Buckingham ejected from Upper House after Minister uses racist slur to defend Needles Gap dam

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham was today ejected from the Legislative Council until the end of the current sitting by President Don Harwin, after a fiery exchange about the proposed Needles Gap Dam during Question Time.
Mr Buckingham asked Minister Duncan Gay to name one potential user of the proposed Needles Gap Dam.  Mr Gay quoted from an anonymous online commenter on a Central Western Daily article called 'Leafman' who wrote: "We just cannot go back to running around the bush with spears and boomerangs!"
"It's offensive for the Leader of the Government in the House to use what is clearly a racial slur to attack those who question the need for this dam," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Coalition and Labor gag debate on live exports

Coalition and Labor Senators have combined to prevent the Greens spokesperson for animal welfare Senator Lee Rhiannon from speaking to her motion to strengthen welfare regulation for live exports to Egypt.
After outlining why they supported the resumption of the Egypt live export trade, Labor and the Coalition supported a gag motion to stop all further debate - preventing the Greens and minor parties from speaking.
"The Greens disallowance motion would have blocked The Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry (Export of Live-stock to Egypt) Repeal Order 2014 which removes our ability to track the animals through the export chain to ensure that they are being treated within any standard of welfare," said Senator Rhiannon.
"This tracking ability has actually been one of the ways that Animals Australia has been able to reveal the failure of the ESCAS. So it is not hard to see why Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce wants this weakened.
"In putting forward this regulation, Minister Joyce is attempting to reduce scrutiny and assist cover-ups of animal cruelty.

WorkCover bullying inquiry shows regulator failing on all levels

The report released today by the Parliamentary Committee inquiry into WorkCover bullying confirms what many  workers and WorkCover employees have known for some time - it is an organisation in chaos with an entrenched culture of bullying that is failing in its task of protecting NSW workers.
Greens MP and Industrial Relations Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
"When the Greens called for this inquiry it was in response to many concerning reports of bullying within WorkCover.
"With this unanimous report it is now a matter of public record that bullying within WorkCover is rife and senior management have consistently failed to address this.
"WorkCover, which is meant to be regulating work safety across the state, has shown itself unable to even address bullying in its own ranks.

Tables more than 1,300 Signatures Calling for the Return of Public Transport for the Northern Rivers

Greens NSW MP and Transport Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has today tabled more than 1,300 signatures in State Parliament calling on the Government to provide regular commuter train services using diesel railcars.

"In just a few months, the Northern Rivers Greens have collected more than 1,300 signatures from locals who are demanding a return of the rail line.

"The studies that the government has released on reinstating the line have quite deliberately inflated the cost of reinstating the rail, with the 900 million dollar estimate being more than half made up of 'contingencies'.