Posted by admin on February 25, 2013
After paving the way for the creation of the position, the Australian Greens have today welcomed the appointment of Megan Mitchell as the National Children’s Commissioner.
“Children are some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” the Greens’ youth and early childhood spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“It is only right that we created the essential role of National Children’s Commissioner.
“Until now there hadn’t been a person whose sole focus was on the needs of our young people, at a national level.
“Ms Mitchell has vowed to listen to our nation’s youngest citizens to make sure that their voices are heard and I commend her for that.
“This is a major step in improving the situation for our young people and I look forward to seeing Ms Mitchell assume the role and stand up for Australia’s children.
“I welcome this news, but now the government needs to act to protect children who come to Australia fleeing war and persecution.
“The government must move to establish an independent guardian for unaccompanied refugee children.
“Currently the Immigration Minister’s role as their legal guardian is a conflict of interest and he has abandoned the very children he is supposed to protect.”
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.
Noosa and Hinterland Branch
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
Posted by admin on March 12, 2012
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.”
Posted by admin on February 3, 2012
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.”
Posted by Jim on January 25, 2012
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
Posted by Jim on
The Greens candidate for Noosa, Dr Jim McDonald, said he will be attending the Australia Day ceremony at the Recreational Hall at Wallace Park.
He said, “I think it is important that a candidate aspiring to represent Noosa should be present at the formal induction of new citizens into the community.
“Citizenship ceremonies are one of the most moving secular ceremonies in our nation. I have always admired the bravery of migrants who choose to set up a new life in Australia and to formally identify themselves with our nation by taking on citizenship.
“My own migrant origins in Australia stretch back 180 years, so there hasn’t been a tradition in my family of people formally taking on citizenship. But the challenges facing today’s migrants and my forebears who were free settlers are similar in many respects.
“Some of our new citizens will have fled tyranny and persecution and we welcome them into our community and wish them a safe and prosperous future in our country.
“On behalf of the Noosa Greens, I welcome all our new fellow Australians.”
Greens Candidate Noosa
Media Release, 25 January 2012
Posted by Jim on January 24, 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.
13 January 2012
Posted by Jim on January 17, 2012
Noosa will need a strong, articulate presence on all issues in the State Parliament in the next few years if its present status as an example to the rest of Australia of balance between sustainable development and environmental protection, and the principles of the Noosa Biosphere, is to be maintained.
The international status of the Noosa Biosphere is at threat when the LNP and Labor are silent about the destruction of biosphere principals in Noosa’s companion region, the Great Sandy Biosphere. Labor encourages coal mining and gas extraction in Noosa’s adjacent Biosphere while the LNP MPs in Noosa, Gympie and the Federal Electorate [Wide Bay] sit back silently supporting coal and gas in the Mary Valley and along the reaches of the Mary River.
The same coal resources that are found along the Mary River, and are to be developed by Tiaro Coal, extend down into the Sunshine Coast. Already exploratory drilling has occurred at Wolvi, just to the north of the Noosa Biosphere boundary
If Government and Opposition representatives cannot open their mouths against coalmining and coal seam gas [CSG] in and about our region, how can they be trusted on the Noosa Biosphere? The LNP will say anything on policies and then protect their real policy positions with back door clauses.
The LNP and Labor are no better than each other in sharing policies on CSG to encourage and provide infrastructure to the CSG extraction industry when all around the world governments are imposing moratoriums to study the blatantly obvious negative impacts on the resources farmers and householders use.
The sitting member and the out-of-town Labor candidate are in no position to stand up and protect Noosa’s hard won environmental heritage, which provides the platform for so many tourist jobs in Noosa and the hinterland, because their parties have determined to support the industries which will do most to destroy what the Biosphere stands for.