Punitive Approach For Struggling Students Will Cause Harm

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said the federal government’s move to punish students who struggle to find their feet at university is all about saving money, and nothing to do with ‘putting students’ interests first’.

Senator Faruqi said:

“There’s no doubt some students struggle at university, but choosing to punish rather than support them makes no sense.

“We should be resourcing universities to help struggling students, not denying those students government support to finish their studies.

“I’m really concerned this approach will target and harm disadvantaged students, who are already at greater risk of dropping out.

“The Liberals are more concerned about saving money than helping students get through university.

“Years of government cuts have prevented universities from supporting at-risk students. Now the government is trying to blame universities and wash their hands of responsibility.

“We should be investing our time and money in building well-funded, fee-free university and TAFE. Instead, all the Liberals are interested in doing is cutting uni funding, hiking up fees, and punishing students who fall through the cracks,” she said.

LABOR MUST STOP JOBKEEPER DOUBLE GAMES

With the Liberals needing Senate support for their plans to slash JobKeeper payments to low-income earners, the Australian Greens have described Labor’s approach to JobKeeper cuts as two-faced, urging Labor to stop playing double games and instead fully abandon the opposition’s plans to support the Liberals’ cuts.

After months of campaigning for cuts to payments for people previously earning less than $1,500, on the day that the Morrison government announced cuts to JobKeeper, Anthony Albanese said:
“It’s good that the government’s finally woken up to some of the waste in this scheme” – RN Breakfast 21 July 2020

But today the Australian Financial Review is reporting that “There have been discussions at senior levels in the Opposition about fighting for higher rates” in the new two-tiered system, as apparently “Labor believes supports should not be pulled from the economy when there are nothing to replace them with, especially given the increased volatility caused by the Victorian coronavirus catastrophe.”

“When the government announced JobKeeper cuts last month, Labor was keen to claim credit, having championed cuts specifically to 900,000 of the lowest paid workers,” Greens Leader Adam Bandt said.

“Now we’re to believe that Labor has rediscovered its concern about cutting JobKeeper. Apparently now they still want it cut, but just not quite as much as the Liberals.”

“JobKeeper should not be cut for low-income earners at all. Many of these people were in low-paid, low-hours insecure work, and just as they start getting something close to a living income, Liberal and Labor line up to cut their incomes.

“Instead of playing a double game, feigning opposition to the very JobKeeper cuts they called for, Labor should join with the Greens and oppose any cuts to JobKeeper payments. As the experience in Victoria shows, Australia is still in the middle of fighting this pandemic, and now is not the time to cut support to low-income earners,” Bandt said.

EASIER HOSPITAL ACCESS FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS

Victims of domestic and family violence will now have easier access to NSW public hospitals for the treatment of their injuries, as part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 response.

The NSW Government has changed its NSW hospital fees policy so that Medicare ineligible victims of domestic and family violence (DFV) – like those on Temporary Protection Visas – will no longer be required to report the crime to police in order to access public hospitals at no cost.

Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said the change follows an Australian Institute of Criminology report that found DFV had risen during the pandemic, but a large proportion of victims were not reporting to police.

“Many women will choose to contact the Domestic Violence Line, specialist frontline domestic violence services or medical care before they’re ready to report to police for a range of reasons, including fear of repercussions,” Mr Speakman said.

“Those suffering domestic violence need every lifeline we can give them, especially now when COVID-19 measures are potentially forcing victim-survivors into isolation in the same household as the perpetrators of their abuse.

“This reform is focused on removing obstacles for especially vulnerable victim-survivors to ensure immediate medical support is available and accessible when it’s needed most.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it is vital that people facing violence at home feel safe to seek support and care in our public hospitals, without fear of reprisal from perpetrators.

“A tragic, often hidden cost of the COVID-19 pandemic is the rise in violence on the homefront and fewer opportunities to reach out for support,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The NSW Government is helping to clear the way for victims of domestic and family violence to receive essential medical treatment and care in our hospitals, whenever they need it.”

If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence, when it’s safe to do so, you can contact the following supports:

  • NSW Domestic Violence Line, for crisis counselling, referral or support on 1800 65 64 63;
  • 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support services;
  • Link2Home on 1800 152 152 who can help refer women experiencing domestic violence to crisis accommodation; and
  • Men’s Referral Service for men who use violence, or their friends and family on 1300 766 491 or https://ntv.org.au/.

If you are in immediate danger or in an emergency, always contact Triple Zero (000).

For more information on services and supports, visit the NSW Government’s ‘Speak Out’ webpage: https://www.speakout.dcj.nsw.gov.au/.

NEW TOOLKIT HELPS BUSINESSES GET BACK TO WORK

A new online toolkit is helping businesses as they continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19.

Developed by the NSW Government’s business advisory service, Business Connect, the toolkit includes more than 35 webinars on a range of business-related subjects, fact sheets and training videos.

Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said the webinars contained invaluable tips for business owners across the state.

