Greens say Labor and Coalition back corporate power over community rights

The Morrison Government and the Labor Party have thrown Australia under the bus in teaming up to pass the dodgy Trans-Pacific Partnership today, giving big corporations more power than elected Governments.

“Labor has abandoned its own party platform, Australian workers, our environment and our sovereignty in rolling over for the Morrison Government to pass the TPP,”  Greens trade spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“This is a deal for big corporations, at the expense of the rights of the community.

“The economic benefit to Australia from the TPP is something between nothing and a rounding error – while the cost to everyday Australians, and our environment, are huge.

“Our environmental policy limbo and action on climate change cannot be addressed without serious risk of multinational corporations suing our nation. If the US decides to re-join the costs of new cancer medications would go through the roof. And, as the deal stands, vulnerable workers from six nations will be put into jobs without offering them first to Australians looking for work.

“We cannot address the TPP’s most devastating failures – ISDS provisions and weak labour market testing – now the deal is done. Labor has squibbed the opportunity to do the right thing, and to hold the Morrison Government to account.

“We must, of course, be a trading nation, but what has happened today is chaining us to trade for the sake of multinational corporations and shareholder profits, rather than engaging in deals that help take our nation forward.”

Greens point to Medical Crisis on Nauru

The deportation of Australia’s chief medical officer from Nauru shows the entire regime of offshore detention is crumbling, Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim says.

“This is a humanitarian emergency, and Scott Morrison has lost control of his detention centres,” Senator McKim said.

“His entire offshore regime is crumbling before our eyes.”

“This deportation confirms that there is no way for Australia’s prisoners on Nauru to receive proper medical support.”

“The Greens’ legislation would require every child detained on Nauru, and their families, to be immediately brought  to Australia for the medical treatment they so desperately need.”

“Every MP – Liberal, Labor and crossbench, must act urgently to resolve this humanitarian crisis by supporting the Bill.”

238,000 Signature Petition Against Live Export tabled in Australian Senate

Australian Greens Animal Welfare Spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has today tabled more than 238,000 signatures from a petition in the Australian Senate calling on the Australian Government to ban live exports. Senator Faruqi has also called on Prime Minister Morrison to allow her bill to ban the worst aspects of the live sheep trade to be debated in the House of Representatives. Her bill passed the Senate last month.

Senator Faruqi said:

“The Greens having been pushing for an end to all live export because it is inherently cruel. And we aren’t going to let this issue go away.

“I want to thank the petition organiser Lisa Margetts, the hundreds of thousands of people who have signed this petition and the many more who have taken the time to visit, ring or email their MP demanding they take action.

“A vast majority of Australians are against live export because as we see time and time again, it is a cruel trade in misery that sees thousands of animals dying in terrible conditions.

“My bill to ban the worst aspects of the live sheep trade recently passed the Senate and is sitting in the House of Representatives, ready to be voted on. But the Prime Minister is blocking it.

“Even worse, Scott Morrison is approving new shipments during the Northern Summer, exactly the conditions that killed thousands of sheep. Australians have said very clearly they do not want a repeat of the horrific scenes we saw earlier this year,” she concluded.

Greens’ bill is PM’s chance to ‘act right now’ on ending discrimination for LGBT+ students

Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson Senator Janet Rice today said that voting for the Greens’ bill to end exemptions to anti-discrimination laws that allow religious schools to expel LGBT+ students is Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s chance to “act right now” and deal with this issue “once and for all”.

The Greens introduced the Discrimination Free Schools Bill 2018 into the Senate this afternoon.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison is right: we need to ‘act right now’ to end this unfair discrimination while both parties are feeling the pressure in Wentworth,” Senator Rice said.

“Under intense community pressure, both the Labor and Liberal parties have changed their position and are now talking big about removing discrimination against LGBT+ students and teachers from our laws.

“It’s time they turn their words into action and vote for the Greens’ bill to protect students, teachers and staff members from being expelled or fired by religious schools because of who they are.

“If we delay, we risk Scott Morrison caving into the conservatives and Bill Shorten selling out LGBT+ Australians once again after the Wentworth by-election and missing our opportunity to end this legal discrimination ‘once and for all’.

