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No extra food safety checks after Hep A outbreak

Under questioning by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed berries being imported to Australia are not being subjected to any extra safety checks, in spite of contaminated products sparking an outbreak of Hepatitis A.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Dr Paul Grimes has told a Senate Estimates hearing this morning, "We have not made changes on surveillance rates broadly at this stage."

Senator Siewert has described that as a completely ludicrous failure.

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Pricing carbon makes Australia a world leader in action against climate change - WA Greens

WA Senators Rachel Siewert and Scott Ludlam say today's historic carbon price vote is the start of serious action on climate change.

"The passage of the Clean Energy Future package through the Senate represents a new beginning for our economy, with new industries and new jobs being created," Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Greens back UN criticism of the NT Intervention

The Australian Greens have strongly endorsed comments made by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay calling on the Federal Government to take a new approach to the NT Intervention.

“This is another damning criticism of the NT Intervention, which again reflects poorly on Australian’s commitment to human rights,” Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The UN Universal Periodic Review and UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) have both raised serious concerns over Australia's failure to meet international commitments on eliminating discrimination.

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Joint Press Conference - Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, and Greens health spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert – in Canberra today

Senator Bob Brown and Senator Rachel Siewert urge state and federal leaders to boost mental health services and work towards a national, universal public dental care scheme.

Senator Brown also vows to take on Rio Tinto, whose profit bonanza will benefit its more than 70-percent foreign shareholders, and other heavyweights as companies prepare to fight efforts to develop an alternative to coal and the Greens’ push to put an effective price on carbon.

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Government disappoints with response to UN findings on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights

The Australian Greens say it is unsatisfactory for the Government to take six months before deciding whether to accept or reject the findings made by the UN Human Rights Council’s periodic review of Australia on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues said today that the Government’s underwhelming response came despite having plenty of notice of the review’s issues, which have been raised a number of times.

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Senate recognises human toll of poor sanitation

The Senate has formally recognised tomorrow, 19 November as World Toilet Day, helping to raise awareness of the fact that 2.6 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation.

The motion, proposed by Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson for Water, expressed concern that as a result of poor sanitation, diarrhoea is the leading cause of death in Africa and the second leading cause of child death globally.

“Each year, more than 1.4 million children die as a result of unclean water and poor sanitation,” Senator Siewert said today.

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International Aid and Assistance

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (9.54 am)—I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 102 standing in my name for today relating to international aid assistance for clean water and sanitation.I move the motion as amended: That the Senate:
(a)    recognises that 19 November 2010, is World Toilet Day – a day to acknowledge the importance of sanitation and raise awareness of the 2.6 billion people, two-fifths of humanity, who lack access to basic sanitation,

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Parliamentary Debate on Afghanistan

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (9.08pm)—I rise to take part in a debate that should have happened 10 years ago—or nine years ago as we are in our 10th year of this conflict. It is good to see that the parliament is finally debating the merits of our military involvement in Afghanistan. While I welcome this opportunity and I am glad it has finally come, this highlights a problem in Australia in that, as I said, we are now in our 10th year of conflict and this is the first year time the parliament has discussed it in terms of debating it.

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