Election Should Be Called For Wollongong Council
The Iemma government should announce an election for a new Wollongong council rather than appoint a long-term Administrator to run the Council’s affairs.
"The appointment of an Administrator would deny the people of Wollongong the opportunity to pronounce their judgement on how the Labor Party has behaved in Wollongong," said NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale.
"There is widespread community anger in Wollongong about the behaviour of Labor’s councillors and their developer mates. The Iemma government has not earned the right to expect the people of Wollongong to trust it to appoint a long term Administrator."
"Elections for a new Wollongong Council were scheduled for September. That election should be brought forward and take place as soon as possible."
"Failing that, elections for a new Wollongong Council should take place as part of the state wide local government elections scheduled for September this year,” Ms Hale said.
NSW Greens MP, Lee Rhiannon has renewed her call for a Royal Commission into the relationship between developers and political parties.
"The public’s suspicion of corrupt relations between developers and politicians extends beyond Wollongong Council and into the state government."
"It is time for a Royal Commission to question under oath the developers, the Councillors, the Ministers and the party officials," said Ms Rhiannon.
"The Commission could then determine what undertakings were given to the developers when Labor Party officials solicited their donations and whether the donations influenced the Ministers’ decisions."
"With revelations about the use of stand-over tactics many potential witnesses in Wollongong are understandably reluctant to come forward, especially with Police Minister David Campbell being a former Mayor of Wollongong and the recipient of donations from some of those named at the ICAC inquiry. There is a need for witness protection for those with evidence of corrupt activities."
"The ICAC inquiry into Wollongong is too limited to properly investigate and expose the relationships between developers and politicians that have undermined public faith in the political process in NSW," said Ms Rhiannon.
For more information: Lee Rhiannon - 0427 861 568, 9230 3551. Sylvia Hale 02 9230 3030 / 0437 779 546
Originally from www.sylvia.nsw.greens.org.au
These articles came to me by way of the NSW Greens E- brief from the NSW Greens Office. To receive a regular e-brief, email andrewm AT nsw greens org au
Residents must have a voice in who runs their council
With local government elections scheduled for mid-September this year, the state government has been busy sacking councils to try to divert attention away from its Ministers’ relationships with property developers. The State government has ignored the democratic right of residents of Port Macquarie and Wollongong to elect the people who represent them on local councils, and instead imposed an Administrator who is totally unaccountable to the local community. With elections only a matter of months away, if genuine incompetence and corruption has occurred, it would have been appropriate to appoint an Administrator until the scheduled elections, but it is totally inappropriate for that Administrator to hold power until September 2012.
Royal Commission needed into relationship between Labor donors and ministers
Sylvia Hale called this week for a Royal Commission into
the relationship between property developers, their political donations and the decisions of Labor government Ministers. See also SMH story Sartor and One Burwood project of 27 Feb 08.
- one will be filled with wads of cash by named after actual developers who have donated to the Liberal and Labor Parties
- a second will have a giant question mark as to what donations are coming in right now that the public does not know about
Media release by Tristan Peach, Greens Candidate for Hamilton Ward
22 February 2008
Labor and Liberal plans to bulldoze a beautiful stand of mature hoop pines and gums at the eastern end of Kalinga Park are unacceptable and unnecessary, says Green Candidate for Hamilton Ward, Tristan Peach.
The trees are a stunning feature of the area, provide shade for park users, habitat for wildlife and are an excellent carbon sink for North Brisbane. The trees are in the section of park next to the intersection of Sandgate Road and the East-West Arterial.
Mr Peach has previously organised a petition to save the park and helped write a submission on the Airport Link impact statement, both of which were ignored by Council and the State.
“These trees are part of the area’s heritage and are highly valued by the community. I am the only candidate who is working to save them, while the other two candidates support their destruction” said Mr Peach.
“I am promoting a solution for North Brisbane that will address transport issues as well as preserve our valuable natural environment,” said Mr Peach.
The Greens’ transport plan for North Brisbane includes light rail along Lutwyche/Gympie Road, improved cross-city bus services and better cycling and walking options. It was released in September 2007.
