Greens.Reboot.Future conference – fresh perspectives for a progressive Australia

In the week that Australians have been forced into a military conflict in Iraq the Greens are hosting a major public conference that will offer new perspectives on key issues and ask some of the big questions facing progressive activists and politicians in Australia today.
British Greens leader, Natalie Bennett, will speak along with peace activist, Donna Mulhearn.
Ms Mulhearn said,  “This conference is a timely opportunity to debate Australia’s war role. Going to war in Iraq in 2003 was never in Australia’s interest. Going back 11 years later because of the chaos that war created is even less so. Now is the time for a robust public and parliamentary debate, about Australia’s involvement in the wars of other nations.”

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.”

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.

Four months to TAFE crash

The Greens are warning that the NSW government's plan to privatise more than $600 million of TAFE funds, scheduled to start on the first of January next year, will have devastating consequences for students, teachers and the community.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "The so-called 'Smart and Skilled' market will dump TAFE into competition against low-cost, low-quality training companies that operate for profit.

Greens MPs join protest against reckless winter clearing of Leard forest

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens NSW Environment Spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC today joined protesters trying to stop the controversial winter clearing for the Maules Creek coalmine.
Senator Rhiannon said: "Whitehaven are desperately trying to run roughshod over the local community, who have consistently made a strong case against this destructive mine.
"Today I am joining farmers, community members and environmentalists who are standing up for our land and water by trying to prevent this destruction.
"The reckless tactic of clearing the forest during winter and hiring of spies to pose as activists are blatant signs that the coal companies in this region are running scared of community scrutiny.
"The clearing of the forest at this time of the year is particularly concerning. Many of the animals will be in hibernation and have little chance to escape.
"Now is a crucial time for the forest. The Maules Creek Community Council has recently announced it will seek to have the winter clearing prevented, but until this can go through the proper process, the only thing in the way of the bulldozers and the forest are the protesters.

Greens Call for Government to Save the Leard Forest and Native wildlife at Sydney Snap Rally

Greens MP and NSW Environment Spokesperson called on the Government to save the Leard Forest today in Sydney alongside Greenpeace, GetUp and frontline environmental activists. The Government is allowing Whitehaven Coal to clear land during winter months, when many native animals are hibernating and more vulnerable. Dr Faruqi said at the rally:

"The Greens are standing shoulder to shoulder with the community to stop Whitehaven's destructive coal mine at Maules Creek.

"A few months ago I had the privilege to camp at Maules Creek with inspiring front line activists and to see for myself what was at stake in defending biodiversity at the Leard State Forest.

"Biodiversity is not a commodity that can be traded or offset. It must be protected from irreversible damage.

Greens welcome Thompson Square Greens Ban

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge has welcomed today’s announcement by the CFMEU to place a ‘Green Ban’ on Thompson Square, Windsor in response to the Government’s approved controversial Windsor Bridge Replacement Project.

Last year the NSW Government made a last-minute Christmas Eve announcement that it would approve the project despite assessments made by the Department of Planning’s independent experts indicating the damage it will cause to local heritage, and that there is very little economic justification for the project to go ahead.

The local community has been strongly opposed to the project since it was proposed by the government, in particular due to its impact on Thompson Square, Australia’s oldest town square and a precious part of Australia’s history.

Political interference in forest closures

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham has written to Police Minister Mike Gallacher asking for the reasons behind his ministerial decision to request the closure of both the Leard State Forest and the Pilliga Forest near Narrabri, saying he was concerned that the decision was a political favour to resource companies Whitehaven and Santos.

"I've written to the Police Minister asking for an explanation as to why he has made a ministerial request to close these forests for extended periods of time and whether it was made at the request of the resource companies," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Greens Senator at massive Leard protest – backs action to stop Whitehaven coalmine

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon is currently at a massive protest at Leard State Forest in North West NSW where 15 machines have been immobilised and work on the controversial Maules Creek mine has been prevented.

150 people, including traditional owners, local farmers and environmentalists, have gathered to call on Environment Minister Greg Hunt to stop the development of the mine.

“Today's action demonstrates people power and resilience. The number of people willing to give up their time to prevent the Maules Creek Mine from going ahead is inspiring.” Senator Rhiannon said.

4000 sheep deaths at sea

Commenting on the death of 4 000 sheep at sea last August, Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"The Department of Agriculture (DAFF) should explain to the Australian public why a disaster of such magnitude has been kept a secret for the past five months.

"DAFF's silence on this horrific incident serves nothing but to protect the exporter Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) from bad publicity.

"Five months later DAFF still have not applied any penalties, let alone revoked or suspended LSS's trading licence.