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Aid/Watch only the first of many to fall

"The decision by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to strip Aid/Watch of its charity tax status is another attack on Australian democracy," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"Aid/Watch is only the first of a large number of community organisations, from environment groups to welfare organisations who we can expect to lose tax deductibility status in an attempt to either silence them or starve them of funds."

"Aid/Watch is only the first in the line of dominos to go down in the start of a major campaign to silence dissent."

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Laws can't protect wetlands

"It became clear in Senate Estimates today that State and Commonwealth environment laws are inadequate to protect even our most icon wetlands," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

The Federal Environment Department today said they could "neither confirm nor deny" that an application to clear an area of land on the Gwydir floodplain had been made to the NSW Government.

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Government role in AWB scandal will come way or another

I move:

That the following matter be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 March 2006:

The involvement of the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) in the Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme between 1999 and 2003, and consequent revelations that such involvement led to payments that were directed towards the Iraqi Government, with particular reference to the conduct of Commonwealth regulators including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Wheat Export Authority and any other relevant agencies.

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