Thursday, May 25, 2017

Greens welcome NAIDOC Week celebrations

Posted by admin on July 7, 2013

Yirrkala-Bark-Petitions

The Australian Greens affirm that this year’s NAIDOC Week theme, ‘We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963’, emphasises the importance of the ongoing campaign to build support for Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate and recognise the culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues said today.

“This NAIDOC Week, we are also remembering the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Federal Parliament by the Yolngu people of Yirrkala in northeast Arnhem Land, the first time traditional documents were recognised by Federal Parliament.

“As we reflect on this first recognition, we are also looking ahead to the future referendum on recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution.
“The Greens are committed to seeing our founding document recognise our nation’s First Peoples.

“We made sure it was on the agenda following the 2010 election and I am continuing to work with the members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee to develop the wording of the question to be put to a referendum.

“MPs and people across the community need to work hard to build the campaign for Constitutional Recognition. There has been strong cross-party support for this campaign so far, and that spirit needs to continue.

“I encourage everyone to visit Recognise.org.au and help build momentum towards a yes vote when we get to the referendum,” Senator Siewert concluded.

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Truss’s legacy for Wide Bay – high unemployment and low growth

Posted by admin on June 27, 2013

Joy-River-Photo-3

The Greens Candidate for Wide Bay, Joy Ringrose, has challenged long-time sitting federal member for Wide Bay, Warren Truss, to work to improve the economy of Wide Bay or stand aside for a more capable representative.

“It is increasing unacceptable that Wide Bay’s populace continues to suffer from high unemployment and low economic growth.

“Truss and the federal ALP government have sold us short by sitting on their hands while manufacturing relocates offshore thereby reducing the number of apprenticeships on offer.

“Since the eighties employment in manufacturing has dropped from 22% to less than 8%, from the time that the Coalition and the ALP started going along with the multinational Free Trade Agenda. Our government has to stop allowing jobs to go offshore and to start actively supporting current and new manufacturing enterprises.

“It is outrageous that Warren Truss supports big mining companies bringing in 457 visa holders, overseas workers who are non-unionised and cheaper to employ, rather than to give mining jobs to Australians.

“Warren Truss has also supported the decision of the Labor Party to slash single parent payments by up to $120.00 per week pushed our most vulnerable parents and children onto Newstart and into into poverty.

“Newstart is now set at 40% below the poverty line, further punishing people whose jobs have gone offshore.

The Greens are campaigning to lift the Newstart allowance by $50 per week and give a top-up of $40/week to single parents.

Ms Ringrose concluded “Australia can afford to do this by properly implementing the Mining Tax to ensure a fair distribution of our common wealth.”

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Greens welcome Future Fund tobacco divestment

Posted by admin on February 28, 2013

WHO-No-Tobacco

Australian Greens health spokesperson, Senator Richard Di Natale, today welcomed the Future Fund’s announcement that it will no longer invest in tobacco companies.

“This outcome demonstrates why it’s so important to have other voices in the parliament,” said Senator Di Natale.

“Since the Future Fund’s inception, neither of the old parties have done anything about the fact that hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars have been invested in this insidious industry.”

The fund had invested more than $200 million dollars in 15 tobacco companies, including British American Tobacco, Phillip Morris and Lorillard, some of who have challenged plain packaging in the High Court and through the World Trade Organisation.

“After a year-long campaign from the Greens, including the introduction of a private members bill and regular grilling at Senate Estimates, we finally have an end to the hypocrisy of introducing world leading tobacco reform in plain packaging, while simultaneously profiteering from the sale of the toxic product.

“I welcome the leadership shown by Mr David Gonski, the new chair of the Future Fund, in commissioning the review that led to today’s decision.

“This is a win for public health and I hope that it is an inspiring example to all other investment funds.”

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Wide Bay’s Prime Minister

Posted by Jim on September 26, 2012

Andrew Fisher was the fifth Prime Minister of Australia and he represented Wide Bay from the very first federal election [1901 until 1915]. He was PM on three occasions: 1908–09, 1910-13 and 1914-15. He resigned from the Prime Ministership and Parliament in 1915 and was subsequently appointed Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from January 1916 to January 1921.

You can catch up on a short film presentation on Channel 2 for the next 11 days at ABC i-View. This is part 5 of a series on Australia’s Prime Ministers.

Jim McDonald
Secretary
Noosa and Hinterland Branch
Queensland Greens

 

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Greens fear TAFE proposals will hurt access for low income students

Posted by Jim on September 21, 2012

The Queensland Greens have expressed alarm at proposals by the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce to slash the number of TAFE colleges by almost one-half.

Spokesperson, Dr Jim McDonald, said that the performance of the Newman Government in slashing services to communities rang alarm bells for everyone associated with the Vocational and Education Training [VET] sector.

He said that The Greens welcome the objective of adding 10,000 apprentices to the VET sector and increased participation in training for relevant industry skills.

But the Taskforce also recommended corporatising the TAFE sector by setting up a ‘parent entity’ run on commercial principles and downsizing the number of campuses by 46%. That will see the integration of VET into many communities disappear.

Proposals to close down campuses and amalgamate institutions will distance the TAFE system and Vocational and Education Training from the communities they serve especially in regional Queensland,” he said.