“People in Hamilton Ward have a clear choice: they can vote Green for a cost-effective transport solution that won’t destroy the park, or they can vote Liberal/Labor for a transport project that will destroy the park and increase congestion on the East-West Arterial, Stafford Road, Gympie Road, Newmarket Road and various local streets,” said Mr Peach.
Kalinga Park is not the only natural area that will suffer – trees and green space along Kedron Brook (behind Kedron State High School) will also be bulldozed to make way for Airport Link.
- 1. Consumption is almost everything. Population is almost nothing.
- Overpopulation is a global problem, so lets not try to stabilize our own.
- Renewable technologies and greener lifestyles will save the day .
- We are committed to sustainability---and growth---at the same time.
- Growth can be rendered ecologically benign if channeled, managed or deflected.
- We share the consensus for the need for economic growth, therefore we favour liberal immigration. There is always a chronic labour shortage isn't there and oh, don't undocumented migrants make such a contribution to our society?
- Since we favour liberal immigration that is non-discriminatory, then we favour an aggressive multicultural strategy for the integration of migrants. We reject the concept of a national culture.
- We place far greater emphasis on climate change than biodiversity collapse even though more species will be lost sooner to human overpopulation than to global warming, which is not as imminent or as catastrophic as the loss of biodiversity services.
- We will only acknowledge overpopulation as a problem in developing countries. Migration of people to high consumption societies is to be countered only be lowering the per capita consumption rates of those societies.
- Closed borders, immigration controls, or as we call the Bush fence, the "Wall of Shame" send out unfriendly signals to emigrant-countries whose cooperation we need to solve global environmental problems like AGW.
- Relieve the wealthy of progressive income tax and capital gains tax and introduce Green Taxes. Punish those at the bottom of the income scale for not having the money to buy hybrid cars and retro-fitted houses.
Media Release - 22 November 2007
Today’s reports of Kevin Rudd’s own family decrying his silence on the proposed Mary River dam are sentiments shared by many Queenslanders, who deserve to know what Labor’s position on the dam is before voting on Saturday, said the Greens today.
“Kevin Rudd owes it to Queenslanders to make his position clear on the Mary River dam before Saturday’s poll,” said Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland, Larissa Waters.
“Would a Rudd government approve the dam based on the hasty EIS that ignores the impacts of climate change and admits uncertainty on the future of endangered species? Or would Kevin Rudd stick up for Australia’s special wildlife and the Mary Valley community?” asked Ms Waters.
“If Labor’s answer is another rubber stamp like we saw on the pulp mill, The Greens will be the only party for Queenslanders to support to save the Mary.
“The Greens call on both the Queensland and federal governments to apply the precautionary principle and refuse to approve this environmentally, socially and economically destructive dam.
“The state Labor government has tried to keep the Mary River dam off the radar until after the federal election, by releasing an 1800 page EIS open for public comment until one week after polling day,” said Ms Waters.
The EIS, released on 18 October 2007, fails to properly address the key issues of alternatives, the impacts of climate change on rainfall and the survival of the lungfish.
“Despite these gaping uncertainties, the EIS alarmingly recommends the dam proceed, subject to a raft of further plans and measures.
“The EIS puts the cart well before the horse to recommend the dam go ahead when its full impacts are not known.
“This dam is a cruel hoax. It won’t solve the water crisis but it will destroy good quality farm land, send ancient species like the lungfish, Mary River Cod and turtle towards extinction, impact on the Great Sandy Strait downstream, displace hundreds of families and waste nearly $2 billion of taxpayer’s money that could be better spent on providing tanks for every South East Queensland home,” concluded Ms Waters.
For more information contact:
For biographical information see: www.larissawaters.net
Media Release, 20 Nov 2007
Greens lead Senate candidate Larissa Waters will join building workers on a Brisbane building site this morning to launch The Greens Charter of Workplace Rights, and pledge to abolish all of the government's WorkChoices laws and the controversial Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Ms Waters will use a shredder to destroy a copy of the Work Choices legislation at the Petrie Terrace Barracks building site at 9:30am, joined by members of the CFMEU.
