Stop Millers Point public housing sell-off – Senate backs Greens motion

The Australian Senate today passed a Greens’ motion calling on the NSW government to cease selling public housing in the historic inner Sydney suburb of Millers Point.

“This is a small but important victory for the Miller Points residents and their supporters who have been campaigning to save 293 public housing properties and to stop the eviction of 400 tenants from their homes slated for private sale,” Greens NSW Senator said.

“The Greens put this motion before the Senate to win federal support for this important campaign.

“A mighty community campaign saved Millers Point public housing in the 1970s when a Green Ban was imposed by the NSW Builders Labourers Federation.

“The community is again rallying against another Coalition government that is too close to developers.

“Millers Point is of enormous historical significance and public housing in this area is a rich part of the city’s heritage. The working class here is part of the character and soul of the city.

Opal Card policy referred to privacy watchdog for breach of the Privacy Act

The Opal Card privacy policy that allows for the widespread sharing of personal information regarding the movements of Opal card users has been referred by the NSW Greens to the state's Privacy Commissioner as a breach of the Privacy Act. The new power allows a broad range of "law enforcement agencies" to access this data without any oversight by a Court or any search warrant being obtained.

The Greens NSW have lodged a formal complaint with the Information and Privacy Commissioner seeking urgent intervention to prevent people across NSW being forced to choose between travelling on public transport and preserving their privacy.

See reporting in the SMH here:
http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/police-commissioner-defends-access-to-opal-card-records-20140715-zt862.html

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“The Opal Card sign-up process requires the giving of what is called a “bundled consent” which allows for the widespread disclosure of users' personal information under the Opal Privacy policy.

Israel's "collective punishment" kills civilians; Gaza's Ark destroyed

The Greens NSW have condemned Labor and the Coalition for their silence on the Israeli government's sustained and unrelenting military attack on Gaza.

Greens NSW Upper House MP David Shoebridge said, "Israel's military offensive in Gaza has now killed over 170 Palestinians and left over 1400 injured. This has continued because of leading western states refusing to take a position against Israeli violence.

"Over the past two days there have been tens of thousands of people all over the world from Madrid to Yemen, Stockholm, Paris, Cairo, San Diego, Jordan and even Yarmouk Refugee camp in Damascus protesting against the Israeli government's brutality.

"Day after day we are waking up to photos of children, mothers and fathers killed.

Auditor general’s report on EPA warning to Government

Greens NSW MP and Spokesperson for the Environment, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has said the Auditor General’s Report into Managing Contaminated Sites is a timely warning for the government to take the role of the EPA seriously to ensure that resources and management are adequate and appropriate for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fulfil its role and objectives.

Dr Faruqi said:

“Today’s report by the Auditor General’s confirms that the EPA is not adequately managing  contaminated sites, including monitoring and public reporting.

“The lack of adequate data bases and guidance procedures clearly indicates a failure of resourcing and a dearth of adequate management systems and their systematic implementation.

Apprentices shafted by Coalition loan scheme backed by Labor

The Greens say apprentices could be hit with a massive debt under the Coalition's Trade Support Loans Bill passed with the support of Labor.

"Imposing HECS style debts and fees on apprentices is no way to build a skilled Australian workforce," Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said today.

"While this is the latest example of the Coalition's war on public higher education, the big story here is that Labor chose to vote with the Coalition rather that the Greens and the Palmer United Party to wind back the Coalition's loans plan for apprentices.