Greens slam ‘Trumpesque’ decision to recognise West Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale has slammed the Prime Minister’s decision to formally recognise West Jerusalem as the Israeli capital as a foolish move that undermines genuine efforts at peace.

“The Prime Minister was roundly condemned when he first flagged this irresponsible thought bubble during the Wentworth by-election.  The fact that he has refused to back down in the face of overwhelming criticism, including from his own hand-picked advisory panel, is Trumpesque in its stupidity,” Di Natale said.

“The Greens have said time and time again that recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is another body blow for the peace process and for the Palestinian people. This decision rewards Israel’s Netanyahu Government for policies like rampant settlement building that not only break international law but also severely diminish the prospects of peace.

“Once again we are blindly following Donald Trump’s dangerous foreign policy agenda, with a decision that has already been near-universally rejected – by the United Nations, European and Middle Eastern leaders and religious leaders.

“Like the rest of the sensible international community, the Greens unequivocally condemn today’s decision. We urge the Australian Labor Party to confirm that they will overturn it as soon as it forms Government next year.  The best way to advance the prospect of peace in Israel and Palestine is to recognise a Palestinian state, and I sincerely hope that the ALP chooses to follow the advice of their foreign policy elders and commit to this policy at their national conference in the coming days.”

Urgent action needed to save Tassie’s East Coast reefs

The federal and state governments must take action to save Tasmania’s East Coast reefs.

“Our reefs are far too important to lose, but right now they are being devastated by urchin barrens and the rapidly warming waters of Tasmania’s East Coast,” Greens Senator for Tasmania Nick McKim said.

“Tasmania’s East Coast is one of the world’s ocean warming hotspots, and the destruction of our reefs will have widespread impacts on species that rely on them and the wider marine environment.”

‘A new report last week from IMAS stated that we have already lost 15% of our reefs. This is set to double in the next three years with an explosion of sea urchin numbers. Meanwhile, rock lobsters are down to 13% of original biomass.”

“For too long governments have put profits ahead of the environment and the public good.”

Tasmanian Greens MP Rosalie Woodruff said:

“This report shows the urgent crisis that is the state of the East Coast reefs. All Tasmanians need all levels of government to act urgently.”

“It’s past time for the government to take serious action to prevent climate change and any further loss of our reefs.”

“It’s great to see so many environmental groups standing together today to defend our reefs.”

South Australia must fight for 450GL delivery

The Australian Greens are calling on the South Australian Water Minister to come home from Friday’s Ministerial Council meeting with a commitment of the delivery of the 450GL promised to South Australia.

“South Australia mustn’t give in to the bullying from Victoria and New South Wales. Minister Speirs must fight for the delivery of the 450GL of water that South Australia’s was promised,” Greens water spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“We heard at the last hearing of the South Australian Royal Commission that state governments and the MDBA had all but admitted that SA would never get a  drop of the 450GL.

“The Victorian and New South Wales Governments have cooked up terms for the delivery of the 450GL that are virtually impossible to achieve. South Australia needs a fierce defender at today’s ministerial council meeting in Melbourne.

“The Murray Darling Basin Authority has today highlighted the risk that recovery measures will not be met by the June 2019 target. With a bleak history of mismanagement at the MDBA, non-compliance, rorting, water theft, and upstream states writing their own rules, it is little wonder this milestone will be missed.

“Water Minister David Speirs raised the white flag and came home empty-handed after the last meeting of Water Ministers. This is a chance at redemption.”

A sham ICAC from a sham government

Greens spokesperson for democracy Senator Larissa Waters said 10 years after the Greens first called for a federal anti-corruption body to oversee parliamentarians and the public service, the Morrison Government has finally got on board – but there’s so many catches.

“The Morrison Government’s proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission is the ICAC you have when you’re not really having an ICAC. It’s the poor cousin of the state ICACs and basically a Clayton’s ICAC,” Senator Waters said.

“The powers this new body would have are so weak it won’t change a thing, which is no doubt deliberate.

“It will be limited in what and who it can investigate, only looking into ‘criminal’ corruption and not regular, confidence-eroding, damaging corruption.

“And in a move that will only serve to increase distrust in federal politicians, all investigations and hearings will be in secret and there will be no retrospectivity or complaints taken from outside of government departments and agencies.

“The Eddie Obeid investigation started with an anonymous tip off – this would not be allowed under the Government’s model.

“It won’t be allowed to make any findings of corruption, and can only gather evidence and refer it on to other agencies – it’s like a glorified research assistant to the Department of Public Prosecutions.

