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Heartbreaking lack of leadership on Referendum Council Recommendations

I welcome the joint statement led by Fiona Stanley and ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie, and signed by over 1000 prominent Australians calling on Mr Turnbull to rethink his decision to reject the proposal by the Referendum Council for a voice to Parliament.

“This could be a moment that brings our country together, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The vast majority of Australians want to see progress and a positive way forward for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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Government out of touch with Community Support for Referendum Council

News that polling has been done that shows strong support for an Aboriginal "voice" to Parliament makes a mockery of the Government's claim that such a proposal would not get popular support, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues said today. 

"At Estimates last Friday I asked Minister Scullion how he and his colleagues had arrived at the opinion that the Australian people would reject a referendum on constitutional reform for a ‘voice” to Parliament.

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Mr Turnbull is utterly failing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

We have heard in Estimates this morning that Minister Scullion thought it  “most unfortunate” that the cabinet brief on the Referendum Council was leaked.

“What is “most unfortunate” is how this Government has failed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by dismissing the Referendum Council’s recommendation for a Voice to Parliament.

"Before making the decision to dimiss the concept the Government didn't consult or talk to key Aboriginal bodies or representatives, nor go back to the Co-chairs of the Council.

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Coalition cannot let Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Down

I am deeply distressed by news that Cabinet has reportedly rejected the Referendum Council's proposal for Constitutional reform for 'the voice', Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“If Cabinet has rejected this reform it makes a mockery of the Government's claim that they will listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Referendum Council's recommendation was unanimously supported by the First Nations' delegates that met at Uluru and produced the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

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Greens Welcome Introduction of Redress Legislation, needs careful scrutiny

I welcome the introduction of legislation for a national redress scheme, I know this is a day that survivors of insitutional child sexual abuse have been waiting a long time for with some thinking it would never happen.

“While welcoming the introduction of the scheme and wanting to see a scheme in place as soon as practicable, the legislation needs careful scrutiny as there are some early concerns with the legislation. 

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Centrelink busy signals now up to 55 million

The number of calls to Centrelink that hit a busy signal has risen yet again to 55 million from 42 million for financial year to April 30, up from 42 million when I asked last Estimates, Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“55 million busy signals. This is an astronomical number representing Australians trying to access supports, adjust their payments, seek information or update their earnings. That is a lot of frustrated people who may be exasperated and struggling.

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Greens welcome Government commitment to implement Committee inquiry recommendations on veteran suicide and mental health

I welcome the Government’s response to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee's inquiry into Suicide by Veterans, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The evidence we heard at the inquiry was harrowing and clearly showed that more needed to be done, we need to do much better for our veterans and ex-service personnel.

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Australian Government must do better on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Human Rights

The Government has got to listen to the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APO NT) and involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in a transparent process of reform of the discriminatory Commonwealth Development Program.

"The Commonwealth Development Program is a discriminatory program that is financially penalising Aboriginal people more harshly than those on the other work for the dole program, that is not producing the results and causing disastrous outcomes for communities, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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We cannot sacrifice quality in a race to get people signed up to the NDIS

The Government needs to act immediately on the Productivity Commission findings including planning for a new timeline for the NDIS rollout, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Many people including the Greens have been raising the issues outlined in the Productivity Commission report for a long time now, and our concerns have been ignored for far too long.

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