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School truancy measures are punitive, not progressive: Greens

The Australian Greens today condemned the Federal Government's plan to suspend the welfare payments of families of children who fail to attend school.

"Where is the evidence base that this punitive approach will actually work?" asked Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"What evidence is there that it is only the kids of welfare recipients who are not attending school?"

"What happens to these families when their payments are suspended?"

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Greens support NT teachers' industrial action

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert made a strong statement of support in Alice Springs today for industrial action being taken by teachers in the Northern Territory.

"The legitimate efforts of teachers in the NT to negotiate for fairer work conditions are currently being hampered by an uncooperative NT Labor Government," said Senator Siewert.

Teachers in the NT recently took industrial action after the Commissioner for Public Employment again failed to deliver an offer that would guarantee teachers equitable pay and conditions.

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NT intervention failing Indigenous education

"The release of the latest figures today on Indigenous education highlights the need for a radical change of strategy to tackle this pressing problem," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

The Australian Education Union report was commissioned to examine the impact of the federal intervention in Aboriginal communities. The report indicates that almost two billion dollars is needed to ensure Aboriginal students in the Northern Territory have the same opportunities as students in the rest of Australia.

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PM's comments undermine Australian research

The Greens are calling on the Prime Minister to clearly state the government's policy on research independence and stakeholder funding.

"This government has systematically re-focused the priorities of Australian research over the last decade by requiring research organisations, including CSIRO, Cooperative Research Centres and Universities, to 'leverage' an increasing portion of their research funding from industry stakeholders," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

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Government using welfare to 'coerce' parents on health checks – Greens

"The compulsory health checks were illegal from the outset. Now the government is trying to fix its mistake by using the threat of stringent welfare checks to coerce parents who refuse health checks for their children," Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens Indigenous Affairs spokesperson said in Alice Springs today.

"The Indigenous communities I have spoken with in Alice Springs want to work with the government to get the best outcomes for their children and families. Using welfare to coerce parents is confrontational and counterproductive."

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Greens: Apply new baby bonus rules to all

The Greens want all parents to receive the Baby Bonus in fortnightly payments, not just those under the age of 18.

The Greens will today seek to amend the Government's baby bonus legislation to extend fortnightly payments to all recipients unless a lump sum is specifically approved.

The reasons the Government put forward for limiting payments to those under 18 apply to all parents, and in fact many of those reasons apply more to those over 18.

"Young mothers have been unduly discriminated against in this legislative change."

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The Value of Higher Education

One of the big questions for me about this bill is: are these changes needed for the higher education sector? I and a number of other people do not believe that they are. This is yet another plank in the government's attack on industrial relations conditions in this country and it promotes their ideological campaign. There is strong consensus on this issue across the university and TAFE sector, with agreement among the Vice-Chancellors Committee, the AVCC; the tertiary unions, both the NTEU and the CSA; the academic and general staff; and students that these changes are not necessary.

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