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Greens welcome Colombian hostage release

The Australian Greens welcomed the release today of Clara Rojas one of two hostages released by Colombian rebels. Clara was running mate and campaign manager for Greens' ex-presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, with whom she was kidnapped in 2002.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert called on the Australian government to join international efforts to secure the release of all hostages and bring peace in the long-running war in Colombia.

"Unfortunately Ingrid and thousands of other hostages are still being held by the rebels."

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Villawood must be closed: Greens

The annual inspection report on conditions in immigration detention centres released today by HREOC is an urgent reminder that the new Government has much work to do to create a humane refugee policy.

"The first thing the Government must do is to close down Villawood detention centre immediately," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"HREOC has once again recommended Villawood be demolished with the Human Rights Commissioner, Graeme Innes calling it a 'disgrace'. There can be no more excuses for Villawood to remain open," she said.

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Government should abide by Haneef Decision

The Australian Greens today said they expect the Federal Government to abide by the decision of the Full Bench of the Federal Court to uphold an earlier decision to reinstate Mohammed Haneef's work visa.
"Mr Haneef has been through enough and should be allowed to get on with his life" said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"Instead of challenging the Federal Court decision in the High Court the Federal Government would be better reviewing the laws and process that lead to this travesty and ensure that such a thing doesn't happen again."

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International Day of people with Disability

The Greens today called for the newly sworn-in Rudd Government to take action on the International Day of people with Disability.

"People with disabilities and their carers are some of the most disadvantaged in our community. Mr Rudd said one of his key areas of interest was the treatment of people with a disability, and today is the perfect opportunity for him to exercise immediate action," said Senator Siewert.

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Restoring our democracy

Rachel Siewert 22 Nov 2007

"The last decade under Howard has seen the undermining of civil society and a substantial winding back in the engagement of the community in policy development," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

Senator Siewert was addressing the Australian Council of Social Services Congress 'Australia Fair' in Adelaide. The Greens announced a plan to restore the vital role of the community in Australia's democracy – "Beyond Silencing Dissent."

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Disability a key election issue

The Australian Greens today reiterated their support for the National CSTDA Community Alliance campaign.

Today, across Australia people with a disability, their families and supporters will be calling for a fair go for people with a disability and their families!

"People with a disability and their families continue to go without basic support and services," said Senator Siewert.

"There is an urgent need to commit more resources to tackle growing unmet need in disability support services."

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Greens support Disability Alliance claims

The Australian Greens today put their support behind the calls by the Disability Alliance to address the needs of people with a disability.

The Disability Alliance are calling for implementation of the recommendations of the bipartisan Senate Report on the Funding and Operation of the Commonwealth State/Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA), a 20% increase in Commonwealth funding, and guaranteed full annual indexation.

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Support not punishment for welfare system

The report released yesterday by the Mental Health Council of Australia, Let's Get to Work, is further confirmation of the wrong-headed and damaging approach of the Government's Welfare to Work laws.

"As with many of the Government's policies, welfare to work is not grounded in the evidence of what actually works to assist people with disabilities, including mental illness, into work, but rather is an ideological assault on some of the most vulnerable in our society," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

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