Greens Welcome Cosmetic Animal Testing Ban and Vow to Keep Up Pressure on the Government

Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Spokesperson for Animal Welfare, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has welcomed a ban on animal testing for cosmetics. A full ban is conditional on the Government enacting further measures outside Parliament, and Senator Faruqi has vowed to keep the pressure on the Government. The Greens have been at the forefront of pushing for a ban on cruel cosmetics for years, including introducing the first bill to ban animal tested cosmetics in 2014.

Senator Faruqi said:

“This is a great step forward for animals. Animals shouldn’t suffer and die to test cosmetics or other ingredients. I am proud that the Greens have been at the forefront of this campaign against cruel cosmetics.

“The Government had previously tried to pass a partial ban that would not have come close to ending animal testing. Thanks to the crossbench, the opposition and the Greens standing together, we have been able to extract commitments from the Government for a full ban. The Greens will be pursuing the Government relentlessly to ensure that it follows through with its commitments.

“Australia has lagged behind the world in banning animal testing which is both cruel and completely unnecessary.  People quite rightly expect that animals should not have to suffer significant pain and distress, and in many cases die, for cosmetics.

“I want to pay tribute to former Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon who introduced the first bill to ban animal testing for cosmetics and strongly pushed to protect animals from unnecessary and cruel procedures,” she concluded.

Infrastructure Australia priority list shows Morrison government leaving Australia in the electric vehicle slow lane, say Greens

The Morrison government is leaving Australia in the slow lane when it comes to preparing for the electric vehicle revolution, say the Australian Greens, following Infrastructure Australia’s listing of a rapid rollout of a national electric vehicle fast-charging network as one of its top priorities.

“The Morrison government is sitting by while other countries zip past us when it comes to encouraging EV uptake,” said Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens transport spokesperson.

“The world is experiencing an electric vehicle revolution that is transforming how we move people and goods, but Australian people and businesses need the government to show some leadership.”

“Infrastructure Australia says that electric vehicles are a “game changer” for improving national productivity and environmental benefits. So why isn’t the government doing more to get Australia on track?”

“It’s ludicrous that don’t already have a national charging network nor any plans for one.”

“The Labor party is no better, having endorsed a report of the Select Committee on Electric Vehicles that was short on detail and low on ambition.”

The Greens’ policy to get Australia back in the race is to put $150 million towards a national fast-charging network, as well as ambitious targets and incentives to drive the uptake of electric vehicles.”

Other Infrastructure Australia priorities include large investments in rail network upgrades in Melbourne and preserving a high-speed rail corridor between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

“The Greens would give priority to funding public transport and fast tracking high-speed rail. In contrast, Liberal and Labor are prioritising spending billions on polluting tollways, leaving people packed like sardines on trains, trams and buses.”

“This report is the canary in the coal mine that we must start seriously investing in 21st century public transport for our cities immediately.”

Secret Documents Reveal Government Interfered With Live Export Report

Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Spokesperson for Animal Welfare, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has revealed documents that show the Department of Agriculture had a role in editing and reviewing the review of its own culture. Senator Faruqi obtained the documents through an Order for Production of Documents into all draft versions of the “Review of the Regulatory Capability and Culture of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the Regulation of Live Animal Exports”, known as the Moss Review.  Fairfax coverage of the issue is available here.

Senator Faruqi said:

“This was a review of the Agriculture Department’s culture and performance and the fact that they had a role in influencing the report is completely unacceptable.

“It is blatantly obvious that the Department did everything in its power to try and weaken the report’s recommendations. That is not a regulator interested in animal welfare, it is a regulator interested in defending the cruel live exports industry.

“Whilst the Moss Review was quite rightly deeply critical of the Department of Agriculture as the regulator of live exports, the level of Agriculture Department involvement, even down to the detail of suggesting track changes of the document is deeply inappropriate.

“Live export is inherently cruel. The reality is that it cannot be regulated to meet community expectations on animal welfare. The only solution is to shut it down,” she concluded.

Greens motion calling on Morrison government to acknowledge harm caused by discriminatory treatment of LGBT defence force members passed by Senate

The Senate today passed a Greens motion calling on parliamentarians to acknowledge the personal and professional harm caused by discriminatory treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Australian Defence Force members.

“Until 1992, gay, lesbian and bisexual people were explicitly banned from serving in our defence forces,” said Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson.