The Greens took removing these exemptions in anti-discrimination legislation for religious schools and organisations to the 2016 Federal Election.

Greens put fresh roadblock in way of Adani

Today a Greens motion passed the Senate demanding that the Government stop Adani’s pipeline application from being assessed until the federal investigation into their environmental breaches is concluded.

“It would be outrageous for Adani to continue seeking a fresh environmental approval when they’re being investigated for breaching the last one,” said Mining and Resources spokesperson for the Australian Greens, former environmental lawyer Senator Larissa Waters.

“You wouldn’t give an arsonist a fresh box of matches – so why should Adani get a fresh environmental approval when they’ve ignored the conditions of their last one.

“The very least we can expect of this useless government is to apply environmental laws equally to their big business donors.

“Adani’s application for a pipeline for 12.5 billion litres of water to wash their dirty coal is a slap in the face of drought-stricken farmers, whom the Prime Minister claims to be concerned about.

“The Environment Minister has now been sent a clear message by the Senate – stop giving Adani free passes when they’ve shown they can’t be trusted.

“The Environment Minister needs to remember she’s not a mining industry lawyer anymore, no matter how generous the mining companies are to donating to her political party.

“Of course, given the IPCC report this week it’s clear the world’s climate can’t take any new coal, and the Greens will continue to work to stop Adani and instead to transition to clean, job-rich renewable energy.”

Senator Waters’ motion today:  That the Senate—

  • a. notes that:
    • i. Adani Mining, as part of the Adani Group, is currently being investigated by the Department of the Environment and Energy for potential breach of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) Carmichael Mine approval conditions, for alleged unlawful clearing of vegetation and sinking of groundwater dewatering bores, and
    • ii. Adani Infrastructure, as part of the Adani Group, has applied for EPBC Act approval for a pipeline to bring water to the mine site for washing of the coal; and
  • b. calls on the Minister for the Environment, or her delegate, to not make a decision on the pipeline application until the results of the investigation and subsequent decision on whether to take enforcement action into the alleged mine site breaches has

If Scott Morrison works in good faith with Greens and Labor, we could end legal discrimination against LGBT teachers this week: Greens

Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson Senator Janet Rice today said that if Prime Minister Scott Morrison works in good faith with the Greens and Labor, the Parliament could end exemptions this week to Federal anti-discrimination laws that currently allow religious schools to fire LGBT+ teachers and staff because of who they are.

“For years the Greens have fought to remove exemptions to our laws that allow religious schools to expel students and fire teachers and staff members simply because of who they are,” Senator Rice said.

“I am pleased that following pressure from the community and the Greens, Labor today announced that they support the Greens’ position.

“Scott Morrison and the Liberals must now listen to the public and commit to working with the Greens and Labor to change our laws to not only stop students being expelled because of who they are, but to stop LGBT+ teachers and staff members from being sacked because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or gender diverse.

“If Scott Morrison works in good faith with the Greens and Labor, we could end these outdated exemptions by the end of this week.

“Our laws should protect LGBTIQ+ Australians from discrimination, not enshrine the right to discriminate against them.”

The Greens took removing exemptions from federal anti-discrimination law for religious organisations to the 2016 Federal Election.

Greens Say Senate must work together to clear the air on ABC interference

The cloud that hangs over the independence of the ABC has come no closer to being cleared following the release of the Government’s departmental review today.

“The Department report raises more question than answers about the issues plaguing the ABC. This review is a white-wash that attempts to save the Morrison Government from any scrutiny for the part it has played in the ABC’s leadership turmoil,” Greens media spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Today’s departmental review does not address the issues surrounding political interference between the Government, the ABC board and its leadership last month. This is not simply a tit for tat between the former Chair and Managing Director and must be investigated further.

“Without a Senate Inquiry into the political interference at the ABC,  there is a cloud over our beloved public broadcaster’s future independence.

“The ABC staff, and the Australian people, deserve better than this blatant political interference. For the future of a strong public broadcaster, we need to get this right and the Senate needs to work together.”

Governments must do more to end harmful LGBT+ conversion attempts: Greens

Following the release of the report into LGBT+ conversion attempts by La Trobe University, the Human Rights Law Centre and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, Greens LGBTIQ+ spokesperson Senator Janet Rice said governments must do more to stop these harmful practices.

