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Xenophon and Greens push for whistleblower protections and poker machine reforms

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 14 Aug 2010

Independent Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon will join Australian Greens' Senator Rachel Siewert in Western Australia today, in a joint call for the major parties to commit to strengthening whistleblower protections, protection of journalists' sources and Freedom of Information laws, as well as reducing the damage caused by poker machines.

"These are key issues which the Greens and I totally agree," Nick said. "These are basic matters of principle on which we will go to the wire on."

"The Greens and I are committed to work to ensure that those who speak out in the public interest are protected from criminal prosecution."

"We will negotiate strongly to protect journalists from revealing their sources, so that the media is able to maintain its position as an independent Fourth Estate."

"And, we want to ensure that all Government departments, including intelligence agencies, are fully open for scrutiny and their books accessible under FoI laws, while safeguarding national security," Nick said.

"Both Labor and the Coalition have pledged to be open and transparent as part of their election campaigns, but neither have proposed legislation that would guarantee the basic protections necessary in a democracy," Nick said.

The Greens also share Senator Xenophon's concerns about the harm caused by poker machines, and similarly call for immediate action by the Federal Government.

"The Australian Greens recognise the dangers of poker machines and support harm minimisation strategies such as reducing the maximum bets per spin to $1 and capping losses at $120 per hour."

Senator Siewert says Western Australia cannot allow poker machines to spread into the suburbs like it has in the eastern states.

“All the evidence shows we need to keep these machines out of pubs and clubs in Western Australia. I will campaign to ensure that our pubs and clubs remain poker machine free,” Senator Siewert said.

Senator Xenophon says he, with the Australian Greens, will maintain a tough stance on each of these issues to ensure greater accountability and good government.

"These are issues we will not and cannot move on, because it's too important. For a Government to be truly accountable, they need to be truly transparent," Nick said.

"If an employee can't speak out in the public interest for fear of being prosecuted, or a journalist can't write a story because they're scared they might have to reveal their source, then no Government will ever be properly scrutinised."


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