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World Toilet Day

  1. That the Senate notes:
    1. Thursday 19th November 2009 is World Toilet Day - a day to celebrate the importance of sanitation and raise awareness for the world's population who don't have access to toilets and proper sanitation;
    2. 2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation, which risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people (mostly children) a year;
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‘Hasty' report on oil impacts may be tip of the iceberg

A hastily-organised five-day marine environmental survey commissioned by the Federal Environment Minister in the region impacted by the Montara oil spill shows large numbers of false killer whales, birds and sea snakes in the area.

“The report reveals a high level of diversity and abundance of species and warns that many of these were observed feeding and moving in the oil – activities that the report says are likely to put them at ‘immediate risk’,” Greens Spokesperson on Marine Issues, Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Greens: low welfare payments undermine work-readiness

Comments today by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard defending unemployment payments that are well below the poverty line show she is out-of-touch with ordinary Australians, the Australian Greens say.

“Australia's unemployed are now officially the poorest in the developed world,” Greens Employment and Workplace Relations Spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Indigenous Housing

I rise to make a contribution to this discussion over whether the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program has actually begun delivering. I am hearing a bit of hypocrisy from both sides of this chamber at this time. Federal and territory governments of both persuasions have failed over many years to deliver housing to Aboriginal communities throughout Australia-particularly the federal and Northern Territory governments in the Northern Territory.

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Rudd Government funding spells death for school trees

Greens Senator for WA Rachel Siewert is concerned that trees in schoolyards across Australia are being cut down to accommodate
standardised new buildings under the Rudd Government's Building the  Education Revolution funding guidelines.

"Concerned parents in Perth have told me that many trees have already been cut down while the future of others hangs on a thread, only thanks to the intervention of concerned parents," Senator Siewert said.

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Widening gap in Indigenous disadvantage symptomatic of a failing approach - Greens

The release today of a report showing that indicators of Indigenous social and economic disadvantage haven't improved and in some cases have got worse should be a strong signal to Government that the dictatorial, top-down approach taken by both the Howard and Rudd Governments simply isn't working and needs to change.

"Today's release of the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report is a sharp wake-up call for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today.

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'Intervention' on ABC1

A collaboration between Tangentyere Research and filmmaker Vincent Lamberti, Intervention looks at the impacts of the Federal Government's Northern Territory Emergency Response into Aboriginal Communities, otherwise known as the 'Intervention', from the perspective of the people who live under the legislation day in day out. It was the Winner of the Documentary Australia Award 2008 for Best Documentary raising awareness around an important social issue.

Intervention will screen on ABC1 this Sunday June 21st at 1.30pm

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Alice Springs Town Camps

I rise today to speak about two issues that I feel very strongly about and am passionately concerned about: the Alice Springs town camp leases and the exemption of the Northern Territory intervention from the Racial Discrimination Act. I have been extremely concerned by the manner in which the government and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs have proceeded with the negotiations over the Alice Springs town camp leases and the way this issue has been presented.

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