“Gay and trans conversion practices are grounded in homophobia and transphobia. Conversion practices still exist in many forms across the country and are often insidiously hidden or dressed up as ‘mentoring’ or ‘counselling’,” Senator Rice said.

“These conversion practices are deeply harmful to LGBT+ people. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer young people already suffer worse mental health than their heterosexual and cisgender peers.

“LGBT+ people don’t need to change, society needs to change. No LGBT+ person should be made to feel shame or fear on account of their sexual or gender identity.

“Governments must do more to end these insidious and harmful practices and provide proper mental health and support services to LGBT+ people and survivors of these conversion attempts.

“The Greens have always stood alongside LGBT+ people in the fight for equality and against discrimination. We will look closely at this report’s recommendations to see what more we can do to support survivors of conversion attempts and put an end to these harmful practices.”

Greens call on Labor party: It’s not too late to defeat the TPP

The Australian Greens are calling on the Labor Party to dump its support of the dodgy TPP ahead of the debate in the Senate today.

“The dodgy TPP deal was designed by corporations, for corporations. It is baffling to Australian workers,  and the broader community, that the Labor Party has abandoned its base, and unions, to give this toxic trade deal the green light,” Greens trade spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Labor has an opportunity to say no to the TPP enabling legislation and back withdrawing from the agreement. Labor is trying to walk both sides of the street on the TPP. We can only address the TPP’s failures of ISDS provisions and weak labour market testing before the deal is ratified. It is not too late for Labor to do the right thing.

“It would be a gross affront to our sovereignty to allow a piece of legislation that gives corporations the right to sue us for, among other things, strengthening environmental law or developing sound policy to arrest climate change in the wake of the UN’s harrowing report.

“The Greens will fight to stop the TPP.  We will use the powers of the Senate to expose just how bad a deal this is and force Labor to decide between Australian sovereignty or rolling over for the Morrison Government.”

LABOR SAYS IT WILL GET MELBOURNE’S SUBURBAN RAIL LOOP ON A FASTER TRACK

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $300 million in the Suburban Rail Loop – getting the project going faster and creating jobs sooner.

Labor’s investment will support the development of a business case and get the planning work done quicker, enabling the construction to commence in 2022. The project will provide a major boost to the economy, creating 20,000 jobs in the construction phase alone and employing 2000 apprentices.

This is the sort of vision Melbourne needs – to keep up with the demands of Australia’s fastest growing capital city, investment in world-class, modern transport network is critical.

Melbourne is a great place to live and work. But between now and 2046, the city’s population is projected to grow to 7.3 million residents. Without proper planning and investment in the city’s roads and public transport infrastructure, the annual cost of traffic congestion will more than triple to $9 billion by 2030.

Labor understands how important it is to invest in decent public transport that will take the pressure off our cities, ease traffic congestion, and connect the suburbs and the regions – bringing jobs and apprenticeships along the way.

On completion, the Suburban Rail Loop will comprise of a 90 kilometre rail line through Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs via the airport, linking all of the city’s major train lines. It will connect the suburbs directly to major employment hubs, universities, TAFE and hospitals outside the city, making it much easier for Victorians to get around for work and recreation.

Labor’s investment will help finalise exact station locations, route alignments, rolling stock and staging, and get construction underway faster.

Expected to be used by 400,000 passengers a day, the project will take pressure off existing lines, as well as an estimated 200,000 cars off the city’s road network. Fewer cars on the road mean less congestion and shorter travel times.

Federal Labor’s investment follows expert analysis showing the project will slash travel times across the city. When complete, commuters will be able to travel from Box Hill to the airport in 25 minutes and to Monash Clayton in around 15 minutes. Travel from Broadmeadows to Deakin Burwood will be less than 25 minutes – connecting Victorians to education and work opportunities quicker and easier.

This commitment to the Suburban Rail Loop builds on Labor’s strong track record of delivering job-creating infrastructure that eases congestion for Victorians, and will match the funding commitment announced by the Andrews Labor Government in August this year.

Labor has made hard budget decisions to ensure our priorities are fully paid for – we will make multinationals pay their fair share and close unsustainable tax loopholes, because we want to build the cities and society that will give the next generation a better deal.