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.

Teacher charged with grooming Hunter schoolboy

A teacher will be in court today charged over the alleged grooming and indecent assault of a 15-year-old schoolboy at a high school in the Hunter region.

On Wednesday (13 February 2019), officers from Lake Macquarie Police District were told a 26-year-old female teacher had allegedly been sending explicit images of herself to a student at a high school where she was employed.

Following inquiries, the woman was arrested at a home in Wyee at 11pm yesterday (Thursday 14 February 2019), and taken to Toronto Police Station.

She has now been charged with,

• Groom child for unlawful activity

• Aggravated indecent assault – victim under the age of 16

• Aggravated sexually touch another person (three counts).

The woman has been refused bail to appear in Toronto Local Court today (Friday 15 February 2019).

Charges laid after two men assaulted during alleged carjacking – Newcastle

A man will fact court today charged after two men, aged 72 and 83, were allegedly assaulted during a carjacking in Newcastle.

As a 72-year-old man went to enter his car, parked in Wood Street, Newcastle West, he was approached from behind and allegedly assaulted by a 32-year-old man just after midday yesterday (Thursday 14 February 2019).

The older man fled the area and sought assistance from a nearby business.

The younger man then allegedly entered a vehicle parked directly behind, before assaulting an 83-year-old man sitting in the passenger seat.

The 32-year-old man drove the car to Hunter Street and ordered the older man to leave the vehicle, which he complied with.

Officers from Newcastle City Police District initiated a pursuit, which was terminating shortly after for safety reasons.

Detectives, with assistance from the Dog Unit, arrested the 32-year-old man a short time later on Brown Street, Raymond Terrace.

He was charged with stalk/intimidate intend fear physical harm, assault with intent to take/drive motor vehicle (x2), and police pursuit – not stop – drive recklessly.

The man was refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court today (Friday 15 February 2019).

Man charged with murder following death of baby boy in the Hunter region

A man will face court today charged over the alleged murder of a baby in his care in the Hunter region at the weekend.

Police and emergency services were called to a home on Fairfield Avenue, New Lambton, just after 4.30am on Saturday (9 February 2019), following reports a six-month-old boy had gone into cardiac arrest.

The child was taken to John Hunter Hospital in a critical condition. Despite the efforts of hospital staff, the boy died late on Sunday (10 February 2019).

Detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad and Newcastle City Police District, assisted by the Homicide Squad, established Strike Force Wandearah to investigate the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.

A post mortem examination determined the child died as a result of a traumatic head injury.

Following extensive inquiries, police arrested a 28-year-old man at Budgewoi about 12.20pm yesterday (Wednesday 13 February 2019).

He was taken to Wyong Police Station, where he was charged with murder and reckless grievous bodily harm.

The New Lambton man was refused bail to appear at Wyong Local Court today (Thursday 14 February 2019).

Investigations are continuing.

The Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate matters against children and adults, including sexual assault, serious physical abuse, and extreme cases of neglect.

Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. People should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

NSW TO HALVE HOMELESSNESS BY 2025

The NSW Government has signed a global agreement to halve street homelessness across the State by 2025.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward, together with service providers and the City of Sydney, signed the agreement today at NSW Parliament, making Sydney the tenth city to join the fight against street homelessness.

“We are working hard to break the cycle of homelessness with the latest street count showing a significant reduction in the number of rough sleepers in Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We have already invested $1 billion in funding for homelessness services over four years to break the cycle of homelessness, but we cannot become complacent and by signing this agreement we are pushing ourselves to do even more.

“We know that homelessness is not just a city issue, which is why we have set this target to halve street homelessness across the entire State by 2025.

“Homelessness is a complex social issue that cannot be solved by government alone – that’s why we will be inviting the best and brightest from the frontline and from the community to collaborate with us to find new ways of tackling street homelessness.”

The ‘A Place to Call Home’ initiative – founded by the Institute of Global Homelessness – will support homelessness services in Sydney to set goals and strategies to reduce rough sleeping numbers and to measure and track their progress.