“If the Government was serious about getting this done, it would have presented draft legislation. Instead it’s just a discussion paper designed to appear like the government is doing something, when clearly they have no intention of acting before the election to set up this body.

“Australians won’t be fooled – they will see straight through this sham body like they see through this sham government.

“Our Greens bill for a national anti-corruption commission with teeth, and our plan to end the influence of big money over politics, it’s what’s needed to actually help clean up politics and end the cronyism and corruption that typifies politics these days.”

Greens will leave no stone unturned to block government spending money on coal: Bandt

Greens will leave no stone unturned to block government spending money on coal: Bandt

Referring to Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s call for proposals for the government’s underwriting fund, Greens climate change and energy spokesperson Adam Bandt warned the government that the Greens will leave no stone unturned in efforts to block public money being spent on coal-fired power stations. Mr Bandt has introduced legislation to prohibit public money going to coal-fired power stations and flagged amendments to the government’s so-called ‘big stick’ bill that would also prohibit coal-fired power stations from receiving public money.

“If the government wants to use this fund to prop up coal, we’ll leave no stone unturned in trying to stop them,” said Mr Bandt.

“Public money shouldn’t be poured into coal at the expense of schools and hospitals.

“I have introduced legislation, supported by Labor and the crossbench, that would block public money from going to coal.

“If we can’t get my bill passed, we will attempt to amend the government’s ‘big stick’ bill.

“We can’t take any risks with our coal-cradling Prime Minister and the motley coal crew on the backbench.

“This power-sharing Parliament must act to stop the government from recklessly exposing taxpayers to huge liabilities by underwriting coal.

“Otherwise, taxpayers will be left paying for stranded assets while climate change gets even worse.”

Morrison’s new laws must not undermine anti-discrimination protections

A Religious Discrimination Act should not be used to undermine or override state based anti-discrimination laws, the Australian Greens say, following the release of the government’s response to the Ruddock Review.

Greens Justice spokesperson Senator Nick McKim said: “Religious freedom cannot be viewed in isolation, nor should it be used as a political weapon in an act of vengeance for the marriage equality vote.”

“Attorney-General Christian Porter has made it clear today he intends to override strong, state-based anti-discrimination laws which protect people from harm – this cannot be allowed to happen.”

“We need a Charter of Rights to balance the right to religious freedom against other important rights, such as freedom from discrimination.”

Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson Senator Janet Rice said: “Scott Morrison’s Religious Discrimination Act must not be a Trojan horse to expand discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, like his proposed discrimination in schools bill.”

“Discriminating against someone because they are LGBTQ+ is not religious freedom, it’s discrimination. Plain and simple.”

“The Prime Minister has already demonstrated he is out of touch with Australians who want discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in schools removed. Freedom of religion is not a licence to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.”

Australian Greens deeply concerned by deterioration of human rights in Bangladesh

The Australian Greens are deeply worried by the deteriorating human rights situation in Bangladesh, in particular the ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly against the media, students, activists and the opposition.

Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said problems were only worsening as Bangladesh approaches its general elections on 30 December.

“I have been very concerned by recent reports that the use of torture has become widespread in Bangladesh, and at news of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, politically-motivated detention and the excessive use of force,” Di Natale said.

“Members of the Bangladeshi community in Australia have told me that they are extremely worried about the situation in their homeland, and have little faith that the upcoming elections will be free and fair.  I have received a petition with nearly 800 signatures expressing their deep concern.

“In the lead-up to Bangladesh’s election later this month, I urge the Australian Government to join the Greens and local community members in publicly calling for free and fair elections in Bangladesh, so that people can fully exercise their democratic rights”.

Australian Space Agency to Adelaide

Australia’s Space Agency will be located in Adelaide, reinforcing South Australia’s long-standing contribution to the nation’s space journey.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said South Australia was a key hub for innovation and the technology industry, making it the ideal home for the new Agency.

“Australia’s space industry is set to hit new heights,” the Prime Minister said.

“This Agency is going to open doors for local businesses and Australian access to the US$345 billion global space industry.

“Our government’s $41 million investment into the Agency will act as a launching pad to triple Australia’s space economy to $12 billion and create up to 20,000 jobs by 203 0.

“This Agency is part of our plan for a stronger economy for South Australia and the country which is about delivering long-term, high-wage, high-skills jobs.”

The Agency, to be located at Lot Fourteen at the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, is also key to the new Adelaide City Deal, with a Memorandum of Understanding signed today by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, aimed at turbo-charging Adelaide’s economy and driving long term investment in the city.

Premier Marshall said long-term investment in Adelaide and its space sector would drive entrepreneurship and innovation while enhancing the city’s liveability.