“The Greens are the best option for workers and unions seeking strong and fair IR laws at the federal election,” said Ms Waters.
“The Greens are now the only party committed to replacing WorkChoices with a truly fair and equitable industrial relations system that protects the rights of workers and their families.
“The Greens stand for family-friendly industrial relations laws which enable workers to balance work, family and community life.
“We want a strong expanded safety net of minimum conditions, including overtime pay, penalty rates, public holiday pay, rest breaks and redundancy entitlements, and for collective bargaining to be at the centre of our industrial relations system.
“Prime Minister Howard’s WorkChoices continue to hurt workers and Labor has caved in to pressure from big business and weakened its policy to ‘WorkChoices-Lite’.”
“The Greens will be essential for delivering genuine IR reform if a Rudd Labor
Government is elected. Workers and unions will want the third-party insurance of a strong and independent Green voice in the Senate,” said Ms Waters.
The Greens Charter commits to:
- Scrap AWA’s and individual agreements that override awards and collective agreements;
- A strong, fair and enforceable set of minimum conditions for all employees;
- Universal access to unfair dismissal protection and redundancy pay;
- An enforceable right for employees to collectively bargain;
- Workers representatives to have the right to enter workplaces to talk with members and to ensure employers are complying with the law;
- Legal protection for democratic rights, including the right to strike; and
- Immediately abolishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission
A full copy of the Greens Charter of Work Rights is included below.
The Greens 'Charter of Work Rights'
- Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and have an equal opportunity in the workplace.
Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy workplace.
- Everyone has the right to decent pay and to hours of work that let them live a full, happy and healthy life. This right should be protected through enforceable minimum legal standards and fair collective agreements.
- Everyone has the right to join a union, and it is essential that unions have a right to visit employees at work to make sure employers are complying with workplace and safety laws, or to discuss union membership.
- The rights to collectively bargain, to collectively withhold labour and to collectively organise in a workplace or industry are essential to achieving a sustainable and democratic future.
- Disputes about industrial action and workplace matters should be dealt with by an industrial relations commission, not by the courts.
- Individual contracts (like AWAs) undermine awards and collective agreements. AWAs should be abolished and workers should be able to move off AWAs immediately.
- Employers should not be allowed to use ‘independent contracting’ arrangements or other such devices to undermine the rights of workers.
- The Australian Building and Construction Commission and the building industry laws undermine democratic rights.
- The ABCC and the building industry laws must be abolished.
- ‘WorkChoices’ must be repealed.
Labor’s proposed ‘WorkChoices-lite’ must be amended to reflect the above principles.
Media release 19 Nov 2007
Senator Ron Boswell’s record of Senate inactivity could be the reason for his stated concern about losing his seat to Greens lead Senate candidate Larissa Waters.
An analysis from the Parliamentary Library shows that since the end of 2005 Ron Boswell, the leader of the Nationals in the Senate, has only managed to get to his feet 61 times, whereas Greens Senator Christine Milne has made more than four times that, at 253 speeches.
“It’s sad to see Senator Boswell resorting to attacks on the Greens, instead of hard work in the Senate for Queenslanders,” said Ms Waters.
“The Greens instigated the Senate Inquiry into Australia’s future oil supplies and alternative fuels, and it was the Greens that convinced the Liberals to support a Senate Inquiry into the impact that climate change is having on agriculture and the need for an adaptation strategy.
“No wonder Ron Boswell is worried about the rising Green vote. It’s because the Greens are a strong voice for rural Australia on climate change, water, biosecurity and quarantine.
“Just ask the citrus growers at Emerald or the taro growers from North Queensland who has taken up their issue – the answer is not the Nationals’ Ron Boswell, but the Greens’ Christine Milne.
“The Nationals have turned their backs on their own farming constituents by continuing to doubt climate change and its link to the drought.