Chair of the Institute Dame Louise Casey said ‘A Place to Call Home’ gives cities a focused way to share knowledge among leaders who might not otherwise learn about each other’s work.

“There is an emerging global movement to end homelessness and NSW is leading by example and will help other cities around the world set ambitious, achievable goals to end street homelessness,” Ms Casey said.

The City of Sydney last year recorded the lowest number of people sleeping rough in five years – evidence that the NSW Government’s record spending and intensive outreach efforts are helping more people facing homelessness to find housing and support.

The NSW Government’s assertive street outreach program in Sydney has already housed nearly 300 rough sleepers since May 2017 and 94 per cent have successfully maintained their tenancies for more than 12 months.

Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward said the drastic drop in people sleeping rough in Sydney in 2018 showed the Government’s focus on prevention and early intervention was working.

“Homelessness is not a simple issue to solve – you cannot simply put a person who has been sleeping on the streets for years into a home and expect it to work – you need to give them the right wraparound support,” Ms Goward said.

“Complex mental health and substance abuse issues are often the underlying causes of homelessness which is why we are focusing on early intervention.”

The NSW Homelessness Strategy sets the direction for the next five years, focusing on prevention responses that address the root causes of homelessness and early intervention responses that will reduce the longer-term impact of homelessness.

Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich said: “The issue of homelessness in NSW needs urgent attention and the setting of this target and signing of this agreement kick starts this vital action.”

The following parties have signed the agreement:

  • NSW Government
  • City of Sydney
  • Institute of Global Homelessness
  • St Vincent de Paul, St Vincent’s Health, Mission Australia, Salvation Army, Wesley Mission, Neami National, Yfoundations.

SERVICE NSW TO TURBOCHARGE CUSTOMER SERVICES

Service NSW will expand its footprint across Sydney with the rollout of 10 new Service Centres, and more than 150,000 people in regional and remote NSW will have easier access to NSW Government services, with four one-stop shop Service NSW buses hitting the road.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will add the new centres in Sydney’s growth suburbs to ensure everyone has access to a conveniently located Service NSW outlet.

The new buses will be on the road for up to 46 weeks a year and reach 14 Local Government Areas where Service NSW has no existing physical presence.

“These buses will take Service NSW to people’s front steps, saving them not only time, but also money,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“These buses will also massively expand Service NSW’s reach across the State and make it even easier for our customers to complete Government transactions and access our cost of living support.

“Service NSW already reaches more than 98 per cent of NSW residents but we’re determined to reach every corner of the State.”

Service NSW was introduced in 2013 by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government as a one-stop shop for vital services such as getting a birth certificate, Seniors Card, driver licence and renewing vehicle registration.

It is also a gateway to household savings and can help people access important cost of living programs, such as Free Rego, Energy Switch and $100 Active Kids and Creative vouchers.

Mr Dominello said: “Labor puts middle managers first while the Liberals & Nationals always puts the customer at the heart of everything we do.

“The bad old days of waiting hours to complete a simple Government transaction, such as renewing your driver licence, are over. These new Service NSW buses will be able to provide all the services currently available at most centres, including appointments with cost of living specialists and Driver Knowledge Tests.

“They’ll roll through towns with advanced notice, so locals will know when to expect a visit and what documentation is required to perform their transaction. They will also be called out in times of emergency such as natural disasters.”

The NSW Government has given back more than $200 million to people in NSW over the last year alone through its various cost of living rebates and incentives. Highlights include:

  • More than 460,000 people have downloaded the real-time FuelCheck app, which could save drivers $500 a year;
  • 1 million Active Kids vouchers (worth $100 million) have been issued; and
  • Around 60,000 drivers have claimed $25 million in free car rego.

Each vehicle will have its own regular route, with exact routes to be determined. Further information on Service NSW is available at www.service.nsw.gov.au

Locations of the new Service NSW Centres are:
•    Merrylands
•    Randwick
•    Revesby
•    Northmead
•    Engadine
•    Glenmore Park
•    Prestons/Edmondson Park
•    Roselands
•    North Sydney
•    Schofields

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.”