The Greens respond to Albanese’s announcement at the Garma Festival

Following the Albanese Government’s announcement at the Garma Festival, Greens First Nations spokesperson, Gunnai, Gunditjmara and DjabWurrung Senator Lidia Thorpe, has announced that she will seek discussions with the government about their proposal for a Voice, with the aim of seeing other areas critical to First Nations justice also progressed.

Senator Lidia Thorpe said:

“I’ll be seeking discussions with the Albanese Government about their proposal for a Voice to Parliament and putting urgent, critical matters for First Nations people on the table. These are things that will save people’s lives, before any referendum. 

“I want the government to support our Bill to back the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, implement the remaining recommendations from the Stolen Generations and Deaths in Custody Royal Commissions, and back the Greens’ plans for concrete steps towards a Treaty. 

“We don’t have to wait until next year to have our rights legislated. Labor can support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which is being debated in Parliament on Monday, to help guarantee that our rights will be protected. 

“Labor has an opportunity to show us that they’re committed to action, not just symbolism, by implementing all of the recommendations in full from the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the 1997 Bringing them Home Report. This is urgent, and overdue.

“The Greens also want to see the Government make meaningful progress towards Treaty, the potentially more difficult but ultimately more transformative part of the Uluṟu statement.

“The Greens will be bringing these critical reforms to the table in discussions with Labor about justice for First Nations people.

“First Nations sovereignty has never been ceded. The Greens will always honour that.”



  • Greens 2022 Election commitment is to ensure progress towards Treaty, as well as action to save lives now. Read more here


Ngarra ga Buku guru-pan Gumatj, Yothu Yindi nha go Yolgnu mala.

[Translation: I pay my respect to Gumatj, Yothu Yindi and Yolngu Mala.]

I acknowledge the people of the Yolngu nation. I recognise all the elders, leaders and families who have made great contributions to our nation.

In particular, I acknowledge the Gumatj clan whose lands we are meeting on today.

Last night’s Bungul was a deeply moving moment for me, it was an honour to bear witness to dance and song and story and tradition tracing back some 60,000 years. 

As the breeze came across me, your ancestors’ presence in these lands and waters makes real your 60,000 years and more, custodianship of this land.

And I was also grateful for the chance to meet, again, with Gallarwuy and share in his wisdom, to talk about the opportunities and the challenges in this special part of Australia.


I am delighted to be back at Garma for my fourth visit – and I am delighted Garma is back.

Here – on what iswas and always will be Aboriginal land – Today, I re-affirm my Government’s solemn promise to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart, in full.

I’m joined by my colleagues:

  • Linda Burney, the Minister for Indigenous Australians
  • Senator Patrick Dodson, Special Envoy for Reconciliation and the Implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart
  • Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Health
  • Attorney General Mark Dreyfus
  • Luke Gosling, the Member for Solomon
  • Chief Minister Natasha Fyles
  • And our new Member for Lingiari, Marion Scrymgour

And in the spirit of co-operation, which is so necessary – can I acknowledge the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Julian Leeser.

Thanks, Julian. I look forward to working with you.

We are all here, eager to work with you, to bring our commitment to Uluru to life.

To see Australia answer that gracious, patient call for respect and truth and unity.

The Uluru Statement is a hand outstretched, a moving show of faith in Australian decency and Australian fairness from people who have been given every reason to forsake their hope in both.

I am determined, as a Government, as a country, that we grasp that hand of healing, we repay that faith, we rise to the moment.

To work with you in lifting the words off the page and lifting the whole nation up:

  • With a new spirit of partnership between government and First Nations people
  • Through the work of Makarrata, treaty-making and truth-telling
  • And by enshrining a Voice to Parliament, in the Constitution.

We approach these tasks and the work of constitutional change, with humility and with hope.

Humility: because over 200 years of broken promises and betrayals, failures and false starts demand nothing less.

Humility because – so many times – the gap between the words and deeds of governments has been as wide as this great continent.  

But also hope.

Hope in your abilities as advocates and campaigners, as champions for this cause.

And hope because I believe the tide is running our way. I believe the momentum is with us, as never before.

I believe the country is ready for this reform.

I believe there is room in Australian hearts for the Statement from the Heart.

We are seeking a momentous change – but it is also a very simple one.

It’s not a matter of special treatment, or preferential power.

It’s about consulting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the decisions that affect you.

Nothing more – but nothing less.

This is simple courtesy, it is common decency.

