greens Deputy Leader and banking spokesperson Adam Bandt says something must be done to rein in the big banks who are gouging credit card customers. Reports in Fairfax papers show that while the RBA has cut interest rates by 2% in the last two years, banks cut credit card interest by only 0.12 percent.
“The big banks are engaged in rampant profiteering,” Mr Bandt said.
“Over the last half a year the big four banks have made $13.4 billion in profits, while charging over $6 billion a year in credit card interest. When the Greens have suggested a public support levy on the big banks they have cried poor, but it is clear they are taking their customers and the taxpayer for a ride.”
“Over the next few days we will again no doubt hear a lot about Bruce Springsteen from the Treasurer. Yet when it comes to the banks’ credit card rort, the Treasurer turns off the iPod.”
“Like mortgages, the banks should be required to provide credit card products with interest rates that track the real cost in funding.”
Posted by admin on April 24, 2013
Average of NASA GISS, NOAA NCDC, and HadCRUT4 monthly global surface temperature anomalies from January 1970 through November 2012 (green) with linear trends applied to the timeframes Jan ’70 – Oct ’77, Apr ’77 – Dec ’86, Sep ’87 – Nov ’96, Jun ’97 – Dec ’02, and Nov ’02 – Nov ’12.
Read full article here
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The recently released Grattan Institute Report shows that if Australia is to avoid a national revenue crisis the Gillard Government must fix the mining tax immediately and stop handing over billions in fossil fuel subsidies to Australia’s biggest and wealthiest mining companies.
“Labor needs to come clean on why it won’t fix the mining tax and why it is handing over billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies to people like Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer when we are facing both ongoing deficits and a national revenue collapse,” Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.
“Closing the loopholes in the mining tax and scrapping $13.8 billion in fossil fuel subsidies would help fund important initiatives like the Gonski school funding reforms and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
“Clearly, Labor does not have the courage to take on the big mining companies, particularly in an election year.
“The Greens are the only party who have put costed revenue raising proposals on the table that would boost government coffers by tens of billions of dollars.
“The Grattan Institute supports what the Greens have been saying for a long time – that the accelerated depreciation rate for mining companies is sucking billions out of the budget that should be going to single parents, public schools and health care.
“Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott cannot afford to keep squandering the benefits of the resources boom while single parents are struggling to survive and our schools miss out.
“Just as the Greens have said, the report shows a race to a budget surplus is poor economic management and cutting government services is not the best way back to a balanced budget.
“The report also exposes the Coalition’s fiscally reckless economic management with Tony Abbott proposing to burn a $11 billion hole in the budget by 2020 with uncosted policies such as paid parental leave and Direct Action, while abolishing effective and important revenue raising measures such as the mining tax and carbon price.
“The Grattan Institute says that fixing the budget will require more tax, increased savings and some tough political choices.
“So my question to the Prime Minister and Tony Abbott is – do we keep giving billions of dollars in tax concessions to big mining companies or is it time to help Australians by funding better education, improved healthcare and lifting people out of poverty?
“Only the Greens can be trusted to stand up to the big mining companies and deliver revenue-raising measures that won’t hurt Australia’s most vulnerable.
“This report also shows that you need the Greens in the balance of power to stop Tony Abbott’s wrecking ball economics.”
Posted by admin on April 20, 2013
The Australian Greens argue that the new budget submission from ACOSS puts further pressure on the Government to increase support for jobseekers and single parents in next month’s Budget.
“The Government needs to listen to ACOSS and the individuals and organisations who are calling for an increase in Newstart,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on families and community services said today.
“People are falling further and further into poverty. The Government needs to provide a meaningful increase in Newstart in the May budget.
“Despite some Labor MPs finding their voice on this issue, the Government has continued its march towards the Coalition’s conservative policies in regards to our most vulnerable people. The May budget is the chance for them to take a new path, one which helps people find secure work, without putting them at risk of falling deeper into poverty.
“In the 12 months since my own week on Newstart, things have only become harder for people living more than $130 below the poverty line. Despite this, Newstart has continued to fall behind increases to the cost of living.
“The Greens are the only party taking the necessary steps in Parliament to help vulnerable people. My Private Member’s Bill increases Newstart by $50 per week and could be funded by fixing the mining tax.