“If Ron Boswell was genuinely concerned about Queensland workers, he would be supporting the Greens’ climate change and renewable energy policies, which will safeguard the 63,000 jobs based around the Great Barrier Reef and build on Australia's existing 20,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector.
“Queenslanders have a choice between a party that has no long term vision for the state, or a progressive party with policies to secure the future on issues like climate change, water, sustainable agriculture, good quality public health and education and respecting human rights.
“Queensland stands to gain economically, environmentally and socially from a low carbon economy, but Ron Boswell would have us continue with last century thinking and miss the boat on these new opportunities.
“On election day, Queenslanders have a clear choice of who they want to represent their state in the Senate - the progressive Greens or the short-sighted Nationals.
“Ron Boswell might as well be a Liberal party Senator, since he votes with John Howard on the vast majority of issues including the unpopular industrial relations reforms, sending troops to Iraq and selling off Telstra.
“A vote for the Greens will ensure that the Senate is restored to its role as a house of review and is not just a Coalition rubber stamp,” concluded Ms Waters.
For more information contact:
0421 844 280
Greens leader Bob Brown has attacked environmental scientist Dr Tim Flannery for endorsing Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
In The Age newspaper today the Australian of the Year says he would vote for Mr Turnbull, and that Federal Parliament needs more people like him to tackle climate change.
Senator Brown says he cannot understand the endorsement.
"How Tim can support a Minister who's backed a pulp mill which is going to keep 200,000 hectares of forest ... to be logged and burnt over the next 20 years is beyond me," he said.
Conservation centre poor substitute for Mary River
Queensland Greens Media Release - 10 October 2007
The Queensland government's proposal to build a $35 million conservation centre for threatened species at the site of the proposed Traveston Dam is a poor substitute for allowing these creatures to flourish in their natural habitat, said the Greens today.
"Building a conservation centre for a species you are sending towards extinction is laughable," said Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland, Larissa Waters.
"Leaked studies by the Queensland government on the Burnett River's Paradise Dam show that dams irrevocably destroy lungfish breeding habitat, and that lungfish aren't successfully using the fish ladders to travel up and down the river.
"Traveston Dam would be the death knell for the 110 million year old Queensland lungfish, one of our iconic fish species.
"The state and federal governments cannot approve Traveston dam in reliance on a fish ladder to save the lungfish, in the face of evidence showing they don't work. That would make a mockery of our federal threatened species laws and of the environmental impact statement under state laws.
"Risking this iconic species for a dam that won't even solve the current water crisis is ludicrous.
"The dam wouldn't be built until 2011, climate change will mean rainfall patterns ensure the dam is even less likely to ever fill up, and it is a tragic waste of good quality farming land so close to a city centre.
"The Mary Valley community don't want this dam, and nor do the majority of Brisbane residents that I speak to. It would be a social, economic and environmental disaster.
"Building Traveston dam would be like noticing your wallet is empty so deciding to buy a new wallet. They don't come full.
"Government should be proposing sustainable solutions to the water crisis, like water recycling, rainwater tanks for every home, stormwater harvesting and demand management," concluded Ms Waters.
Queensland Greens Media Release - 19 September 2007
The second runway at Brisbane airport should be scrapped and government should instead be promoting a reduction in air travel, said Australian Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland, Larissa Waters today.
"Air travel is the most greenhouse gas intensive form of transport.
"A second runway would enable yet more increase in emissions, at a time when scientists warn we need to stabilise emissions or the Great Barrier Reef will die and our farmers will suffer.
"The federal government's approval of the runway and the Opposition?s silence on the climate change implications are more sad proof that the old parties don?t understand what needs to be done to protect us all from the impacts of climate change.
"Instead of approving a new runway which will exacerbate climate change, disturb residents and impact on Moreton Bay, government should be encouraging people to avoid unnecessary air travel and use alternative means of transport or communication.
"Government should be promoting video conferencing and internet based communication like Skype to reduce air travel for business. They should investigate the feasibility of bullet trains from Brisbane to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne to give people more sustainable travel alternatives. Local and regional tourism should be promoted," said Ms Waters.