It recognises the centuries-old failure that my dear friend Paul Keating spoke of at Redfern, the failure to ask the most basic human question: how would I feel, if this were done to me?

And along with common courtesy, it is common sense.

Respect works.

When a government listens to people with experience, with earned knowledge of kinship and country and culture and community…

…when we trust in the value of self-determination and empowerment…

…then the policies and programs are always more effective.

We see it with:

  • Justice Reinvestment
  • Indigenous Rangers
  • Respecting Homelands
  • And the National Partnership Agreement process driven by the Coalition of Peaks and the remarkable Pat Turner.

There are success stories out there – but we know they are not universal. 

Enshrining a Voice in the Constitution gives the principles of respect and consultation, strength and status.

Writing the Voice into the Constitution means a willingness to listen won’t depend on who is in government or who is Prime Minister. 

The Voice will exist and endure outside of the ups and downs of election cycles and the weakness of short-term politics.

It will be an unflinching source of advice and accountability.

Not a third chamber, not a rolling veto, not a blank cheque.

But a body with the perspective and the power and the platform to tell the government and the parliament the truth about what is working and what is not.

To tell the truth – with clarity, with conviction. 

Because a Voice enshrined in the Constitution cannot be silenced.


I believe the best way to seize the momentum is by settling – as soon as possible – on the referendum question that will be put to the people of Australia.

Now, I respect the fact that many people have done a power of good work to bring us to this point, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander campaigners, best represented by the delegates to the Uluru Convention in 2017.

I am grateful and I honour everyone who has made a contribution to the process.

And now, I am hoping we can draw those threads together.

I am hoping we can progress the efforts of good-willed, hard-working people who want to see the nation move forward and justice realised.

Recognising that this is one of the steps in our nation’s journey of healing.

Our starting point is a recommendation to add three sentences to the Constitution, in recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of Australia:

  1. There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
  2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to Parliament and the Executive Government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
  3. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

These draft provisions can be seen as the next step in the discussion about constitutional change.

This may not be the final form of words – but I think it’s how we can get to a final form of words.

In the same way, alongside these provisions, I would like us to present the Australian people with the clearest possible referendum question.

We should consider asking our fellow Australians something as simple, but something as clear, as this:

Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?

A straightforward proposition.

A simple principle.

A question from the heart.

We can use this question – and the provisions – as the basis for further consultation.

Not as a final decision but as the basis for dialogue, something to give the conversation shape and form. 

I ask all Australians of goodwill to engage on this. 

Respectfully, purposefully we are seeking to secure support for the question and the associated provisions in time for a successful referendum – in this term of Parliament.

If not now, when?

Back in 1967, not a single member of the House of the Representatives or the Senate voted against the referendum provisions.

In the same spirit – I hope that the Opposition and the crossbench will support the proposal, join the campaign for a Yes vote and bring their supporters to the cause.

We will seek-out every ally and every advocate from, to quote the Statement, ‘every point under the southern sky’.

Fundamentally, this is a reform I believe every Australian can embrace, from all walks of life, in every part of the country, from every faith and background and tradition. 

Because it speaks to values that we all share and honour – fairness, respect, decency.

Enshrining a Voice will be a national achievement. It will be above politics.

A unifying Australian moment.

There may well be misinformation and fear campaigns to counter.

But perhaps the greatest threat to the cause is indifference.

The notion that this is a nice piece of symbolism – but it will have no practical benefit.

Or that somehow advocating for a Voice comes at the expense of expanding economic opportunity, or improving community safety, or lifting education standards or helping people get the health care they deserve or find the housing they need.

Championing a Voice won’t stop us from upgrading all-weather roads, so communities can get the supplies and services they need.

It won’t delay our plan to train 500 new Aboriginal healthcare workers.

It won’t stand in the way of our new investments in lifesaving kidney dialysis treatment.

Let us all understand this, very clearly: Australia does not have to choose between improving peoples’ lives and amending the Constitution.

We can do both – and we have to.

Because 121 years of Commonwealth governments arrogantly believing they know enough to impose their own solutions on Aboriginal people have brought us to this point.

This torment of powerlessness.

  • A life expectancy gap of 20 years.
  • Some of the worst incarceration rates in the world.
  • A broken system that burns billions of dollars and delivers precious little for the people who are supposed to be able to trust in it.

And if governments simply continue and insist they know better – then things will get worse. 


In my lifetime, there has been an extraordinary and joyous change in the way Australians from all walks of life have embraced the privilege we have to share this island continent with the world’s oldest continuous culture.