“It’s been a really tough year for small businesses, with drought, bushfires, floods and the ongoing COVID-19 global health pandemic hitting the hip pockets of business owners right around the state,” Mr Tudehope said.

“This is just one way businesses can get access to the tools and resources they need to relaunch or re-establish during these challenging times.

“Anyone can access the toolkit, and since the webinars are all pre-recorded, they can be watched at any time.”

Topics include Building a Successful Online Store, Survive and Thrive during COVID-19 and Brand Building.

“I also encourage small businesses to look at other services available from Business Connect, as there are more than 120 Business Connect advisors who can provide free-of-charge advice during COVID-19.”

Mr Tudehope said 97 per cent of businesses who used Business Connect would likely recommend the program.

Other webinar topics include Business Disruption: Rural and Regional, presented by Sue Williams, founder of the Great Lakes Food Trail, Organic Facebook Marketing, and Smart Phone Flat Lay Photography.

To access the Business Connect Online Toolkit click here.

JCTT investigators re-appeal for information over assassination of Turkish Consul-General and his bodyguard in 1980

The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) is re-appealing for assistance from the community after new details came to light in the investigation into the 1980 assassination of a Turkish diplomat and his bodyguard in Sydney’s east. Turkish Consul-General

Sarik Ariyak, aged 50, and his bodyguard, Engin Sever, aged 28, were shot outside a residence on Portland Street, Dover Heights, about 9.45am on Wednesday 17 December 1980.

Mr Ariyak and Mr Sever were leaving the residence in separate vehicles, when they were approached by two unknown men, who fired multiple shots at close range before fleeing the area on a motorcycle.

Mr Ariyak died at the scene, and Mr Sever died a short time later at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Despite extensive investigations by police at the time and over the years, no one has ever been charged.

Following a formal review last year, the NSW JCTT, which comprises the NSW Police Force’s Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the NSW Crime Commission, established Operation Esslemont to re-investigate the murders and is using advancements in investigative techniques and forensic technologies.

To assist their initial inquiries, the NSW Government reward for information was increased to $1 million on the 39th anniversary (17 December 2019), which has assisted in providing a number of new lines of inquiry.

Acting on these new lines of inquiry, police divers from Marine Area Command recently conducted initial searches in Sydney Harbour off Greenwich Point regarding items of interest to the investigation.

As investigations continue – both domestically and internationally, JCTT officers are re-appealing to the community for information, which may assist with current lines of inquiry.

Investigators are keen to speak with anyone who may have details relating to the persons responsible for, and assisting in; the planning and carrying out of the assassination, and the concealment of items such as the motorcycle, weapon and other items used during the assassination both before and after the offence.

NSW Police Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton, said despite encouraging leads being followed by investigators, the JCTT needs further community assistance.

“Operation Esslemont investigators have been working meticulously through the original case files and have established new and significant lines of inquiry,” Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton said.

“Since our appeal late last year, we have received incredible interest from the community but given the politically motivated nature of the assassination, we believe there’s still a reluctance to help us.

“But experience tells us that the passage of time – particularly changes in relationships between people with knowledge of a crime – coupled with a hefty reward can be the key to breaking the wall of silence.

“With that in mind, I urge anyone who has information that will help the JCTT deliver justice for Mr Ariak and Mr Sever to come forward now and share what they know with investigators.”

JCTT investigators remind the community that the $1 million reward remains in place for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Mr Ariak and Mr Sever’s murders.

Anyone with information that may assist Operation Esslemont investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Nine arrested as part of investigation into IED detonation – Canterbury

Police will address the media after nine people were arrested following an investigation into an IED detonation that injured a woman in Sydney’s inner west earlier this year.

On Monday 8 June 2020, a woman was inside her home on Robert Street, Canterbury, when she noticed a fire on the front balcony about 11.20pm.

The woman walked outside to investigate and when she tried to extinguish the fire, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated.

The 55-year-old woman was treated at the scene, before being taken to Concord Hospital for treatment of burns to her face, hands, chest and legs.

A 19-year-old man who was also home at the time was uninjured.

Detectives from Burwood Police Area Command established Strike Force Shalimah to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force investigators, with assistance from Auburn, Fairfield and Campsie Police Area Commands and Central Metropolitan Region ODIN, attended homes across Sydney from about 7am today (Thursday 13 August 2020), and arrested eight males, aged between 17 and 20.

They were taken to Mascot, Bankstown, Burwood and Fairfield Police Stations.

Search warrants were executed at three homes in Zetland, Concord and Fairfield, where officers seized clothing, phones and other items relevant to the investigation.

Just before 9am, an 18-year-old man was arrested after attending Mascot Police Station

Inquiries continue.

Anyone with information that can assist Strike Force Shalimah investigators are urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

COVID-19 update: Man charged with spitting at police

Police have charged a man in Sydney’s CBD after he allegedly spat at multiple officers yesterday.

