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Crossbench backs Greens stance on mental health

The Australian Greens have welcomed the support given by the Lower House independents, bar Bob Katter, to their call for a comprehensive approach to mental health funding.

Greens Mental Health spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert said the group (Tony Crook, Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie) joined Greens MP Adam Bandt and voted yesterday in favour of providing mental health funding and investment in a range of desperately needed services which were not covered by the Coalition’s motion on mental health.

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Greens welcome start of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy

Senator Rachel Siewert today welcomed the release of the Government's response to the report: Suicide in Australia: The Hidden Toll.

“The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler has produced a timely report which addresses the 42 recommendations of the report. The Government's response indicates support for a large number of the recommendations,” Senator Siewert said.

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MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE - Mental Health

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (4.37 pm)—I tend to agree with the essence of this debate, and that is that the Gillard government has failed to properly fund mental health services. While I agree with the fact that we have not been funding our mental health services adequately, I cannot support this particular motion, because of the antics of the opposition. The opposition put a motion to this chamber about one specific aspect of mental health. It does not take a comprehensive approach in addressing men-tal health.

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Greens put SIHIP concerns to Government

 

The Australian Greens have taken concerns about the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) to the Senate, questioning the Government over reports that Aboriginal workers are being underpaid and unfairly treated.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson for Aboriginal Issues raised the issue in Question Time today after reports that CDEP participants are being used in preference to providing real job opportunities in local communities.

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Mental Health

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (3.59 pm)—I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 80 standing in my name for today relating to mental health funding. I move the motion as amended:

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Australian National Preventive Health Agency Bill 2010

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (1.14 pm)—The Greens believe that the real challenge for our health system, now and into the future, is managing illness in a way that keeps people out of hospital and well. We believe the evidence is overwhelming that our health policies should focus on keeping people well, preventing illness and better managing illness in the community. We very strongly believe in preventative health measures—and, of course, helping to keep people well is where preventative health comes in.

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Comprehensive, constructive approach to mental health reform needed

I was concerned by the article in Crikey last Friday where Professor Patrick McGorry accused the Greens of not caring about mental health funding simply because we'd failed to back a Coalition motion in the Senate.

Since then Get Up have responded with a campaign to get their members to contact The Greens and urge us to support the Coalition. Why anyone who had compared our policies would want us to drop our comprehensive mental health reform strategy in exchange for the grab-bag offerings of the Coalition is beyond me.

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