We have cast aside the discriminatory fiction of terra nullius and offered a National Apology to the Stolen Generations.

We have said Sorry – and begun the task of making good.

States and territories are embarked on agreement-making, truth-telling, and the work of treaty.

First Nations people sit in our parliaments in record numbers and serve as Ministers.

Our environment benefits from the wisdom of people who have cared for it and thrived in it, through hundreds of generations.

The cult of forgetfulness, ‘the Great Australian silence’ that dishonored our history has been broken by a chorus of song and language and art and sport and celebration.

You haven’t just witnessed that change – you’ve fought for it, you’ve championed it, you’ve been the spark and carried the fire to every corner of this vast country.

And I believe Australians – as fair-minded people, recognise that if we want to share in the riches of 60,000 years of history and tradition…

…then we also share in the responsibility for helping First Nations people build and own a better future.

Because we are all diminished, all of us, when First Nations people are denied their right to a happy and fulfilling life, denied the chance to play a full part in the life of our country.

We are all diminished. And we are all involved. 

And soon – all of us – will have a chance to exercise our democratic right and our basic human responsibility to vote for something better.

To have a sense of ownership over the change that this country so desperately needs.


A referendum is a high hurdle to clear, you know that and so do we.

We recognise the risks of failure – but we also recognise the risk of failing to try.

We see this referendum as a magnificent opportunity for Australia.

I am optimistic that this historic decision, this long-overdue embrace of truth and justice and decency and respect for First Nations people will be voted into law by the people of Australia.

The voice of the Australian people will create a Voice to Parliament.

All Australians have the chance to own this change, to be proud of it, to be counted and heard on the right side of history.

To vote the unique Australian gift of the wisdom of the world’s oldest continuing civilisation into the Constitution of our nation, into our birth certificate. 

My optimism for the success of this referendum derives from my optimistic view of the Australian character.

And I am hopeful, in years to come, when we gather here at Garma, we will be able to measure that success not just by the number of people who vote for a Voice…

…but by the lives that the Voice helps to change.

The communities it empowers, the opportunities it creates, the justice it delivers, the security it will bring to First Nations people around our country.

I am determined for us to succeed in this great project.

And – working together, with humility, with hope – I am absolutely sure we can.

Corporations should be bracing for a Super Profits Tax

Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Nick McKim, has responded to the Treasurer’s Ministerial Statement on the Economy.

“The Treasurer has just told Australians to brace for higher unemployment and further real wage cuts because interest rates are going to go up.

“But the Treasurer said nothing about what big corporations should brace for.

“The share of national income going to corporate profits are at record highs, and the share of national income going to wages are at record lows.

“Corporate profiteering is fuelling inflation, not wages.

“Yet the Treasurer was silent about profits in his statement today.

“Instead of giving them a free pass, the Treasurer should be telling corporate Australia to brace for a super profits tax.

“The Greens took to the election a package of super profits taxes that would apply to companies with a turnover of greater than $100m, mining projects, and oil and gas projects, the latter being a ‘fixed-up’ PRRT.

“Together, these three super profits taxes would raise $460B in additional revenue over the next decade that could be used to provide cost-of-living relief by funding the provision of high quality free public services, such as free childcare, truly free public education, and putting dental into Medicare.”

Is Labor running protection racket for CFMMEU paymasters?

More disgraceful thuggish behaviour by the Labor Government’s paymasters, the CFMMEU, including disgusting homophobic slurs, has been exposed by the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Less than a week after Labor Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Tony Burke neutered the ABCC by reducing its powers to the “bare legal minimum”, the Federal Circuit and Family Court yesterday fined the CFMMEU and two of its officials $151,200 for right of entry breaches on the Queensland Cross River Rail project.

Senator Cash said: ‘’The successful prosecution, brought by the ABCC before it was neutered by Mr Burke, is more proof that the tough cop on the beat is still desperately needed in the building industry.”

“Mr Burke and the Labor Government are running a protection racket for the CFMMEU by abolishing the ABCC,” she said.

“But that’s hardly surprising when the CFMMEU gives them so much money that the Labor Government should actually be considered a wholly owned subsidiary of the militant union,’’ she said.

The Court found that, on 15 April 2020, whilst at the Boggo Road site, CFMMEU official Andrew Blakeley aggressively “chested” a representative of the site occupier by walking towards him with his (Blakeley’s) chest puffed and arms bent at the elbows in an imposing and aggressive stance and later stood in the path of a truck to delay it from proceeding down a road and refused requests to leave the area.

