Today the parliamentary inquiry into international armed conflict decision-making has released its report into the way Australia decides to go to an overseas war. 

This report fails to recommend any meaningful reforms and will continue to see the Prime Minister able to act unilaterally in sending Australians to war. 

Senator Jordon Steele-John, Greens spokesperson for Peace and Foreign Affairs said: 

“The inquiry report does nothing to stop the abuse of power that saw John Howard able to send Australians to an illegal war in Iraq in 2003 and it does nothing to add accountability to one of the most grave decisions a nation can make.

“The Greens strongly believe that the decision to send Australians to war should be with the parliament and not made in cabinet backrooms shielded from transparency or accountability to the Australian community. This position was supported by 94 of the 111 submissions to the inquiry. 

“In the last 25 years, we have seen governments led by both major parties unilaterally wage war across the Middle East in Australia’s name without the consultation of the parliament or the consent of the Australian people.

“There is deep irony in the fact that the instigating factor as to whether and where Australians have been deployed since 2001 has been a vote of elected American representatives, not our own.

“The Albanese government has broken its promise to the Australian community for a meaningful review of this process by having senior Ministers like Richard Marles and Penny Wong publicly undermine the committee’s work and investigation.

“This Labor government seems intent on reliving the mistakes of the past that have caused such human suffering by relying on an unfounded legal interpretation that lets the Prime Minister unilaterally send Australians to war without even approval from the Governor-General.

“History will remember this moment Labor’s missed opportunity to create meaningful change. Instead, they chose to maintain a status quo that could one day see Peter Dutton with an unchecked ability to wage war.”

More Information

  • Senator Steele-John is a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.
  • The committee conducted an inquiry into international armed conflict decision-making between September 2022 and March 2023. 
  • The final report is available, here
  • The Australian Greens dissenting report is available, here

Detention of Cheng Lei

Today marks one year since Australian citizen, Ms Cheng Lei, faced a closed trial in Beijing on national security charges.

12 months on, she is still waiting to learn the outcome of the trial.

We share the deep concerns of Ms Cheng’s family and friends about the ongoing delays in her case.

Our thoughts today are with Ms Cheng and her loved ones, particularly her two children.

The Australian Government has advocated at every opportunity for Ms Cheng to be reunited with her family.

Australia has consistently called for Ms Cheng to be afforded basic standards of justice, procedural fairness and humane treatment in accordance with international norms.

We will continue to provide consular support to Ms Cheng and her family, and to advocate for her interests and wellbeing.


We are pleased to announce that the Governor-General, His Excellency the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), has accepted the advice of the Government to appoint the Honourable Justice Debra Mortimer as Australia’s new Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia (Federal Court).

Justice Mortimer is only the fifth Chief Justice of the Federal Court and the first female Chief Justice appointed since the Court was established in 1976.

Justice Mortimer has served on the Federal Court since 2013. Her Honour’s appointment as Chief Justice will commence on 7 April 2023 upon the retirement of the Honourable Chief Justice James Allsop AC.

The Government congratulates Justice Mortimer on her appointment and looks forward to her distinguished contribution to the justice system as she leads the Federal Court.
The Attorney-General consulted extensively on the appointment, including all state and territory Attorneys-General, the heads of the Federal Courts and state and territory Supreme Courts, the Law Council of Australia, and the Australian Bar Association.

Justice Mortimer is widely recognised for her legal acumen, intellectual capacity and judicial leadership.

The Government is grateful to all members of the legal profession who provided nominations and assisted with its consideration of candidates for this very important role.

We also take this opportunity to thank Chief Justice Allsop for his outstanding judicial service. Chief Justice Allsop’s affiliation with the Federal Court first began in 1980 when he commenced his distinguished legal career as an associate to the inaugural Chief Justice, Sir Nigel Bowen. In 2001, Chief Justice Allsop was appointed as a judge of the Court, and spent several years on the Bench, before moving from the federal courts in 2008 to take up an appointment as President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal. In 2013, Chief Justice Allsop returned to the Federal Court, this time as Chief Justice, where he has since served with great distinction.

On behalf of the Australian Government we thank Chief Justice Allsop for his dedicated service to the Federal Court and broader contribution to the Australian legal system, and wish him all the very best for the future.


