Loveridge decision shows one-punch laws unnecessary

The Court of Criminal Appeal's decision today in the Loveridge case, almost doubling the original sentence he received for his unprovoked Kings Cross assault, shows the Government's rushed mandatory sentencing laws were unnecessary and misguided.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"The sentence handed down today shows that the Government's "one punch" mandatory sentencing regime is entirely unnecessary.

"This decision is evidence that the legal system, if given time, works to produce just outcomes.

"The knee jerk response by parliament to put in mandatory sentencing while the Loveridge appeal was outstanding was both counter-productive and unnecessary.

Boxing Day Closure of Newcastle Rail Line Is Deeply Disappointing

Greens MP and Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called the NSW government's decision to permanently close the Newcastle rail line on Boxing Day 2014 deeply disappointing and a matter of "taking out the trash" in the holiday season.

"Last December, we saw the government announce the short-listed light rail routes practically on Christmas eve. This year, the people of the Hunter will have their vital rail service shut down while many are away or otherwise off work.

"It's clear that the government times these events around the holiday season so there is minimal public outcry and media exposure of the change. It really reveals how little respect they have for the Hunter.

"What's more, the government's plan for the proposed removal is woefully inadequate. The trains will stop, the shuttle buses will start, and we'll eventually get an inferior, replacement light rail line at some undetermined point in the future.

Jack Mundey and Green Bans veterans commemorate 39th anniversary Juanita Neilson's disappearance and murder

To commemorate the life of Juanita Nielsen, Green Ban unionists and friends will gather on Victoria Street at Juanita's home to pay tribute to this inspiring and courageous women.

Greens Ban leader Jack Mundey and colleagues from the Builders Labourers, CFMEU President Rita Mallia, Senator Lee Rhiannon and David Shoebridge, MP will be present.

Juanita was kidnapped on 4 July 1975. At the time she was the publisher of the independent paper NOW and an active campaigner to save low cost accommodation across the city and against high-rise development in Kings Cross.

Aboriginal Art Prize open for entries

Jan Barham MLC, Greens spokesperson for Arts, Aboriginal Affairs and the North Coast, is encouraging artists to enter the Parliament of New South Wales Aboriginal Art Prize (PNSWAAP).

“The Parliament’s Aboriginal Art Prize is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Aboriginal art in the Parliament and in a travelling show and delivers a substantial prize for the successful artist,” said Ms Barham.
 
Ms Barham said that the Aboriginal Art Prize is an annual acquisitive art award, with prize money totalling $40,000. It is presented to an Aboriginal visual artist over the age of 18, born in or living in New South Wales.

“Last year’s winner was Byron Shire artist Karla Dickens with a work entitled ‘January 26, Day of Mourning’.  The work is an Australian flag hand embroidered with crosses and as Karla describes in her artist statement, it represents the grief and loss that is felt by Aboriginal people on that day.  This is the power of art, to present an emotional message that speaks of the pain, grief and the need for healing” said Ms Barham.

Environmental defender, Natalie Lowrey, just released from detention in Malaysia will deliver eviction notice to Lynas in Sydney

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and environmental defender Natalie Lowrey will outline their continuing solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Malaysians that oppose Lynas Corporations toxic and polluting rare earth refinery in Malaysia.

Ms Lowrey will deliver an eviction notice to Australian company Lynas' headquarters in Sydney on behalf of the 1.2 million Malaysians who want the company to shut down their plant.

Ms Lowrey has just returned from Malaysia where she was arrested and detained for 6 days for her peaceful solidarity action at the Himpunan Hijau (Green Assembly) 622 Shut Down Lynas protest outside the rare earth refinery in Gebeng, Kuantan.

Ethics classes here to stay as enrolment form is updated

This is the story that NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli doesn't want you to hear.

Late last month the NSW Department of Education and Communities made a quiet but significant change to the student enrolment form for public schools.

In 2012 the O'Farrell government caved in to demands from Fred Nile and introduced an enrolment process that treated ethics classes (SEE) as a second-class alternative to scripture (SRE) (See: "Opting out of religion only way in to ethics", SMH, 5 December 2012).

Parents were only to be advised about the existence of ethics classes at their child's school after they had indicated that they did not wish their child to attend scripture.

Now common sense has prevailed over the whims of Fred Nile and a single form has been introduced that allows parents to clearly identify whether they wish their child to attend SRE or SEE, or non-scripture where ethics are not available.

See new form here: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/media/downloads/gotoschool/enrolment/detsef.pdf

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "For two years the public school enrolment process has been thrown into confusion just to appease Fred Nile and keep safe his vote in the Upper House.

Electricity price deregulation will create a new wave of energy poverty

 
Energy Minister Anthony Roberts is having a second attempt at lifting the cap on electricity prices despite the consequences for many households who are already struggling to make ends meet, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
 
('Greens to push for reverse on electricity price deregulation in NSW', Sydney Morning herald, 1 July, page 9, http://j.mp/SMH140701)
 
Having failed to obtain parliamentary support for legislation to abandon the more than 35 percent of households who had not joined the competitive retail market, the Baird government gazetted a regulation on Friday ( http://j.mp/reg14-400) to lift the price cap after a transitional period.
 
The Greens will be moving to disallow this regulation with a vote expected on the first day parliament resumes after the winter break.

Fresh election needed in the wake of corrupt conduct findings at Ryde Council

Greens MP David Shoebridge is calling for a full and fresh election for City of Ryde Council in response to today's ICAC findings of corrupt conduct by a number of councillors and third parties.
 
ICAC today found that former State Liberal MP and former Ryde Mayor Ivan Petch engaged in corrupt conduct on a number of occasions. It also referred three current, and one former, Ryde Councillors to the DPP for advice on prosecution regarding election-related offences.

Liberal plan to side step corporate funding ban

Responding to the call by outgoing Liberal Party federal President Alan Stockdale for his party to accept corporate membership fees, Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has said this would defeat efforts to clean up politics.

Mr Stockdale said he was making the proposal in response to expected greater electoral funding regulation and moves to ban corporate donations. http://ab.co/1qCFd2b

"The former Liberal president has let the cat out of the bag in how the Liberals could still pull in corporate money," said Senator Rhiannon.

"While senior Liberal MPs like Christopher Pyne have been calling for all political donations to be banned, Mr Stockdale is setting out how the Liberals could get around that funding reform.

"High corporate membership fees are just another form of corporate political donations.

"The public are looking for parties to clean up the corrupting influence of large political donations not find loopholes.

Liberal plan to side step corporate funding ban

Responding to the call by outgoing Liberal Party federal President Alan Stockdale for his party to accept corporate membership fees, Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has said this would defeat efforts to clean up politics.