Fred Nile “ban the burqa” Bill offensive and divisive dog-whistling

Greens NSW MP and spokesperson for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women Dr Mehreen Farqui has condemned the Reverend Fred Nile introducing legislation to ban full-face coverings, with his speech focussed primarily on banning Muslim women from wearing burqas.
 
“Whether it’s the right to abortion or wearing clothing of their choice, Reverend Nile seems obsessed with what women do with their bodies,” Dr Faruqi said.
 
“We live in a society where people have the right to wear what they want.
 
“Muslim women have the right to freedom of choice, just like every other Australian.

Door opens to NSW's first uranium mine

The NSW Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts has announced six companies have been invited to explore for uranium in NSW.
 
Whilst the ban on uranium mining is still in place, the 26-year ban on exploration was overturned by then-Premier Barry O'Farrell two years ago.
 
"Let's not be in any doubt about what's going on here. This opens the door to NSW's first uranium mine," says Greens MP and uranium spokesperson, Jamie Parker.
 
"It's an outrageous decision which is short-sighted and ignores the warnings of scientists, public health professionals and economists.

Crisis in public high school capacity years in the making

After years of neglect by Labor, the Liberal state government is now compounding the problem with its continued failure to bring forward solutions to the capacity problem.
 
"The data in today's Sydney Morning Herald article is not new," said Jamie Parker MP, Member for Balmain. "In my electorate alone there is a projected increase of 1000 students over the next five years.

Auswide collapse a sign of things to come under Baird govt’s TAFE privatisation future

The Baird government’s ‘Smart and Skilled’ reforms of the vocational education and training will make the Auswide Merimbula experience the norm rather than the exception, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
 
Dr Kaye said: “The demise of Auswide Merimbula is an unfortunate reminder of the fragility and unreliability of private training providers.
 
“Private training providers will put their budget bottom lines ahead of their employees’ job security and their students’ right to complete the course that they paid good money for.
 
“The loss of local jobs from Auswide is another blow to the South East NSW economy.

Universities Australia should get off the Pyne bandwagon

Commenting on reports that the university sector want the Senate minor parties and independents to cut a deal on Christopher Pyne's higher education reforms (http://bit.ly/1CLpPHr), Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said:
 
"Instead of putting pressure on Senators to support the Coalition's regressive and discriminatory changes to higher education, Universities Australia would better off calling on the government to boost public funding to universities.

North-west rail tunnelling too small for Sydney trains

Greens NSW MP and Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC has stated that the tunnelling for the North-west Rail Link which started yesterday cannot support Sydney's double-deck rail trains, signalling the official beginning of the privatisation of Sydney's train network.
 
Dr Faruqi said "This short-sighted smaller size tunnelling means we are losing the opportunity to extend our current rail network to a developing Sydney region and this is the beginning of the cannibalisation and privatisation of the current Sydney rail network.

ICAC: Group Colleges Australia and links with Nicolaou

Responding to news that Liberal NSW fundraiser Paul Nicolaou is again caught up in ICAC scandals, Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:
 
"It's irresponsible for Group Colleges Australia to retain prominent Liberal fundraiser Paul Nicolaou on their board given his ongoing role in ICAC investigations.
 
"Surely Group Colleges Australia should suspend Mr Nicolaou's board membership while the current ICAC investigation into Liberal fundraising continues.
 
"Research from my office reveals Group Colleges Australia has donated over $74 ,000 to the Liberal Party since 2009.

Undemocratic corporate voting recommended for the scrap heap in Melbourne

Just one day out from the NSW Parliament’s vote on the Shooters’ proposal to give corporations two votes at City of Sydney local elections a Victorian government report has recommended this very same electoral model in the City of Melbourne be scrapped.

Home schooled children taught 10k year old earth as science

A NSW parliamentary inquiry has heard parents admit they tell their children that the age of the earth is less than 10,000 years, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
 
A number of Christian home schoolers told the Upper House Committee that they told their children that the geological evidence supported the young earth fable. Some parents presented evolution and young earth creationism as theories of equal validity between which their children can choose.
 
(Copies of the transcript available on request).
 
Dr Kaye said: "A cohort of home-schooled children will not be able to tell the difference between religious belief and scientific theory.
 
"Their ignorance will impose costs not only on themselves but also on the society they will grow up in.

Liberal/National plan further damage public vocational education

Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said the Coalition government was on a destructive course of further cuts to public VET funding while setting up targeted benefits for certain industry sectors. ("Bosses get more say on training" http://tinyurl.com/lwbnnm6)
 
"The Abbott government has a narrow, rigid approach to vocational education that undermines the role of the public TAFE system in building an educated, skilled workforce that meets the needs of our rapidly changing society," Senator Rhiannon said.
 
"If the Coalition ends funding to the Australian Apprenticeships Centres there will be a net reduction in funding to the sector.
 
"Around the country Coalition state governments are imposing market organisation on VET to such a degree that in many places students are unable to afford the costs.
 
"The federal Coalition government plan will further undermine the public TAFE system on top of the damage caused by state governments.