“While the ban was in place, hundreds of defence personnel were investigated and dismissed from their jobs because of their actual or perceived sexuality or gender identity. For many this had profound personal and professional impacts.”

“It wasn’t until 2010 that transgender people were able to openly serve.”

“Last year the Greens wrote to the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister urging the government to provide an apology and implement a redress scheme to those former ADF members who were dismissed from their jobs, but the Defence Minister declined.”

“The Senate passing this motion is an acknowledgement of the harm caused by discriminatory treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender defence force members, but there is still so much more to be done. The Greens will keep pushing for an apology and a redress scheme for those affected. “

 

Motion

 

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that the Senate –

 

1. Notes that:

a.      Until 24 November 1992 gay, lesbian and bisexual people were explicitly banned from serving in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

b.      Between 1953 and 1992 at least 489 men and 165 women in the ADF were investigated for being LGBT. Data provided to parliament in 1992 on discharges between 1987 to 1992 revealed 73 honourable discharges of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and 21 dishonourable discharges of LGB people across Army, Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.

c.       A recent report by ACU Associate Professor Noah Riseman indicates that LGBT personnel were subject to harrowing interviews that probed intimate personal details and surveillance of movements during and outside of service hours. These practices saw LGBT service members humiliated and intimidated, forcing many of them to resign their posts or be dishonourably discharged.

d.      Lifting the ban in 1992 ended the threat of dismissal for lesbians, gays and bisexuals, but it did not grant equal treatment to LGB service members. Many Defence members still kept their same-sex relationships a secret for fear of bullying or other persecution.

e.      Transgender people continued to be subject to policies until September 2010 that required them to discharge if they intended to affirm their gender.

2. Calls on all parliamentarians to:

a.       Acknowledge the personal and professional harm that these policies have caused

b.      Recognise that discriminatory dismissals on account of sexuality or gender identity — suspected or otherwise — continue to impact the mental health and wellbeing of some affected ex-service members.

c.       Celebrates the contribution of the LGBTQ people who bravely served in the ADF despite these discriminatory policies

Greens’ Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission Bill before Senate

Australian Greens environment and water spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has this afternoon introduced a Bill to establish a Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin.

“I introduce this Bill today on behalf of the millions of Australians devastated by the mismanagement of the Murray Darling Basin, for the people without clean water to drink or watching fish die, and for taxpayers who have been continuously ripped off,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“The Government and Labor have an opportunity to be on the right side of history and support this Royal Commission. We know that corporate cotton, corruption and climate change are killing our river and it must be investigated.

“$13 billion and what we have is a dead river, corruption and no one knows where the water is that was meant to save the river. A Royal Commission is the only way to clean out the rot and hold those responsible to account.

“The National Party has overseen the death of the Murray Darling Basin. Their contempt for the environment, their favours for their big corporate irrigator mates, cannot continue unchecked.

“We need to know where the money has gone, where the water is, and why the river is dying. We need to investigate the effects that corporate cotton, corruption and climate change are still having on the river.

“The Greens push for a federal Royal Commission has a groundswell of support across the country, particularly from those on the frontline in affected river communities – people who have no clean water to drink or bathe in.

“We have to hold those who have done wrong by our river to account. There must be consequences for wrong-doing. We need a federal Royal Commission.”

Greens Establish Inquiry into National Horse Register

Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Spokesperson for Animal Welfare, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has successfully established a Senate inquiry into a national horse traceability register. As it stands, very little is known about the fate of the tens of thousands of horses bred each year.

The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee will run the inquiry and submissions will open soon.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

“The feasibility of a National Horse Traceability Register for all horses, with particular reference to:

(a) the existence and adequacy of state or industry-based registers;

(b) the benefits of a national register, including for animal welfare, biosecurity safety (including for the prevention and management of Emergency Animal Diseases, such as equine influenza and African Horse Sickness), backyard breeding and the integrity of trade in horses;

(c) overseas models of national tracking systems for horses;

(d) funding, enforcement and penalty implications; and

(e) any related matters.”

Senator Faruqi said:

“The establishment of this inquiry is a really exciting step forward to developing a system that can finally protect horses from neglect and cruelty as well as to increase safety. I urge everyone to come to the table to investigate what  a national horse register might look like.

“I really hope the racing industry puts their money where their mouth is and engages with this inquiry. If they are committed to lifetime protection for their horses, they should commit to full transparency.

