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.
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.
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.
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?
28 Mar 2007
OPAL FUEL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
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-
(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;
22 Mar 2007
I rise to speak to the amendments to Native Title Act.
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.
27 Feb 2007
I rise to speak tonight on issues of fairness and to share some stories that have been brought to my attention as to how Australia has become less fair in recent times.
25 Feb 2007
"More than double the number of Aboriginal Australians are now being breached by Centrelink as a result of Welfare to Work," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"When questioned in the Senate this afternoon the new Minister for Human Services, Ian Campbell was obviously unaware of the impact of the breaching regime on Aboriginal Australians," she said.
"It is clearly not on the Government's radar, despite warnings of the potential adverse impact of Welfare to Work on Aboriginal communities."
25 Feb 2007
My question is to the Minister for Human Services, Senator Ian Campbell. Is the minister aware of the dramatic increase in the number of Aboriginal Australians on income support payments who have been given an eight-week non-payment penalty, or breached, by Centrelink? Is the minister aware that, in the first three months of the new compliance system, 140 Aboriginal people were breached? This is nearly double the figure of the previous three months, or an increase of 133 per cent. Is the minister concerned that, of 170 breaches in his home state of WA, 50 were Aboriginal people-nearly a third of all breaches? Is the minister aware of these alarming figures? What does the minister intend to do to address this pressing problem?
06 Dec 2006
This is an extremely important issue and I thank the Senate for granting me leave to make a statement. Firstly, I would like to acknowledge that we are on Ngunnawal people's lands. They are the traditional owners of the land on which we stand. I also want to acknowledge all of the Aboriginal people who worked hard to build this country but did not receive the benefits of that wealth creation.
I particularly want to acknowledge the witnesses who came forward to give their evidence to the committee. I understand that it caused them, in some cases, deep distress. I extend my thanks and deep respect to those witnesses.
In speaking today on the tabling of this report, I want to focus particularly on the issues relating to my home state of Western Australia. I am doing so because the preliminary evidence that has been brought to light during the inquiry indicates that the issue and the scale of injustice is every bit as serious in the west as it was in Queensland and New South Wales. In particular, the small amount of historical research done so far in the west indicates that there was a systematic alienation of pension and maternity allowances in the state and that this was huge.