Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues

The Australian Greens acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s first peoples and recognise their strong cultural and spiritual connection with the land, and their rights and obligations as owners and custodians. We are committed to seeing these rights reflected in our laws and our society. All Australians, including those living in remote communities, have an equal right to essential government services such as health, education, training, housing, community infrastructure, employment support, and policing. We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must be partners in the development and implementation of policies, programs and services that affect them.

The Greens are concerned that Governments continue to overlook the important international agreements that recognise the rights of indigenous peoples and do not invest enough in efforts to bridge the gaps in many areas of our society. We are committed to seeing an end to the Northern Territory Intervention and Stronger Futures Legislation, delivering Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, compensating the Stolen Generations and improving the Native Title system. 

media-releases

Abbott admits Aboriginal health is too hard to tackle?

01 May 2007

Tony Abbott's inappropriate response to the international scandal created by the WHO report into Aboriginal health has all the hallmarks of a Minister ducking for cover.
"The Health Minister's claim that "If it were easy to tackle it would have been tackled a long time ago," is no excuse for his failure to prioritise the issue of Aboriginal health and take some steps to address the issue," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"Quite simply, if the Minister thinks the issue is important, then he should have tackled it properly a long time ago," she said.
"Is he now claiming the portfolio is too hard for him to handle?"
"The truth is that there has been a decade of neglect of Aboriginal health. While other nations have made the effort and seen the results, Indigenous Australians continue to suffer poor access to primary health care and atrocious health outcomes under the Minister's watch."
"Australians do want to see practical outcomes on Indigenous health. It is a sorry day when Oxfam have to campaign on basic health care issues in what is supposedly a first world country."
"Throwing up your hands and claiming the job is too hard will achieve nothing - you need to commit to a major increase for Aboriginal health funding in this budget and every budget until the problem is solved."
"Anything less than the $500 million identified by the AMA is simply not good enough."

Tony Abbott's inappropriate response to the international scandal created by the WHO report into Aboriginal health has all the hallmarks of a Minister ducking for cover.
"The Health Minister's claim that "If it were easy to tackle it would have been tackled a long time ago," is no excuse for his failure to prioritise the issue of Aboriginal health and take some steps to address the issue," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"Quite simply, if the Minister thinks the issue is important, then he should have tackled it properly a long time ago," she said.
"Is he now claiming the portfolio is too hard for him to handle?"
"The truth is that there has been a decade of neglect of Aboriginal health. While other nations have made the effort and seen the results, Indigenous Australians continue to suffer poor access to primary health care and atrocious health outcomes under the Minister's watch."
"Australians do want to see practical outcomes on Indigenous health. It is a sorry day when Oxfam have to campaign on basic health care issues in what is supposedly a first world country."
"Throwing up your hands and claiming the job is too hard will achieve nothing - you need to commit to a major increase for Aboriginal health funding in this budget and every budget until the problem is solved."
"Anything less than the $500 million identified by the AMA is simply not good enough."

media-releases

Aboriginal Health lags a century behind: WHO report

30 Apr 2007

"The health of Aboriginal Australians is lagging a century behind that of other Australians," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"We need to follow the example of other first world nations and put a massive injection of resources in this budget into Indigenous health of around $500 million per annum."

"The health of Aboriginal Australians is lagging a century behind that of other Australians," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"We need to follow the example of other first world nations and put a massive injection of resources in this budget into Indigenous health of around $500 million per annum."

media-releases

Australians want services not tax cuts from Budget

18 Apr 2007

"To create a fairer Australia the Treasure should be putting better government services and initiatives ahead of tax cuts in this year's budget" said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

Senator Siewert welcomed the release today of ACOSS's A Fairer Australia: Recommendations for the Federal Budget 2007-08

"To create a fairer Australia the Treasure should be putting better government services and initiatives ahead of tax cuts in this year's budget" said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

Senator Siewert welcomed the release today of ACOSS's A Fairer Australia: Recommendations for the Federal Budget 2007-08

media-releases

Greens to Turnbull: action would be 'awesome'

18 Apr 2007

Greens Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson, Senator Siewert, today called on Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull to act urgently to save the Burrup peninsula, rather than in a few months. She expressed disappointment that the Pluto site did not seem to be included in his plans.

"A cross party delegation of Federal MPs called for emergency listing last year for the entire Rock art precinct because it was exactly that - an emergency," stated Senator Siewert.

Greens Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson, Senator Siewert, today called on Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull to act urgently to save the Burrup peninsula, rather than in a few months. She expressed disappointment that the Pluto site did not seem to be included in his plans.

