Greens ‘New Century’ Australia Senate Agenda

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The Australian Greens today outlined their vision for Australia in the new century ahead of the opening of the Balance-of-Power Senate.

Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, said a record 1.17 million people voted Greens at the last election, and the five Greens Senators were ready to work constructively with all parties to respond to the challenges of the new century.

"Pollution, poverty, discrimination and the destruction of Australia's forests and precious environments are the legacy of the last century and decades of greed and inaction."

"The Greens' role, beginning with this new Parliament, is to begin delivering an Australia that was cleaner, fairer and saner."

In the new Senate, the Rudd government will need seven extra votes from either the Greens, the two independent Senators, or the Coalition, for legislation to pass.

Senator Brown said the immediate priority for the Greens was to put discussion of human values that respected the environment at the centre of Australian politics - especially policies that would deliver immediate planet-saving action on reversing climate change and protecting forests, and those which created a more caring, giving, peaceful and dignified Australian society.

"The Greens are about re-creating Australia for the new century, street by street, community by community, city by city."

Overview of Greens' policy Agenda for New Senate

A sustainable Australian economy, based on building zero-emissions infrastructure - The Greens will continue to champion a meaningful Emissions Trading Scheme, as one tool of many, for tackling Climate Change.

Save the Coorong Senate Inquiry - Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and the Greens will move for an immediate Senate inquiry to save the Coorong and lower Murray River, as part of action for a thorough legislative overhaul of the governance and management of the entire Murray-Darling system.

Protecting native forests by ending wood-chipping of old-growth forests - this measure alone could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by more than ten per cent, according to Australian Greenhouse Office data.

Senator Christine Milne's New renewable energy gross Feed-in laws - Householders, farmers and industry will be encouraged to convert to renewable energy and also make money from the energy they sell to the electricity grid. Thousands of jobs can be created by rolling out roof-top solar panels, solar thermal power stations, wind turbines as well as other measures.

Senator Rachel Siewert's amendment to restore the Racial Discrimination Act - removing the exemption the Howard Government gave itself when it intervened in the Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.

Promote a discrimination-free Australian society, including removal of discrimination on the basis of sexuality from all statutes, including the Australian Marriage Act.

Increase the quality of life for Australia's 1.2m. pensioners by immediately increasing pensions by at least $30 per week.

Fair parental leave - promote a more family-friendly Australia by encouraging the adoption of a minimum 16 months' maternity and paternity leave.

No radioactive dump in remote Aboriginal communities - Senator Scott Ludlam and the Greens will help Labor keep its election promise of repealing the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005.

More overseas aid to alleviate poverty and injustice - the Greens will argue for a significant increase in Australia's overseas aid, above the current 0.32% of GDP (2008/09 Budget).

Dignified life and death - Senator Bob Brown's Death with Dignity legislation will return the right of the elected territory assemblies in Darwin and Canberra to legislate for death with dignity for those suffering from terminal illness.

Global political, religious and human rights guaranteed - The Greens will argue at every turn for a stronger international stance by Australia to promote improvements in human rights, including support for the democracy movement in China.

Clear food labelling - The Greens will campaign for excellence in food labelling. The current laws allow confusing and too often misleading labelling. Food sold in Australia should be clearly labelled for its country of origin, its genetically modified status, its nano-particle content and its allergen content.

Sustainable communities - Shifting a portion of infrastructure funding to support sustainable communities including fast, efficient mass transit and affordable housing.

Addressing unfinished business for Indigenous Australians - Amending and re-introducing the Australian Democrat's Stolen Generation Compensation Bill.

Re-introduce fairness into Australia's building sites - introducing a Bill to
Abolish the Australia Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and repeal the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act

For more information: Russell Kelly 0438376082