Judge Vasta said that he had “absolutely no doubt” that Mr Gibson calling the safety advisor a ‘pumpkin eater’ was “meant as a homophobic slur”. In support of that finding, Judge Vasta referred to a subsequent offensive comment made by Mr Blakeley to the safety advisor that suggested that he was trying to look at Mr Blakeley’s penis whilst in a toilet block.

The conduct of the CFMMEU organisers on that day contravened the right of entry provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009. In penalising Blakeley and Gibson $12,600 respectively, the Court ordered that they must pay the penalties personally.

Judge Vasta said: “The antecedents of the [CFMMEU] are notorious. I have previously described them as the “greatest recidivist offenders in Australian corporate history” and many other judges have also noted their infamous past.

“There is no other “appropriate” penalty that will achieve the deterrent effect necessary other than the imposition of the maximum penalty.

“I acknowledge that this penalty will still be insufficient to deter the [CFMMEU] who will, as I remarked during the hearing, regard such a sum as “chump change”.

Senator Cash said: “Mr Burke and the Government should hang their heads in shame for leaving the construction industry and its workers unprotected from this sort of disgusting behaviour.’’

Labor Government failing our borders

The Albanese Government is risking lives with mixed messaging on Australia’s border policies.

The Australian Border Force’s Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) has today confirmed four vessels carrying 125 people from Sri Lanka were stopped in June, 2022.

Alarmingly, the Sri Lankan Navy has reportedly stopped additional boats within their jurisdiction.

Some of these boats had children on board, facing treacherous conditions.

This is the harsh reality of what happens when a government signals it is weak on Australia’s borders.

I am calling on Labor to do the right thing by keeping Temporary Protection Visas – a key pillar of OSB – and protect lives, instead of preferencing ideology.

Last time Labor was in government more than 50,000 people arrived here illegally on more than 820 boats. Tragically, at least 1,200 people died at sea.

The question Labor needs to answer is why are all these boats arriving now?

Sending mixed messages – particularly in relation to Temporary Protection Visas – creates opportunity for people smugglers to prey on vulnerable people.

It is crucial to our national security and our sovereignty that we maintain the integrity of Australia’s borders.

Australia encouraged to get behind our Aussie athletes as the Commonwealth Games begin

Australia is a fantastic sporting nation and the best of our amazing athletes will begin competing at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this Friday.

From the 28th of July to the 4th of August, more than 420 elite Australian athletes will compete across all 21 sporting disciplines wearing the Green and Gold.

“I have no doubt Australians right across the country will be cheering our athletes by interacting on social media using #BeBoldinGold and even becoming inspired to take up a new sport,” Shadow Minister Ruston said.

“Australia’s representation at the 2022 Commonwealth Games is a credit to all of the coaches, support staff, families and importantly local communities who support our athletes to train and prepare for events on the world stage. I’m excited to soon be watching our Athletes make us proud to be Australians.

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry congratulated Queensland athletes on achieving the impressive feat of being selected to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

“It is a great honour that my state has 122 representatives at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“I encourage everyone in Queensland to support our amazing Australian athletes,” Ms Landry said.For more information about our amazing athletes, and to keep up to date with their achievements, visit

Local youth experience a taste of local government

Students from six local high schools have gained a unique perspective into local government by participating in City of Newcastle’s annual Youth Mock Council this week.

Established in 2018 as a way to engage more young people in the process of local government and strengthen youth voice in local planning and decision making, the two-day event is facilitated by the Newcastle Youth Council Advisory Committee and supported by City of Newcastle.

Local high school students prepare to hold a mock council meeting in the former Council Chambers at City Hall with current Councillors Deahnna Richardson, Callum Pull and Elizabeth Adamczyk

The event kicked off on Thursday with a series of workshops involving current Newcastle Councillors Deahnna Richardson, Elizabeth Adamczyk, Charlotte McCabe, Callum Pull and John Mackenzie, which were designed to teach the students how to form committees, identify an issue and develop tangible actions to deliver a potential solution.

These issues were transformed into mock Notices of Motion ahead of a simulated Council meeting held in the former Council Chambers at City Hall today, where the draft motions were presented to the participating Councillors.

The Youth Mock Council provides our future young leaders with an invaluable opportunity to engage with City of Newcastle and its elected officials to discuss important local issues and workshop ways to bring about positive social change.