Dr McDonald said it is inevitable that the scale of closures proposed will reduce regional student accessibility and, along with the Newman Government’s many other cuts to State service in Queensland communities, further disadvantage young adults from lower income families.

We fear that the Newman Government will raise student fees to pay for the high costs of investing in industry training.

Responding to industry demand requires a high level of investment in updating training for TAFE staff and capital equipment. Meeting workforce demand in industry and the need for timely implementation of new skills programs for new and emerging technologies is costly and Queensland investment in training lags behind all but one State.

The Greens call upon Mr Newman and Mr Langbroek to guarantee that TAFE student fees will not rise to cover institutional costs. Increased fees will further exclude students from low income families.

In the context of the Premier’s rejection of State contributions to the Arts and culture in our communities and his attacks on community programs, The Greens also fear that the LNP Government will slash creative industries programs, including the arts, in the TAFE colleges.

Mr Newman and Mr Langbroek must guarantee the retention of the arts in TAFE programs.”

The Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce Interim Report targets a reduction of campuses in the Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast from 13 to 8. That can only reduce access within the region and it will affect young people from lower income families the worst.

For the Sunshine Coast, this means questions are raised about the Arts courses at the Noosa campus especially in the light of the Newman Government’s aversion to State funding of the Arts. It also raises questions of what courses might be axed at the Nambour campus. And Newman is not averse to axing frontline staff. So how many TAFE teachers are going to be sacked in this process, which Minister Langbroek and the Premier have indicated they favour?

There is no doubt that a review of TAFE has been necessary but it really needed to deal with the best way of providing relevant courses and maintaining teachers’ trade and professional relevance in a time of changing technologies. TAFE has always had a problem nationally in lagging rather than keeping up with technological developments.

Source: Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce Interim Report, http://training.qld.gov.au/resources/industry/pdf/interim-report-qld-skills-training-taskforce.pdf

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Vale, Bob Borsellino

Posted by Jim on June 16, 2011

Sadly, I have to report that Wide Bay and Noosa Greens stalwart, Bob Borsellino, passed away last night. Bob had suffered a heart attack during his last rehabilitation session at Sunshine Coast University on Tuesday. His health had improved amazingly after a stent procedure some months ago.

Greens members in the region will be aware of his great contribution to the Party. Queensland Greens Senator-elect, Larissa Waters, said of Bob, “he was such a grand figure in the Greens.”

Bob worked tirelessly and was my campaign director during the 2010 Federal election. I learned much from him and we became good friends.

Our thoughts are with his wife, Jennie, and his daughters.

An obituary will be posted in due course.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay electorate, 16 June 2011

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Coal Seam Gas in Queensland

Posted by Jim on December 20, 2010

See Channel Nine Sixty Minutes:

http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=1052462

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National Sorry Day

Posted by Jim on May 26, 2010

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald, and members of the Campaign Committee celebrated National Sorry Day on a bridge on Eumundi-Kenilworth Road at Browns Road Belli Park.  Sorry Day is, unfortunately, probably best remembered by most Australians only for when more than 250,000 people walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2000.  The bridge walks represent an opportunity to acknowledge that there is still unfinished business for the stolen generations.  See the National Sorry Day Committee.

Members of campaign committee on Sorry Day bridge walk

The committee walked across a bridge on the Eumundi-Kenilworth Road.

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Greens Wide Bay Media Campaign Launch

Posted by Jim on April 30, 2010

Dr Jim McDonald has already been actively campaigning in the Wide Bay electorate, which includes Noosa and the Noosa Hinterland.

He has toured the electorate and spent some time in Gympie and Maryborough as well as other smaller towns such as Tin Can Bay and Murgon.

Jim brings to his candidacy a background as an educator, a union official and an academic. He is notionally “retired” but is an active 65 year old. Jim is known on the Sunshine Coast as a writer and an actor. His biographical sketch is attached.

He says he is looking forward as the Green Candidate to providing the electors of Wide Bay with a viable alternative to the other parties.

Jim will be making a formal statement on his candidacy on Friday. Copies will be made available for the media.

The Greens Lead Senate candidate, Larissa Waters will also attend

Media Alert, 28 April 2010



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A personal ANZAC Day reflection

Posted by Jim on April 26, 2010

This year’s ANZAC day meant something a little different to me.

During a trip to Europe over Christmas, I visited the grave of my mother’s uncle who is buried at the Lijssenthoek Military Hospital Cemetery in Belgium. Lijssenthoek is several kilometres from the village of Poperinge, which was one of the rail staging posts for the Flanders campaign.

My great uncle is one of about 1,200 Australian soldiers buried in Lijssenthoek with some 12,000 other young men – who were in the prime of their life – beneath rows of identical headstones. His record on the Australian War Memorial web site reveals he died the day after being shot in the face and his abdomen. Ten days previously he had returned to the trenches after suffering from the Spanish Influenza. I have a letter written around the time he rejoined the front a few days before he died. The stress of being shelled was palpable as he signed off, noting that he had to go because of the barrage. He was barely 21 years old.

Lijssenthoek Belgium

Graves, Lijssenthoek Belgium

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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