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Greens welcome open letter from Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities on Uluru Statement

The Australian Greens welcome the open letter from the Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities urging all political parties to take heed of the Uluru Statement and to implement real change.

“I urge the community to get behind the Uluru Statement and let all sides of politics know that they don't want it to collect dust on a Parliament House shelf.

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Centrelink busy signals balloon out to 42 million from start of the financial year to April 30

The number of calls to Centrelink that hit a busy signal has ballooned out to 42 million from start of financial year to April 30, up from 29 million for 2015-16.

“42 million busy signals. This is an astronomical number representing Australians trying to access supports, adjust their payments, seek information or update their earnings. That is a lot of frustrated people who may be exasperated and struggling.

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Estimates reveals that under demerit point system for job seekers you could lose more than one point or all seven in one go

Estimates has revealed that job seekers accessing income support could lose more than one demerit point at a time depending on their perceived level of compliance. 

“The Government tried to make out that the demerit point system gave people more chances, but you can lose more than one demerit point at a time or all seven points in one go depending on what a staff member decides.  

“This punitive job-at-any-cost approach could hurt people struggling to get by and struggling with many barriers to employment.

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Renewed push to dump energy supplement another cut for struggling Australians: Greens

The renewed push to remove the energy supplement for income support recipients is another assault on people who will be struggling to get by on extremely low income support payments, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The Government is unrelenting in its attempts to erode and weaken the social safety net as a way to balance the books. People accessing the social safety net can’t afford to lose any more money.

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Research shows drug testing income support recipients in the US has been costly and ineffective

Information obtained by the Australian Greens has shown that drug testing in the United States has been costly whilst returning a miniscule number of positive test results.

“In America the results that came back positive for drugs was farcical. From 2011 to 2014, just TWO people out of 108,408 came back as positive in Arizona. Over in Missouri, just 0.1% came back positive from 2013 to 2014. What a monumental waste of time and public funds.

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20 years later and we are facing another Stolen Generation: Greens

On the 20 year anniversary of the Bringing them Home report, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert is warning that another Stolen Generation is underway, and is urging the Government to act on recommendations made by a senate inquiry into Out of Home Care.

“Nearly two years ago, I tabled a senate inquiry report into out-of-home care that made 39 recommendations on how to improve the system. This has been totally ignored by the Turnbull Government.

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Estimates raises human rights concern and lack of consultation on drug testing income support recipients

Questioning in estimates has revealed that the Disability Discrimination Commissioner has some concerns for the potential for human rights in relation to drug testing of income support applicants, and that the Government did not seek any advice from the Australian Human Rights Commission on the matter. 

“A lot of people in the community share the concerns of the Commissioner”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“He has taken on notice the question about more details of his concerns. I have deep concerns that this measure is discriminatory.

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Youth detention Royal Commission extension welcome, but we need it nationwide: Greens

Greens respond to the Attorney General’s announcement that the Royal Commission into Northern Territory youth detention will be extended by eight weeks, Senator Rachel Siewert said:

“We welcome this extension. Clearly it sends a signal that more deliberations need to occur.

“So far the evidence presented has been distressing. Clearly youth detention in this country is setting up troubled kids to fail.

“I urge the Prime Minister to consider extending the investigation beyond Northern Territory borders. Clearly systemic problems in youth detention are nationwide.

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