“Everyone knows that Newstart needs increasing, but MPs from the older parties remain steadfast in their unwillingness to take meaningful action in Parliament. The May Budget is this Government’s big change chance to prove they genuinely care about vulnerable people,” Senator Siewert concluded.
Posted by admin on April 7, 2013
Greens Deputy Leader and workplace spokesperson Adam Bandt MP will move amendments to the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Bill 2013, currently before Parliament, to protect Sensis workers from off shoring. Mr Bandt joined a rally of Sensis workers in Melbourne who are fighting a decision by Telstra to cut up 700 workers from the directory business.
“Our national phone company shouldn’t send up to 700 jobs overseas just to make more profit,” Mr Bandt said.
“The law already requires Telstra to produce a phone directory for the benefit of the Australian public and the Greens’ amendment would require that work to be done locally.”
“As one of the major advertisers in the phone directories, the government should be using public money to protect local jobs.”
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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.”
Posted by admin on March 19, 2013
The Queensland Government’s decision to pursue uranium mining breaks a promise by Premier Newman and will yield “all risks and no rewards”, the Australian Greens have warned as a report on establishing the industry in the state was released.
Australian Greens nuclear policy spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said “uranium mining makes no economic sense and no environmental sense for Queensland”.
“It is extraordinary that Queensland’s Mines Minister Andrew Cripps today claimed uranium exports had the potential to earn Queensland ‘billions of dollars’ when at present Australian uranium exports make less than two billion a year. The uranium price has been in free fall since 2007, and with governments around the world shutting down nuclear power stations; 150 nuclear power stations in Europe alone are scheduled for closure with no plans to replace them.
Australian Greens Great Barrier Reef spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said the Queensland Government was threatening to destroy the reef with its uranium proposal.
“Minister Cripps has not ruled out the shipping of this radioactive cargo through the Great Barrier Reef. This is a radioactive accident waiting to happen, which would have disastrous consequences for our marine life, coral reefs and the multibillion dollar tourism industry that relies on the reef.
“Campbell Newman needs to decide whether he wants a World Heritage icon on Queensland’s doorstep or a highway for toxic uranium,” Senator Waters said.
Senator Ludlam said the effects of uranium mining were wide reaching.
“Uranium mining is bad for mine workers; bad for residents near mines and on uranium transport routes; bad for farmers; bad for groundwater, for soil and local species – and it provides fuel for a dangerous industry that is on the way out. Queensland deserves better.”
“Thirty years after the closure of the Mary Kathleen uranium mine west of Cloncurry, there is significant physical and chemical mobility of uranium and related elements, including transfer into vegetation. The rate of seepage from the tailings dump is much faster than predicted and radioisotopes are being mobilised in surface water seepage,” Senator Ludlam said.
Posted by admin on March 10, 2013
The restoration of local government for the communities of Noosa is a victory for democracy. So many men and women contributed their time, their energy and their resources to a hard-fought campaign that brought together people across the political spectrum. However this magnificent achievement remains at risk and vulnerable to the whim or ideology of future state government who may choose to ignore the will of the people as did Peter Beattie and the Queensland ALP (remember them?)
With a parliamentary inquiry report recommending a referendum to recognise local government in the constitution at the September election, Australian Greens local government spokesperson and committee member Senator Lee Rhiannon has called on the Gillard government to introduce required legislation soon after parliament resumes next week.
The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government report has recommended a referendum at the next election to recognise local councils in the constitution and allow the federal government to directly fund them.
“Two expert committees have now found in favour of a referendum. The Labor government must move quickly to pass legislation between March and July facilitating the referendum and allowing time to build strong community and cross party support,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“If the government drags the chain it will rob the campaign of time to educate the community about the importance of constitutional reform to allow the federal government to fund local councils.
“Two High Court cases have created uncertainty around federal grants to local councils.
“This referendum should receive active support from all political parties, state governments and local councils across the nation.
“Referendums are notoriously difficult to pass, with voters approving eight out of 44 proposals to alter the constitution, so it is important campaigning gets going as soon as possible.
“This report reveals a big appetite from local councils for reform and strong capacity to campaign. The Gillard government must lead the way in securing this important change.
“The Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 sets out the referendum process. This includes passing a bill setting out the proposed alteration to the Constitution, establishing ‘yes’ and ‘no’ committees of MPs to prepare a case supporting their position and the Government-General issuing writs,” Senator Rhiannon said.