The Greens have today introduced the Ending Poverty in Australia (Antipoverty Commission) Bill 2023 to the Senate. The bill lays out a legislative framework for the interim Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, but without the glaring problems of the current model. 

If passed, the Anti-Poverty Commission would provide Parliament with independent and transparent advice on the causes of poverty in Australia, how to reduce it, and advice on the minimum levels for social security payments, including JobSeeker, the Parenting Parent, Youth Allowance, the Age Pension, and the Disability Support Pension. 

This advice would be given by independent Commissioners, appointed in consultation with state and territory ministers, and under scrutiny of a Joint Parliamentary Committee, as is done with the ANAO and the NACC. 

The bill also includes a legislated requirement to establish a National Poverty Line, which will enable the Commission to refer to a benchmark when measuring poverty and reviewing social security payments.

If passed, this would be an historic and important step towards ending poverty, marking the first time an Australian government has adopted an official poverty line.

Senator Janet Rice, Greens social services spokesperson said:

“Right now, woefully inadequate government payments are leaving millions of women, children, uni students, jobseekers and renters in poverty.

“Australia needs a fully independent, transparent and representative commission to advise the Parliament on our social security system and what needs to be done to fix it.

“While the Greens support the concept of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, Labor’s current model is led by a former minister with members appointed entirely at the Government’s discretion, and is constrained by needing to take into account  the government’s current  policies. 

“It’s unclear if anyone on the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee has any lived experience of poverty or surviving on social security payments. It does currently include the Chair of the Business Council of Australia.

“In contrast  the Commissioners of the Anti-Poverty Commission would be free to give advice based on the evidence, and not be caged-in by the Government’s fiscal strategy and existing policies.

“Australia needs a national definition of poverty, one that takes into account different needs and contexts, and one that the government can be held accountable to.

“For far too long, governments have used the lack of an accepted measure of poverty as an excuse to keep people living on inadequate payments.”

Opportunity for jobs and housing in regionally significant Broadmeadow precinct

City of Newcastle will begin planning for the renewal of Broadmeadow as a regionally significant growth area providing new housing and job opportunities during the next 20 years alongside the proposed sporting and entertainment precinct at Hunter Park.

Broadmeadow has been identified in the NSW Government’s Hunter Regional Plan 2041 as a regionally significant growth area. Its central location can support diverse and affordable housing options, and become a nationally significant sport and entertainment precinct for Greater Newcastle and the Hunter.

Council last night unanimously endorsed to prepare a draft Place Strategy in partnership with the Department of Planning and Environment and will now engage with multiple stakeholders including the community to seek input about their vision for the area.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Place Strategy will help set the vision, direction and guide where key infrastructure and services should be located within Broadmeadow.

“Broadmeadow’s central location, existing and future public transport opportunities, Government-owned land and large industrial sites offer significant opportunity for open space and community facility improvements along with providing essential housing and the creation of jobs,” Cr Nelmes said.

“City of Newcastle is working in close partnership with the NSW Government to ensure that the Department of Planning and Environment proposal to rezone land for additional housing within the precinct fits with the overall vision for this regionally significant area.

“Over the coming months, City of Newcastle will be encouraging locals who live, work and play in Broadmeadow to provide input to help shape the vision to guide future change.

“We want to better understand the precinct’s unique opportunities and we’ll achieve this by engaging with our local community while also utilising a range of technical studies to support planning for Broadmeadow’s future to create a new and enhanced place for the community to use and enjoy for years to come.”

Executive Director Planning & Environment Michelle Bisson said the Place Strategy will look holistically at the precinct.

“We will be considering infrastructure, opportunities and constraints, as well as the planning matters in order to enhance the area for both current and future residents. It will be used to guide future planning proposals and development in the area,” Ms Bisson said.

Residents in and around the Broadmeadow precinct will receive a brochure with more information about the planning process and how they can get involved, including through an online survey and future information sessions.

A report will be presented to the elected Council in late 2023 to publicly exhibit the draft Broadmeadow Place Strategy for further comment.

The Housing Australia Future Fund: A flawed proposal for a rental crisis

Judith Sloan, economist and regular contributor for the Australian recently wrote an excellent expose on the Federal Government’s flawed housing plan. We have looked at Ms Sloan’s concerns, and agree that she has summarised One Nation’s position well.