About 6.30pm (Wednesday 12 August 2020), officers from Sydney City Police Area Command were called to a hotel on George Street, Sydney, after reports of an altercation.

Police stopped a man at Railway Square, at the intersection of George and Lee Streets and the 32-year-old was arrested after he refused to provide details and attempted to walk away.

His identity was established, and he was issued a move-on direction.

After failing to comply, the man was arrested and taken to Day Street Police Station where he allegedly repeatedly spat at multiple officer’s while being held in custody.

The man was charged with use offensive language in/near public place/school, refuse/fail to comply with direction under Part 14, and not comply noticed direction re spitting/coughing – COVID-19.

The man was refused bail to appear at Central Local Court today (Thursday 13 August 2020).

Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Government laziness is impeding the important work of the Disability Royal Commission

The second progress report of the Royal Commission into the Violence, Abuse, Exploitation and Neglect of People with Disability makes it clear that the limitations of confidentiality provisions are impeding on people’s willingness to speak with the Commission and affecting the scope of the Commission’s work, Australian Greens Disability Rights and Services spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said.

Steele-John also said there was still significant work that needed to be done to engage with Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory with data showing that three quarters of submissions had come from individuals and organisations in the Eastern States.

“The failure of the Morrison government to strengthen witness protections is risking the loss of vital evidence and will ultimately weaken the Royal Commission’s findings, and therefore recommendations,” Steele-John said.”I first flagged this issue with Attorney General Christian Porter back in November 2019 and made several inquiries to his office since then with no response. The Chair, Ronald Sackville, has made similar inquiries and spoken of the issue in public hearings of the Royal Commission in Townsville and in Sydmney.

“An entire section of this progress report is devoted to confidentiality protections, or lack thereof, and the challenges the situation presents to the important work of the Commission. It is simply not good enough that more than a year into this process these simpole legislative changes have still not been made!

“There is no other way to describe the attitude of the Morrison government towards the Disability Royal Commission other than ‘laziness’.

“It is critical that these changes are urgently made to ensure that our Royal Commission can get on with its work and so that people can feel safe in the knowledge that their privacy will be protected.”

Government laziness is impeding the important work of the Disability Royal Commission

The second progress report of the Royal Commission into the Violence, Abuse, Exploitation and Neglect of People with Disability makes it clear that the limitations of confidentiality provisions are impeding on people’s willingness to speak with the Commission and affecting the scope of the Commission’s work, Australian Greens Disability Rights and Services spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said.

Steele-John also said there was still significant work that needed to be done to engage with Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory with data showing that three quarters of submissions had come from individuals and organisations in the Eastern States.

“The failure of the Morrison government to strengthen witness protections is risking the loss of vital evidence and will ultimately weaken the Royal Commission’s findings, and therefore recommendations,” Steele-John said.”I first flagged this issue with Attorney General Christian Porter back in November 2019 and made several inquiries to his office since then with no response. The Chair, Ronald Sackville, has made similar inquiries and spoken of the issue in public hearings of the Royal Commission in Townsville and in Sydmney.

“An entire section of this progress report is devoted to confidentiality protections, or lack thereof, and the challenges the situation presents to the important work of the Commission. It is simply not good enough that more than a year into this process these simpole legislative changes have still not been made!

“There is no other way to describe the attitude of the Morrison government towards the Disability Royal Commission other than ‘laziness’.

“It is critical that these changes are urgently made to ensure that our Royal Commission can get on with its work and so that people can feel safe in the knowledge that their privacy will be protected.”

INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY: 2020 IS THE YEAR TO LISTEN TO YOUNG PEOPLE

Australian Greens Youth spokesperson, and Australia’s youngest Senator, Jordon Steele-John has called for greater engagement with young people to help shape our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today is International Youth Day and the theme for 2020 is Youth Engagement for Global Action, which seeks to highlight the need for greater engagement with young people to enhance formal institutional politics and process at the local, national and global level.

“This International Youth Day the future has never looked more challenging for young people,” Senate Steele-John said.

“As a result there has never been a better time or a more urgent need to listen to, and engage, with young people than the crossroads we now find ourselves at.

“We must take urgent action on Climate Change within the next decade or it will be my generation, and the generations after mine, that will pay the heaviest price in terms of global heating, mass extinction and resource pressures globally.

“Unemployment is higher than it’s ever been, the workforce is becoming increasingly casualised and long term cuts to the tertiary education sector mean that job prospects for young people are bleak.

“This dual economic and climate crises has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and it is young people who are feeling it the hardest.

“It’s clear from the lack of action on climate change, sustained political attacks from those in power on funding for, and access to, our tertiary institutions, and the fact that work has never been more insecure that only the Greens care about creating a future for all of us!”

The Greens’ plan to empower young people:

  1. Reinstate funding for National Youth Week;
  2. Reinstate funding for the national youth peak body;
  3. Reestablish a Federal Minister for Youth (independent of Sport)
  4. Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote; and
  5. Implement a Youth Jobs guarantee to help young people to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.