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Justice for teargassed youth at Don Dale welcome: Greens

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed the decision by Justice Judith Kelly to award damages to four teenagers who were tear-gassed at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in 2014.

“Those that saw the footage of the young boys being teared gassed in Don Dale in a squalid enclosed space were justifiably outraged. 

“As the Royal Commission continues to unveil ongoing and disturbing mistreatment of youth detainees in Don Dale, today’s judgement is a small victory.

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Senate calls for action on Aboriginal hearing health

The Greens have secured Senate support for a motion calling on Australian Governments to urgently address hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“The recent Close the Gap report called for a reset on addressing health inequality this needs to include hearing health.

“Governments around Australia have failed to adequately address hearing health which affects our ability to close the gap.

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Australian Greens respond to Native Title Amendment Bill 2017

Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues Senator Rachel Siewert says:  

“The proposed amendments to the Native Title Act have raised many issues that could have significant ramifications for Native Title holders. 

“There has been limited consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as significant doubt of the operation of some of the measures.

“Due to these issues, the Australian Greens cannot support the Native Title Amendment legislation in its current form at this time.

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More cuts to social safety net not the solution for budget repair: Greens

The Business Council’s claims that we would require a $50 billion cut to the social safety net to plug up the budget if savings don’t pass the senate is farcical fear mongering, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Time and time again I have said that there is no senate gridlock, there is bad legislation. Put forward better legislation that doesn't take money off some of the most vulnerable members of our community and it will have a better chance of passing the senate.

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Government using commission only private debt collectors for automated debt recovery program

The Senate inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery process has revealed that the Government is paying private debt collectors commission only to rake back potentially incorrect automated debts from former Centrelink recipients.

“I have to ask why is the Government paying private debt collectors commission only to retrieve Centrelink debts? Do they think it will result in more money being raked back? This might go a long way to explain the accounts we’ve heard of overzealous private debt collectors in pursuing potentially incorrect debts.

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Greens seek advice from Senate Clerk about potential witnesses feeling intimidated in the lead up to the senate Centrelink inquiry

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert is today urging Centrelink recipients to make submissions to the Senate inquiry and not to be deterred by the Government's current behaviour in releasing personal information, explaining that giving evidence to a Senate committee is covered by Parliamentary Privilege.

“In order to reassure people who may be considering making a submission I have sought advice from the Acting Clerk of the Senate on the protections to witness and prospective witness to the senate inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery system.

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Government turns its back on people with disability and refuses to hold a Royal Commission into disability abuse, violence and neglect

The Government has officially announced it will not hold a Royal Commission into abuse, violence and neglect of people with disability in institutional settings, despite it being recommended in a senate committee report tabled nearly a year and half ago.

“A range of recommendations compiled with extensive consultation to address systemic abuse, violence and neglect of people with disability across the country has been effectively dismissed by the Government, or as they like to put it, ‘noted’.

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DHS trawling social media to find Centrelink complaints only to intimidate recipients is huge concern: Greens

“It is deeply concerning that DHS staff have been trawling through social media to find people complaining about Centrelink to provide to the Minister”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.  

“They’re then taking these complaints and rather than seeking to remedy them, and might release your personal details to ‘correct the record’ to protect the ‘public confidence’ and ‘integrity’ of the social security system.

"The department confirmed they keep an eye on traditional media but to trawl social media is a new development that raises strong concerns.

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28 million busy signals hit in the first seven months of this financial year for those trying to reach Centrelink

“28 million calls hitting a busy signal in the first seven months of this financial year is astronomical and could reflect people trying to get through to fix an incorrect debt”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Last year for the whole financial year was 29 million busy signals, up 22 million from the previous year.

“To see 28 million busy signals in the first seven months shows an extreme trajectory that the Government must work to remedy immediately.

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