The rental housing market in Australia has been facing tremendous pressure due to long waiting times for social housing and rising rents. Given this situation, it is not surprising that the federal government is seeking to throw money at the problem, the Greens are barking at their heels on the left and soaking a lot of votes over rental prices. Australians are hurting in an environment entirely of Labor’s making – high inflation (including in the housing sector) because of excessive government spending and exploding immigration.

However, one of Labor’s proposed solutions – the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) – has been criticised as one of the most imprudent government policies ever suggested.

The plan is for the government to raise $10bn in debt and get the Future Fund to invest the funds. The net returns will then be invested in social and affordable housing each year. From the expected average annual return of $500m, the plan is to invest in a total of 6000 social and affordable dwellings each year. However, these numbers are extremely modest considering that at the current rate of population growth, we need at least around a quarter of a million new homes just to accommodate the extra people. It is also estimated that there are at least a half-million people on the current waiting lists for social housing.

Furthermore, at $500m each year, it works out as just more than $83,000 a dwelling funded by HAFF each year. This sum is not enough to cover the full costs of construction and land. Will this sum be used to subsidise other financiers by, for example, subsidising the gap between the market and actual rents paid by low-income tenants? It is unclear what the government thinks it can achieve by allocating just more than $83,000 a dwelling.

The HAFF is essentially a bet on the equity risk premium that generates higher returns than the cost of the debt. If this were really a good idea, it should be extended to all forms of government spending, which, of course, no one thinks is a good idea. The only explanation seems to be the political value of cashing in on the Future Fund brand and having a perpetual entity.

In the meantime, the rental crisis is becoming grimmer as each month passes. The vacancy rates in many parts of the country are at historic lows, and the annual rate of increase in rents ranges from 10 to 30 per cent. Rents are gobbling up higher proportions of tenants’ incomes, for those who can find suitable accommodation in the first place.

Just when it’s clear that the rental situation is dire and becoming worse, the federal government has facilitated a substantial surge in the number of migrants entering the country, particularly international students but other temporary entrants as well. Before the pandemic, the annual net overseas migration (long-term arrivals minus long-term departures) was 240,000 in 2019. On current trends, NOM will end up between 350,000 and 400,000 this calendar year. Combined with natural population growth, that’s more than the entire population of Canberra – although the migrants don’t live in Canberra but largely in Queensland (also Melbourne and Sydney).

The Treasurer has tried to justify this surging migration by making the point that there was a substantial hiatus during Covid, and we are only making up for the “lost” arrivals. What he fails to mention is that the pandemic was also associated with a substantial stalling in the building of new accommodation that is needed to accompany strong population growth. In other words, the last thing we should do is try to make up for these “lost” arrivals. It’s a clear case of the government implementing inconsistent policies.

The HAFF is ill-conceived and won’t do anything to alleviate the rental crisis any time soon. It’s also too small to have any real impact. On the other hand, egged on by pro-immigration Treasury officials and other vested interests, the government has decided to open the floodgates for even more migrants to come here and take homes away from Aussies desperate for accommodation.


The Australian Senate has formally backed a proposal from Australian Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John to hold a Senate inquiry into attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) assessment and support services in Australia.

Senator Jordon Steele-John proposed the inquiry in the hope of addressing common barriers to adequate ADHD assessment and care, as well as establishing possible policy interventions to improve accessibility and outcomes in this space. 

Around a million Australians are directly impacted by ADHD, a widely misunderstood neurodevelopmental disability that can cause significant impairment and dysfunction in people’s lives.

Senator Jordon Steele-John, Australian Greens spokesperson on Disability Services, Health and Mental Health said:

”Last year more than 10,000 ADHD community members answered my call to share their experiences with the healthcare system.

“The results are confronting to say the least, identifying significant access barriers to ADHD assessment and support services in Australia. 

“In particular, a large proportion of respondents shared issues with cost, wait time and stigma from their healthcare providers.

“The serious long-term impacts of ADHD are well-established, yet we have not seen a single substantive conversation about the condition in Parliament over the past five years.

“We must urgently address the gap between what the ADHD community needs and what it’s actually receiving. 

