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.
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.
The anti-gay marriage advertisement by Katter’s Australian Party again shows how out of touch the party is toward the views of ordinary Queenslanders, the Australian Greens said today.
“The party’s latest ad is an insult to modern Queenslanders and shows how out of touch it is,” Greens’ marriage equality spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today in Ashgrove.
“It does not represent the views of Queenslanders toward gay and lesbian couples. This is why Queenslanders should be voting Green because most Queenslanders, like the rest of Australia, support marriage equality for same-sex couples.”
Sen. Hanson-Young is in Brisbane today supporting Greens lead candidate Adam Stone to stop the LNP’s opposition to civil union laws.
“Queensland’s parliament has already said to same-sex couples ‘you are equal to heterosexual couples’,” Sen. Hanson-Young said.
“I’m working hard in the federal parliament so that this year Australia’s government amends the Marriage Act and spreads that message of equal love to all same-sex couples across Australia.”
“I call for the ad by Katter’s Australian Party to be withdrawn,” Greens lead candidate and candidate for Mt Coot-tha, Adam Stone, said.
“Our parliaments are meant to increase the rights of marginalised peoples, not diminish them. I’m standing up for Mt Coot-tha against the likes of Katter’s party. I’ll also defend the electorate against the LNP’s plans to repeal civil unions as part of the campaign for full marriage equality for same-sex couples.”
Cartoon by Nicholson from “The Australian” newspaper
Australian Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam today launched a campaign urging the Government to strengthen media cross ownership laws and protect diversity in the Australian mass media.
Senator Ludlam said the recent Fairfax raid by mining billionaire Gina Rinehart was just an example of the ongoing concentration of media ownership in Australia.
“This is not about Mrs Rinehart’s personal world view. It’s about the mass media in Australia being run by a tiny handful of people which is getting smaller and smaller.”
“Eleven of Australia’s twelve capital city daily papers are owned by either Fairfax or Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd. The remaining newspaper is effectively controlled by the owner of Channel Seven. It stands to reason that the concentration of media ownership in this country has gone far enough.”
“Disturbingly, Australia is already ranked 30th in the world for press freedom. By comparison, Canada is 10th and New Zealand is 13th.” (Reporters Without Borders – Press Freedom Index 2011/2012)
Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart has bought almost 14% of Fairfax Media, adding to her 10% stake in Channel Ten. The reach of Fairfax extends beyond the city mastheads the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age into regional towns right across Australia.
“The weakening of Australia’s media ownership laws by the Howard Government has had a negative impact on the integrity of public debate in Australia, a situation that will worsen if further concentration of ownership is permitted.”
“With the support of the Australian Greens, the Government can take the urgent action required to protect diversity in media ownership in Australia. We have asked the Australian people to write to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy through our website – http://www.greensmps.org.au/media-ownership – to urge him to take action before it is too late.”
The Greens candidate for Noosa, Dr Jim McDonald welcomed the announcement for an election date by Premier Anna Bligh, this morning.
Dr McDonald said that the LNP and Labor leaders had descended to a schoolyard level of debate on the election date.
“I have no doubt that the decision will be controversial concerning the decision to push back the Council elections, but people have been confused between coverage of State and local government elections.
“The Greens policy supports fixed terms and the adoption of that principle will take away the demeaning argy bargy that we have seen this week between Campbell Newman and Anna Bligh.
“However, the biggest problem we face in Queensland is that no party once in government seriously commits to any long term action planning.
“People often say to me that The Greens can never win government so it is a wasted vote. But voting for The Greens is a vote for the future. We must leave behind the dysfunctional ratbaggery that has characterised the Queensland Parliament and deal with long term issues beyond the three-year electoral cycle instead of short-term, populist programs.
“If I am elected to the Parliament for Noosa I can focus my contribution in representing Noosa on the solutions requiring long-term strategy and action, such as a commitment to the infrastructure planning and programs necessary to prepare for the effects of climate change in the region and economic prosperity for Noosa in the post-carbon economy.
“This is not something you ever hear from Mr Elmes or the Young Labor candidate from Brisbane.
“Because I am not constrained by the vested interests that support Labor and the LNP, my focus will be on the benefits for the whole of the electorate and the region rather than select groups and the coal and gas industries.”
Dr McDonald said, “The Noosa and Hinterland Greens Branch are organised and ready for the long campaign.”
Greens Candidate Noosa
Media Release, 25 January 2012
Jim McDonald, the Noosa Greens Candidate for Noosa writes to the Noosa News about de-amalgamation:
I’d like to thank Bob Ansett for pointing out what the LNP’s website says about Noosa’s de-amalgamation because what the LNP spokesperson for Local Government, Gympie MP, David Gibson, says and doesn’t say on that website is quite different from the LNP’s actual policy.