“South Australia is the ideal location for the Australian Space Agency with a range of local space industry businesses already established here as well as a rapidly growing defence industry sector.

“Establishing the headquarters of the Austr alian Space Agency in South Australia will launch our space and defence sectors to the next level.

“I look forward to working with the Federal Government, industry and our education sector to capitalise on this incredible opportunity for our state.”

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said Adelaide was selected to host the Agency after putting forward the strongest case.

“South Australia is already home to more than 60 organisations and 800 employees in the space sector and this decision builds on the very strong technology and defence presence in the state,” Minister Andrews said.

“Australia’s science, research and technology sectors are key in improving the competitiveness of Australian businesses – and only under our government’s strategic and strong economic management can these flourishing sectors continue to expand.

“We are committed to growing Australia’s space sector, and our Government is also investing $260 million to develop world leading satellite capabilities, and to significantly increase GPS accuracy in our cities and regional areas.”

Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the redevelopment of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital will harness Adelaide’s greatest strengths – its cultural depth, research excellence and commercial potential.

“The Agency location and the Adelaide City Deal will align to allow better management of population growth and city planning,” Minister Tudge said.

“This will ensure jobs, infrastructure, services and public spaces are in place to create a faster-growing, productive and liveable Adelaide.”

“City Deals are about all three levels of government working together to drive the local economy and we are already see many cities benefitting from these deals including Darwin, Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney.”

The Australian Space Agency will be located in Adelaide by mid-2019 and is set to employ 20 full-time equivalent staff in Adelaide.

Additional information about the Agency can be found at www.space.gov.au. More information on the City Deal is available at https://citydeals.infrastructure.gov.au.

$1.25 BILLION TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH AND CARE OF AUSTRALIAN PATIENTS

The Liberal and Nationals’ Government will improve the health and care of patients right around Australia with a guaranteed $1.25 billion boost to health services.

This will provide more doctors, more nurses and more services in every state and territory.

This is the tangible benefit of strong economy and it’s why we are so committed to keeping our economy strong.

The $1.25 billion Community Health and Hospitals Program will fund projects and services in every state and territory, supporting patient care while reducing pressure on community and hospital services.

Under the program, our Government will partner with communities, states and territories, health and hospital services and research institutions to provide additional funding in four key areas:

  • Specialist hospital services such as cancer treatment, rural health and hospital infrastructure
  • Drug and alcohol treatment
  • Preventive, primary and chronic disease management
  • Mental health

The new program will complement our record investment in public hospitals.

Our funding for public hospitals will more than double from $13.3 billion in 2012–13 to $28.7 billion in 2024–25.

This is record public hospital funding delivering more doctors, more nurses and more services.

Our new five year National Health Reform Agreement will deliver more than $30 billion in additional public hospital funding from 2020–21 to 2024–25, taking overall funding during this period to $130.2 billion.

Three Liberal and three Labor state and territories have already signed up to the new agreement, accessing record funding.

A strong economy enables the Liberal and Nationals’ Government to invest in even more doctors, nurses and public hospital services – benefiting patients across Australia.

This is further supported by our record investment in Medicare, provision of medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to make them affordable for patients, and the breakthrough medical science occurring through the Medical Research Future Fund.

Foreign nationals forced to sell $380 million worth of illegally acquired real estate

The Coalition Government has forced the sale of more than 300 Australian properties, worth in excess of $380 million, that were illegally acquired by foreign nationals.

This is the result of the Government’s commitment to enforcing our rules, since giving the Australian Taxation Office responsibility for residential real estate compliance in 2015, and ensuring that foreign nationals illegally holding Australian real estate are held to account.

In total, 316 properties across every state were sold by foreign nationals in breach of the rules following ATO compliance action, from 2015 to October 31 this year.

The overwhelming majority are in Victoria, which recorded 144 forced sales of property valued in excess of $162 million, followed by New South Wales with 73 and Queensland with 64.

The foreign owners come from a range of countries including China, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India, the United States, Hong Kong, Italy and Germany.

The largest number of properties and value of divestments in a single year was recorded in 2017-18, with 131 properties worth $133.9 million sold by foreign nationals who had broken the rules.

In 2016-17, 96 properties valued at $96.8 million were sold, and in 2015-16, 54 properties valued at $61.5 million were sold.

Under our Government’s enhanced penalty regime the ATO has issued more than 1,500 penalty notices to people who have failed to obtain Foreign Investment Review Board approval before buying property as well as for breaching a condition of previously approved applications.

Ensuring foreign nationals play by the rules is part of the Government’s plan for a stronger economy.