Participants involved in this year’s Mock Council included students from Callaghan College’s Wallsend and Waratah campuses, Cooks Hill Campus High School, Hunter Sports High School, Merewether High School and Newcastle High School.

Biosecurity blueprint to safeguard NSW agriculture

Primary producers will have the opportunity to provide feedback on a NSW Government plan to safeguard the State’s $21 billion food and fibre industry, as part of an upgraded biosecurity strategy.
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the purpose of the strategy is to:

  • Set a clear vision for biosecurity and food safety in NSW; 
  • Map strategy objectives for Government, industry, and the community; and
  • Outline key activities that will guide decision-making for farmers.

“The NSW Biosecurity and Food Safety Strategy 2022-2030 will be our blueprint for protecting the livelihoods, economy and environment against biosecurity and food safety risks,” Mr Saunders said.
“Biosecurity and food safety are shared responsibilities and everybody’s business.
“Recent outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease in Indonesia and varroa mite in NSW have shown us the critical need to be prepared, now and into the future.
“We have been working hard to build NSW’s capability and capacity to manage risk, invest in tools and technologies, and improve how we work together so we can better prevent and respond to threats and minimise any negative impacts.
“Your feedback and insights will help create a strategy we can deliver together to help fortify our economy, industry, environment and community for years to come.” 
The strategy demonstrates a strong commitment to protecting NSW from biosecurity and food safety threats and builds on the government’s record investment of $163.9 million in biosecurity protection announced in the 2022-23 State Budget.
The draft NSW Biosecurity and Food Safety Strategy 2022-2030 is open for input online,, until Thursday, 1 September 2022.  
The Biosecurity Strategy will draw on the concept of ‘One Health’, which recognises the relationship between animal, plant and human health and the interdependencies between optimal biosecurity, food safety, and economic, social and environmental prosperity.
You can help protect NSW by reporting any suspect or unusual pests and diseases to NSW DPI via an online form or by calling the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline, 1800 680 244.

100,000 Seniors now using digital Seniors Card

Seniors in NSW are continuing to embrace digital with more than 100,000 people now taking advantage of the digital Seniors Card.
Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello said while there would always be a non-digital version, it was great to see so many seniors taking advantage of the digital option to access discounts and benefits on dining out, entertainment and travel.
“This milestone shows the seniors of NSW are confidently using digital products and demonstrates the real impact and benefits these solutions can have in all age groups,” Mr Dominello said.
“After a successful pilot in March involving 4,000 people, we are currently seeing more than 30,000 people getting their digital Seniors Card each month.
“We are now looking at ways we can continue to expand the program with a focus on businesses, and we are developing an application process similar to the successful Dine & Discover NSW program which will enable many more to easily sign up.”
Minister for Seniors Mark Coure said it was great to see 100,000 people take up the digital option in just a few months.
“The Seniors Card has come a long way since it was first introduced in 1992—it is now the largest program of its kind in Australia,” Mr Coure said.
“For 30 years, it has been helping ease the cost of living for card holders by providing access to discounts and rebates at shops, travel, entertainment and professional services providers.
“There are more than 6,500 businesses and service providers with discounts, and I encourage more to follow.”
To find instructions on how to add a digital Seniors or Senior Savers Card to the Service NSW app, or to learn more visit

More energy unleashed to improve reliability

Households can soon enjoy more reliable and affordable energy with the completion of upgrades to the Queensland to New South Wales electricity Interconnector (QNI).
Minister for Energy Matt Kean said the $236 million project upgraded 300 kilometres of transmission lines and replaced 58 towers between Liddell, Muswellbrook and Tamworth.
“This vital infrastructure will boost interstate transmission capacity by over 190MW from QLD to NSW, and 460MW from NSW to QLD, making it easier to share lower-cost generation between the two states,” Mr Kean said.
“We expect this priority project to provide net benefits of $170 million to electricity customers and producers.
“It will help to reduce electricity bills for households and provide a more reliable and affordable energy supply for the people who live, work and play in NSW.”
Mr Kean said the QNI is part of the NSW Government’s plan to modernise the infrastructure needed to support the energy transition and cater for forecast increases in energy demand.
“The interconnector upgrades will also support the development of renewable generation in new energy zones across both states, as coal-fired generators retire and we transition towards a grid predominately supplied by renewable energy sources,” Mr Kean said.
“It’s another example of this government getting it done. The NSW Government and the Australian Government provided $102 million of joint-underwriting to facilitate and fast track this project.”