“I am thrilled that the parliament has agreed on the need for this inquiry. On behalf of the one million Australians being left behind every single day, I hope this inquiry will create recommendations and urgent action to improve outcomes for people with ADHD.”


Senator Jordon Steele-John has today moved a vote on his Private Senators Bill the Defence Amendment (Parliamentary Approval of Overseas Service) Bill 2020. The bill would require parliamentary approval for the deployment of ADF personnel overseas. 20 years on from the invasion of Iraq and in the shadow of the AUKUS political deal, it is more important than ever that Australians know who exactly is deciding to go to war. 

Senator Jordon Steele-John, Greens spokesperson for Peace and Foreign Affairs said: 

“Over the last 20 years, the Prime Minister and Cabinet have time and time again unilaterally decided to follow the United States into conflicts like Afghanistan and Iraq with disastrous outcomes.”

“In 2003, John Howard was able to send Australians to fight an illegal war in Iraq despite the overwhelming opposition of the community because of legal loopholes and a system that lacks any accountability or transparency.” 

“Instead of taking the time to reflect on the invasion of Iraq and how we can avoid repeating the same mistakes, the Albanese government seems determined to repeat them by refusing any meaningful reform.”

“We urgently need to reform the way Australia goes to war so that we are never again dragged to war based on the lies of politicians. The Greens want to see a vote in the parliament before ADF troops are deployed overseas, and an end to military pacts like AUKUS that will drag us into wars we shouldn’t participate in. “

“The community want to see change, 87% of Australians want to see parliament have final approval of the decision to go to war. It’s disappointing, yet not surprising, that the Albanese government joined with the Liberals and voted no. =

“Australian Labor refused to listen to the Australian people, their own membership and former Labor Prime Minister Simon Crean – who all want reform.“


Falling inflation shows the Reserve Bank has no justification to again raise interest rates next week, Greens Economic Justice spokesperson Senator Nick McKim says.

“Today’s figures are the strongest indication yet that inflation has peaked.”

“For months the RBA has used the spectre of a wage-price spiral to justify repeated and unnecessary rate hikes,” Senator McKim said.

“That spectre has now been banished.”

“By the RBA’s own admission current high inflation was always a supply side problem.”

“Rate rises were never the right tool to tackle this bout of inflation.”

“And now that inflation is coming down, the rate rises must stop.”

“The RBA, aided and abetted by a do-nothing Labor Government, has inflicted massive pain on renters and mortgage holders with this unnecessary rate hike cycle.”

“Next week we will see if the RBA is finally prepared to act in the best interests of Australians instead of blindly following the rest of the world towards a recession.”


The Greens welcome the introduction of family law amendments aimed at putting children’s welfare first in family law matters.

After years of inaction, and unnecessary, damaging inquiries, steps to address the regressive Howard era changes to the family court system are long-overdue.

The women’s safety sector and legal advocates have long called for a child-safety focussed court and we look forward to these reforms moving closer to that goal. But these outcomes can only be achieved with adequate resources, and both the Federal Circuit and Family Court and the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children remain woefully underfunded.

Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters said:

“Finally, after years of wasted time and damaging misinformation campaigns – including Pauline Hanson’s toxic family law inquiry – we may start to see real improvements to the family law system.

“Since the Howard government re-wrote Australia’s family laws in 2006, we have seen the presumption of shared care weaponised, instead of the best interests of kids coming first.

“Gendered violence is at the core of many cases in the family law system, and we know children frequently bear the brunt of violent relationships and protracted legal matters.

“We look forward to supporting amendments based on expert advice, instead of the political grandstanding that has traumatised victim-survivors, put children at risk, and provided a platform for hate and misinformation.

“The Greens will review the proposed amendments and work with stakeholders and the government to ensure a strong, fair, and safe family law system.

“While these reforms are welcome, without more funding to courts and frontline family and domestic violence services, delays, unequal representation and lack of support will continue to put women and children at risk.

“The only way to strengthen the outcomes and timeliness of family law matters is to ensure they are heard by experienced, specialist judges. Funding for judicial training, as well as wraparound support services including safe rooms, risk screening and triaging programs, and cultural liaison workers are essential to the success of any reform.

“If the Attorney General wants these reforms to work, his government needs to stump up the funding for them to do so.”