Unanimous call to restore lost compensation benefits

A unanimous Parliamentary committee report tabled today recommends the urgent restoration of some workers compensation benefits that were slashed from the scheme by former Minister Pearce in 2012.

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.