“We have heard too many stories of race horses ending up being killed at knackeries when they are no longer wanted.

“A national register would benefit biosecurity, including for the prevention and management of Emergency Animal Diseases such as equine influenza and African Horse Sickness, improve safety for riders, tackle backyard breeding and combat rural crime,” she concluded.

LNP fails Murray Darling Basin

The Liberal National Government has shamefully stopped the Senate from delivering vital water back to the Murray Darling Basin today.

“The Liberal National Government’s refusal to lift the freeze on water buybacks is another nail in the coffin for our precious River. On day one of Parliament we could have done something to help our River, instead the Liberal National Party has failed it again,” Greens environment and water spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Water buybacks are the most economically efficient and environmentally effective way to return water, and health, to the River, as the South Australian Royal Commissioner and the Productivity Commission have said. The Senate today could have returned water to the River if it weren’t for a Liberal National Party protecting their corporate irrigator mates.

“If we continue with business as usual it the River will die. There are no jobs, no river communities and no agriculture on a dead river. This is a Government that is missing in action on saving the River.

“Former Water Minister Barnaby Joyce boasted that he took water away from the environment for his big corporate irrigator mates. The River is dying on the National Party’s watch and the Government refuses to act. Meanwhile, river communities are watching millions of fish, and our river, die before their eyes.

“We need water buybacks reinstated urgently, so we can give our River a drink. We need a federal Royal Commission, and tomorrow I will introduce a Bill to establish one. It is time to get to the bottom of what is killing the river; corporate cotton, corruption and climate change.”

GREENS INTRODUCE BILL FOR AUDIO DESCRIPTION ON AUSTRALIAN TV

Australian Greens Disability Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John will join representatives from an alliance of disability, consumer and media organisations, researchers and audio description providers to advocate for the introduction of audio description on Australian television.

Senator Steele-John will today introduce the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Audio Description) Bill 2018 to the Senate, which if passed would enable equal access to television for the 385,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision.

Senator Steele-John will be joined by former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes and representatives from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Blind Citizens Australia, the Centre for Inclusive Design, the Australian Blindness Forum, audio description provider The Substation, Curtin University of Technology and Vision Australia.

 

We must do more to save the natural world: Greens

Australia needs to step up its efforts to protect vulnerable and endangered species, including insects, to combat mass extinction and set an example for the rest of the world, the Greens say.

“The sharp decline in insect populations shows ecosystems across the world are struggling to survive. Insects play a vital role in our ecosystems and must not be forgotten in plans to save our threatened species,” Greens environment spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Insects that could be saved are headed toward extinction. If we don’t act swiftly this will be another great stain on our international reputation as well as the future of ecosystems we all depend on. We have an opportunity to be a leader in reversing the trend of extinction by protecting and preserving our ecosystems.

“Extinction is avoidable. Climate change and pesticides have been named as major contributors to the decline of our natural world. Not enough is being done to address these threats.

“Australia needs stronger environmental laws and to take serious action on climate change if we are going to do our part in protecting our natural world and the species that live on this planet.

“We could be world leaders, instead we have an anti-science, anti-climate change Prime Minister and Government while we hurtle toward this disaster. Its more clear than ever that need strong Greens representation in the Senate to hold the Government to account on environmental protections.”

PM’s peanuts for women fleeing violence

Resopnding to the Morrison Government’s announcement on DV and family violence today, Greens spokesperson for women, Senator Larissa Waters said:

“Six months into the job, the Prime Minister has finally mentioned domestic violence. However the paltry amount of funding announced shows he still doesn’t understand the seriousness of the issue and still hasn’t realised that the real terror threat and national security crisis is against women in their homes.

“Add another zero to the announcement and the women of Australia might start to take it seriously. But this Government is still the one who slashed frontline domestic violence services in 2014 and continues to routinely underfund and ignore women fleeing violence.

“What Australian women need to be safe is paid DV leave, a massive funding boost for frontline DV crisis services so no woman is turned away, leadership to drive cultural change, and decent funding for primary prevention of DV.

“Today’s announcement of $78m of funding comes after the Coalition’s massive cuts to frontline services and falls well short of what is actually needed.

“The Greens have renewed their commitment from last election to budget for a $5 billion DV package over 10 years, to give frontline response services, prevention programs and research the long term funding certainty they need.

“We can afford to do this, and with six women killed already this year, we can’t afford not to.”