Abbott under pressure to wind up Free Enterprise Foundation

The Greens are calling for the controversial Liberal party slush fund, the Free Enterprise Foundation, to be shut down.
Greens spokesperson for democracy Senator Lee Rhiannon said "the Free Enterprise Foundation is toxic to democracy with this fund raising arm of the NSW Liberals laundering more than $700,000 for that party.
"There is now overwhelming evidence before ICAC of the role of Free Enterprise Foundation in funnelling money into the NSW Liberal Party from banned donors.
"Geoffrey Watson, SC counsel - assisting ICAC, has stated that the Free Enterprise Foundation has been used to 'disguise donations from prohibited donors'.
"This alone should be a good reason for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to instruct his party to shut down this secretive fundraising body.

NSW Government Must Oppose Shooters Native Vegetation Bill or Risk a Return to Broadscale Clearing

Greens MP and Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has called on the Government to oppose a Shooters and Fishers Party bill that would gut the Native Vegetation Act and risk returning NSW to the bad old days of broadscale clearing. The Government cabinet will reportedly meet today to take a position on the bill.
Dr Faruqi said:
"The Government must oppose this destructive Shooters bill. If it doesn't, it will merely confirm that this is the most anti-environment Government NSW has seen.
"Just a few weeks back, the Environment Minister reaffirmed that he had carriage of the Native Vegetation Act. It is now time for him to show leadership and commit the Government to opposing this bill which would devastate out natural environment.

Greens fight to protect regional higher education in Lismore

During a visit to Lismore today, Australian Greens spokesperson for higher education, Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens candidate for Lismore, Adam Guise confirmed the Greens would vote to block the Coalition’s $5 billion cuts to higher education that will increase student fees and devastate regional communities.
Mr Guise said: “The Coalition’s budget cuts will rip $60 million in funding out of Southern Cross University, leading to staff cuts, course cuts and severe impacts on education quality.
“There are nearly 15,000 students studying at Southern Cross and almost 1000 staff who are incredibly anxious about the possibility of these cuts becoming law.
“Most of the students at Southern Cross are from regional areas and the university plays a crucial role in training up teachers and nurses who go on to work in regional areas.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that the Nationals voted with the Liberals in the House of Representatives to pass these cuts and sell out regional NSW. The Greens will continue campaigning on the ground to make sure these cuts don’t pass the Senate and become law.”

Time for Baumann to face the music

Evidence heard at ICAC on the final day of public hearings last Friday should give cause for Port Stephens MP Craig Baumann to reconsider his position in the NSW parliament, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Dr Kaye said: "Mr Baumann admitted to the ICAC that he created a sham invoice in attempt to hide $79,684 in secret donations from developers Jeff McCloy and Hilton Grugeon before the 2007 election.
"The admission is telling. The secrecy is very hard to explain unless Mr Baumann thought he was doing something wrong.

NSW Government Repeating M5 Mistakes with WestConnex and NorthConnex

Greens MP and Roads Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has stated that the Government is repeating the mistakes of the M5 with the expensive and unnecessary WestConnex and NorthConnex projects.
Dr Faruqi said:
"NSW Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, has today said that M5 East Tunnel is a monument on how roads should not be constructed, whilst at the same time wasting billions of dollars on wasteful motorways and polluting smokestacks.

Greens MP Urges Government to heed CSIRO Report on Litter and Introduce Container Deposit Scheme

Greens MP and Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has urged the NSW Government to listen to CSIRO and introduce a Container Deposit Scheme. The CSIRO report, 'Understanding the Effects of Marine Debris on Wildlife' released today calls the South Australian container deposit scheme  "an effective policy for reducing litter" which has led to South Australia having the lowest proportion of beverage container litter in cleanups in Australia, three times less than NSW, which has the highest proportion.
Dr Faruqi said:
"Today's CSIRO report shows that NSW has the highest proportion of beverage containers on clean-up sites, and South Australia the lowest. This should be a wakeup call for the NSW Government to introduce a South-Australian style container deposit scheme to prevent beverage litter.
"CSIRO has specifically identified the Container Deposit Scheme as an effective policy in reducing litter in South Australia so there is absolutely no reason why the NSW Government hasn't acted on this.

Greens Senator Rhiannon in Gloucester, backs opposition to AGL frack plan

Greens Senator and water spokesperson Lee Rhiannon will be in Gloucester today to support community protests over AGL's plan to frack for coal seam gas in the region.
"This is a high risk project which should never have been approved," said Senator Rhiannon.
"AGL is putting the communities' health and water at risk all for the sake of increasing exports. This is not a fair deal, especially for the people who have to live next to the wells.
"I am in Gloucester to listen to the community and hear their concerns about the project. It is a shame that NSW government representatives are not working with the community to represent their concerns.
"That AGL's own hydro ecologist has identified this project as high risk should be ringing alarm bells in the NSW government.

As ICAC wraps NSW Liberals' crisis deepens

This afternoon as Operation Spicer wraps up, the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption has taken a tenth scalp from the NSW Liberal party. Member for Port Stephens, Craig Baumann, has finally stood aside after allegations of secret funding from developers, doctoring receipts and tax evasion.
"Craig Baumann's resignation from his party highlights the extraordinary depth of corruption in the NSW Liberal party that has been exposed by ICAC," said Greens MP Jamie Parker. "The unprecedented count is now ten NSW Liberals to stand aside or resign from parliament."
"ICAC has revealed a culture of criminality and corruption in both the NSW Labor and Liberal parties in the race for political donations.

Wollombi community deserted by govt MPs in battle to save Public School

Liberals and Nationals MPs refused to accept a Greens motion supporting the unanimous resolution of the Wollombi community meeting to discuss the future of their local public school.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye, who attended the community meeting held on Tuesday 2nd September at Wollombi Community Hall, moved the motion (text below) in the NSW Upper House. It was blocked by Coalition MPs.

NSW Upper House supports ongoing recognition of forced adoption practices

Greens MP and spokesperson on Family and Community Services, Jan Barham, has welcomed the NSW Legislative Council's passage of her motion calling for recognition of forced adoption practices.
"September 20 will be the second anniversary of the NSW Government's apology for past forced adoption practices. I am gratified and deeply moved that the Upper House has supported the call for continued acts of recognition," Ms Barham said.
"The NSW apology, along with the apologies by the Australian Government and other states and territories, were profound acts of recognition our past mistakes. But just as the impacts of forced adoptions were lifelong, the apologies should be followed by ongoing efforts to remember and understand the harms caused to many parents and children.