As The Greens candidate for Noosa, I have called for a referendum to establish the ratepayers’ wishes as the primary step in giving the Noosa community the local government it really wants. This is a community-focussed process of decision-making and the role of the Government will be then to facilitate – through community consultation – any changes resulting from the community’s response.
The LNP proposal is for “an advisory poll of voters in any proposed new Local Government boundary” after a Queensland Boundaries Commissioner has prepared their “preferred options” for any changes after he or she has considered submissions from the community.
These are important differences that need to be understood by all the groups involved. The LNP offers the Noosa community an “advisory” role in a poll. The policy does not indicate what kind of poll that might be. The Greens have called for a local referendum – let the community decide on deamalgamation not some appointed Commissioner fiddling with boundaries, “advised” by the community.
This “advisory poll” is something quite different from Mr Newman’s and Mr Gibson’s undertaking that “residents living within the proposed new council area will, by a simple majority, vote whether or not they wish to establish a new Noosa Shire Council”.
In designating a role for a Commissioner to make the decision on whether Noosa is to get the Council it wants, the LNP has developed a process that pushes the community to the side. LNP policy also will load the cost of a new Noosa Council on the residents: “ratepayers of any proposed new local authority would bear the full costs of any de-amalgamation.”
The Greens position is that if the community decides on separation the cost should be borne by the Government since it was the Queensland Government that forced amalgamation on us in the first place.
The Commissioner’s process of decision-making looks very like a “Yes Minister” scenario. I say that because the LNP policy includes the critical statement of principle: “The LNP has made it clear that its preference is for Queensland’s Councils to remain as currently constituted to avoid any further disruption and cost for local communities.” With that statement goes any confidence that accommodating the electorate’s interests is anything more than a sop to the community’s wishes.
As a Noosa resident who favours de-amalgamation, I’m rather disappointed that Friends of Noosa and the Alliance find the LNP position so attractive since any close examination of the LNP policy shows that Campbell Newman and David Gibson have made an offer that is designed to fail the wishes of the Noosa community, and the LNP cannot be trusted to carry out their wishes.
Jim McDonald Greens Candidate Noosa
13 January 2012
Greens Senator Larissa Waters recently addressed the Senate calling for a moratorium on CSG until decisions can be made based upon the science relating to effects on the water table and the Great Artesian Basin. She also drew attention to the inconsistencies between Warren Truss’s failure to support the Nationals’ rural constituency on mining and CSG and the Nationals’ recent declaration on mining and CSG:
Jim McDonald Greens Spokesperson Wide Bay electorate
There is no doubt about the immorality of CSG extraction and coalmining on productive land and in people’s homes, but the laws are not geared towards what is best for Australia’s food security, nor what is best for the aquifers and the Great Artesian Basin, nor for the atmosphere as methane leaks, nor for the destruction of family lives and the peace of communities. On these grounds alone you have an absolute reasonable excuse.
The work you have done for the farmers and communities of the Darling Downs is sowing seeds across the country sustained by your’s and the farmers’ courage to stand up against multi-nationals and Australian companies out for a fast buck whatever the damage they do.
Drew, you should be proud of what you have achieved for all of us in bringing the pernicious industrialisation of our land and its resources to the public consciousness. I am!
At the last Federal election the Liberal National parties made a huge play on voters regarding the number of school buildings being built under the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program. They claimed there was massive rorting of the system.
On Thursday this week the Coalition failed in its bid to pass several motions against the Government to establish a judicial inquiry into this program.
Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne didn’t even turn up to vote on his own bill to force a judicial inquiry into the Government’s schools building program.
Where is the integrity of this man and his party?
I attended a David Helfgott concert recently in their new school hall built through the BER program at the Christian College and I didn’t hear anyone there complain of this great asset for the community.
St Patrick’s College have a new science wing as no doubt all other schools in our area have positively benefited from this scheme.
Builders and associated businesses were able to maintain workers at a time of global uncertainty. Our community wasn’t dragged down into an unemployment vortex that Mr Pyne and his coalition partners would have had us go through.
No doubt there will be those who say where ‘will the money come from’ to pay for this. Without having access to Treasury data I can’t respond, but one project alone the Chevron Gorgon Project in WA is projected to bring in $50billion to the Australian economy over the next 40 years. One would hope that this one project alone would assist balancing the books.
Are people cynical of politicians?
We have proposed coalmines on our doorstep, coal seam gas projects and potential devastation of some of Australia’s best farmlands.
Is Mr Truss and the coalition or Labor responding to these concerns within the electorate. No!
Kent Hutton, Letter to Editor, Gympie Times, 29 October 2010
"No world leader can ignore the planet's population burden. There were 3 billion people when Kevin Rudd was born. There are 6.8 billion now. There will be 9 billion by mid-century. This population boom is not economic wisdom, it is a recipe for planetary exhaustion and great human tragedy."
Bob Brown, September 2009
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