Fair Trading Minister compromised consumer safety

As more evidence emerges about the sacking and reinstatement of NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe, it is hard to see how Minister Mathew Mason-Cox can continue in his job, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

('Commissioner back, minister under fire', Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July, page 11, http://j.mp/smh140711)

Dr Kaye said: "Having mishandled the original media opportunities around the tragic death of a young woman using a USB charger, Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox attempted to shift the blame for his own incompetence onto a well-respected and highly effective bureaucrat.

"The result has been chaos in a critical frontline government agency.

What will it take for Barnaby Joyce to take action on animal cruelty?

Greens welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has rejected Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce's attempt to shut down scrutiny of animal cruelty.

Animal welfare group PETA has released footage which shows sheep being punched, kicked and hit with electric shears and a hammer.

"Mr Joyce's attack on PETA is a crude attempt to avoid cleaning up farming practices," said Senator Rhiannon.

"The Minister's questions about where the camera was placed and if the abusers knew if they were being filmed fails to deal with the cruelty issue and is unhelpful for the majority of farm workers who care for their animals.

"This is why Mr Joyce is trying to introduce his ag-gag laws - he wants to punish people who expose cruelty to animals with harsher penalties than to those who actually commit the violence.

Caroona coal mine fails Gateway: Now government must lock the gate

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining and agriculture, Jeremy Buckingham today called on the NSW Government to lock the gate on the Caroona Coal mine after the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel found that the proposed coal mine would have direct and significant impacts on strategic agricultural land and highly productive groundwater on the Liverpool Plains. He called for Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to step in if the NSW Government fails to act.

"The Gateway Panel report is damning and clearly fails this mine proposal as totally unviable if we want to protect our best agricultural land on the Liverpool Plains," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"This coal mine has failed 6 out of 6 critical criteria, indicating that mining coal under our most productive cropping and and important water resources is a terrible idea.

Senate passes Greens motion for public release of secret Senate voting system

The Australian Senate has passed a Greens motion that will require the Australian Electoral Commission to release information on how the Senate vote is counted and correspondence on why a FOI claim on this issue was refused.

The motion requires the AEC to publicly release the source code of the software used to count the Senate vote. Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon moved the motion after the AEC knocked back an FOI request by Michael Cordover and then declared him a vexatious litigant.

Senator Rhiannon said "There is no justification for the AEC refusing to release information on how the Senate vote is counted. It is widely known that it is very complex so surely the methodology used should be publicly available.

"The AEC are not only doing the wrong thing in refusing a legitimate FOI request. In the wake of the WA federal election debacle they are further damaging their own reputation.