For every 100kms of air travel, 18 kilograms of emissions are created. Australian Greenhouse Office figures show that greenhouse gas emissions from domestic air travel have increased 65% since 1990, creating an additional 1.9 megatonnes of emissions.
Queensland Greens Media Release - 13 September 2007
Australian Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland Larissa Waters will today meet Douglas Shire Council Mayor Mike Berwick to discuss how the Greens can help to overturn the decision to amalgamate local Councils.
"The Greens strongly oppose the forced amalgamations of Queensland Councils and the hubris of Peter Beattie in gagging local Councils from conducting polls of their residents on amalgamations," Ms Waters said.
"Political pressure from determined Queenslanders forced Peter Beattie to back down on prohibiting polls, and soon the Australian Electoral Commission will be empowered to conduct polls on the amalgamations, on a date to be determined.
"I call on Premier Anna Bligh to listen to the results of all polls held on amalgamations, and to reverse the decision to amalgamate if the majority of the area?s residents do not want it.
"This is democracy at its most basic level and will be a real test of the style of leadership we can expect from Anna Bligh.
"Queenslanders were outraged by the gradual erosion of their participation rights under Peter Beattie ? from restrictions on accessing information under FOI, to special legislation to fast track projects without community consultation, to the final straw of not having a say on amalgamations.
"It's time for people to regain confidence in our system of government by knowing that their rights to speak out are protected, and that their voice will be heard. Voters don?t elect people to silence and ignore them, but to represent them," concluded Ms Waters.
Like Noosa Mayor Bob Abbott, Douglas Shire Mayor Mike Berwick has strongly opposed the opposed the amalgamation of Douglas Shire with Cairns City Council, which does not share Douglas Shire?s strong environmental protections.
Queensland Parliament passed legislation on 9 August 2007 to adopt the amalgamations recommended by the Local Government Reform Commission. Legislative amendments in Queensland Parliament would be required to overturn the Council amalgamations.
Premier Bligh has Labor's numbers in the Queensland Parliament to pass any such amendment and could easily do so before the new boundaries come into effect after the 15 March 2008 local government elections.
16 August 2007 - Today's Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport majority report into water supply options for South East Queensland produced recommendations that don't go far enough, with only the additional comments by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert applying the evidence before the Inquiry and recommending that the Traveston Dam be scrapped.
"The Senate inquiry was presented with overwhelming evidence that Traveston Dam is a high-cost, high-risk approach to South East Queensland's water supply, which will not ease the current drought" said Australian Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland, Larissa Waters.
"Yet the majority report and the additional comments by other Senators all stopped short of calling for the dam to be scrapped. Greens Senator Rachel Siewert made a call on the evidence and recommended that Traveston Dam should be stopped.
"The Greens have decried this foolish proposal since it was proposed. I have consistently said, and the evidence to the Senate Inquiry demonstrates, that Traveston dam is the most expensive, least reliable and most environmentally destructive water supply option for our region.
"It is not environmentally, socially or economically sustainable and it will do nothing to solve the short term water crisis.
"The reduced rainfall expected because of climate change means the dam is unlikely to retain much water, and 30% of what little water it would ever hold would evaporate given the mere 6 metre depth of the proposed dam.
"If we are to get serious about sustainable water supply for South East Queensland, we must do two things:
- invest in demand and supply management, rainwater tanks, water recycling, stormwater harvesting, evaporation reduction and water efficiency, and
- ensure that #population" id="population">population growth in our region is sustainable. We should refuse to grant new development approvals unless the proponent can demonstrate that the necessary water is available and that planning processes address sustainable water supplies" said Ms Waters.
The Greens water supply solutions put to Queenslanders in the 2006 state election have now been backed by a February 2007 report by consultants Cardno, which found that with a combination of groundwater abstraction, source renewal, desalination, indirect potable re-use and demand management, Traveston Dam is not necessary to ensure South East Queensland's water security.
For more information:
Australian Greens Lead Senate Candidate for Queensland
larissa waters|AT|qld greens org au