"A cross party delegation of Federal MPs called for emergency listing last year for the entire Rock art precinct because it was exactly that - an emergency," stated Senator Siewert.

media-releases

Greens support 'Closing the Gap' Campaign

05 Apr 2007

"The Australian Greens applaud the launch of the Close the Gap Campaign which promotes practical measures which decrease the Indigenous life expectancy gap of 17 years," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"We need to set real targets and deliver measurable outcomes on pressing issues like chronic disease, infant mortality rates, early childhood development and access to primary health care and affordable medicines," she said.

"The Australian Greens applaud the launch of the Close the Gap Campaign which promotes practical measures which decrease the Indigenous life expectancy gap of 17 years," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"We need to set real targets and deliver measurable outcomes on pressing issues like chronic disease, infant mortality rates, early childhood development and access to primary health care and affordable medicines," she said.

media-releases

Senate push to consolidate petrol sniffing achievement

28 Mar 2007

"The success of the roll-out of Opal in dramatically reducing petrol sniffing within the Central region over summer gives us a narrow window of opportunity that we must capitalise on," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"We must act now to ensure that Opal is backed up by complementary diversionary programs that engage and encourage youth in these communities. We need to provide meaningful activities that build their future prospects and give them hope for a productive future.

"The success of the roll-out of Opal in dramatically reducing petrol sniffing within the Central region over summer gives us a narrow window of opportunity that we must capitalise on," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"We must act now to ensure that Opal is backed up by complementary diversionary programs that engage and encourage youth in these communities. We need to provide meaningful activities that build their future prospects and give them hope for a productive future.

questions-without-notice

Slow progress on petrol sniffing

28 Mar 2007

My question is to Senator Ellison, the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing. It relates to the provision of infrastructure to support youth diversionary programs to combat petrol sniffing. Can the minister inform the Senate whether the government has allocated or plans to allocate resources for youth programs and infrastructure for those communities in the northern part of the central region who have recently become part of the rollout of Opal fuel?

My question is to Senator Ellison, the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing. It relates to the provision of infrastructure to support youth diversionary programs to combat petrol sniffing. Can the minister inform the Senate whether the government has allocated or plans to allocate resources for youth programs and infrastructure for those communities in the northern part of the central region who have recently become part of the rollout of Opal fuel?

speeches-in-parliament

Senate Resolution on non-sniffable Opal fuel

28 Mar 2007

OPAL FUEL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Speech
Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (3.57 p.m.)-I, and also on behalf of Senators Adams, Humphries, Moore, Bartlett and Crossin, move:

That the Senate-

(a)
notes:
(i)the success to date of the roll-out of the non-sniffable Opal fuel and the dramatic reduction in the number of young people sniffing petrol over the 2006-07 summer, particularly in remote communities, and
(ii)that some progress has been made on the difficult issue of tackling petrol sniffing in Alice Springs, but that some issues still remain to be resolved;

OPAL FUEL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Speech
Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (3.57 p.m.)-I, and also on behalf of Senators Adams, Humphries, Moore, Bartlett and Crossin, move:

That the Senate-

(a)
notes:
(i)the success to date of the roll-out of the non-sniffable Opal fuel and the dramatic reduction in the number of young people sniffing petrol over the 2006-07 summer, particularly in remote communities, and
(ii)that some progress has been made on the difficult issue of tackling petrol sniffing in Alice Springs, but that some issues still remain to be resolved;

speeches-in-parliament

Native Title Amendments - an Opportunity Wasted

22 Mar 2007

I rise to speak to the amendments to Native Title Act.

I rise to speak to the amendments to Native Title Act.

media-releases

Land carve up won't deliver Aboriginal home ownership

14 Mar 2007

"Mal Brough's plan to overturn Aboriginal community ownership of their land is not about private home ownership on remote communities. It is just a foot in the door strategy to overturn community land tenure," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"This is not the way to tackle the Aboriginal housing crisis."

"For a government that promotes itself on its economic credentials, this plan is an embarrassment. The Minister has failed home economics 101. Private home ownership is not the economic panacea, nor is it realistic," said Senator Siewert.

"Mal Brough's plan to overturn Aboriginal community ownership of their land is not about private home ownership on remote communities. It is just a foot in the door strategy to overturn community land tenure," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"This is not the way to tackle the Aboriginal housing crisis."

"For a government that promotes itself on its economic credentials, this plan is an embarrassment. The Minister has failed home economics 101. Private home ownership is not the economic panacea, nor is it realistic," said Senator Siewert.

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