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Time to help parents, not punish them

Punitive approaches to managing truancy in the Northern Territory will not solve the problem because they fail to address underlying causes, say the Australian Greens.

"It's time the NT government stop trying to shift the blame and got serious about addressing the problems in schools in the NT, especially in remote Aboriginal communities," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

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Greens urge O-week students to enrol for student payments

Tens of thousands of WA university students returning to study in the next fortnight will be able to qualify for a $950 Government Training and Learning Bonus, thanks to an extended deadline negotiated by the Australian Greens.

“Under Kevin Rudd’s original plan for the $42 billion economic stimulus package, only those students who had enrolled by 3 February could qualify for the $950 bonus,” Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“However, as a result of the Greens’ negotiations in the Senate this deadline has been extended to 31 March.”

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Time for a real revolution in Aboriginal education and employment: Greens

The Australian Greens today called for a renewed push in Aboriginal education and employment.

"We have a huge inequality in this country - one that we should be ashamed of. The gap in literacy and employment rates remain huge and opportunities taken for granted by most Australians are non-existent for Aboriginal Australians," said Australian Greens Aboriginal issues spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

The Greens expressed support for Professor Mick Dodson's strong statements on the state of Aboriginal education, at his National Press Club address yesterday.

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Time for a different approach to school truancy: Greens

The Australian Greens today called on Federal Minister Jenny Macklin to cancel punitive truancy welfare trials in the Northern Territory, following indications that the Western Australian Government might not go ahead with trials in selected suburbs of Perth.

"I welcome WA Child Protection Minister Robyn McSweeney's comments this week that her Government would not support the trial because they are concerned it could increase crime and leave children hungry," Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Greens welcome WA Government’s cooling on truancy trials

The Australian Greens today welcomed signs that the Western Australian Government may not implement a punitive Federal Government truancy trial in Perth schools.
“The program, which has been widely criticised by teacher’s unions and welfare groups, allows Centrelink to halt payments to parents whose children fail to attend school for 13 weeks,” Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“Such a punitive program fails to address the underlying causes of non-attendance and only further undermines families in need of support.

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Schooling Requirements Bill

The Australian Greens believe that the best educational and social outcomes for Australian families and their children will be achieved if the children are enrolled in and regularly attending school and actively participating in an education that is relevant to their lives, their culture and their aspirations. However, we do not believe that this is what the Social Security and Veterans' Entitlements Legislation Amendment (Schooling Requirements) Bill 2008 is all about. This bill is not a genuine attempt to deliver educational engagement.

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School Requirements Bill needs rethink

The Australian Greens today called on the Government to withdraw the School Requirements Bill, saying that it is poor legislation, lacks an evidence base and contradicts the Governments social inclusion agenda.

"The Greens today tabled a dissenting report in the Senate following the Community Affairs Committee inquiry into the Bill. Evidence to the Committee was overwhelmingly opposed to this punitive approach to school attendance. There is simply no evidence to support this approach," said Senator Siewert.

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Coercive interventions without family support doomed to fail

The Australian Greens today welcomed the launch of ‘Contexts of Child Development - Culture, Policy and Intervention' by the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health.

"This work clearly demonstrates why ungrounded coercive approaches like the Northern Territory Intervention and the upcoming welfare truancy trials are doomed to fail from the very start," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

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Punishing families for truancy destined to fail

"It is clear from Senate question time today that the Government has not thought through the impacts of their planned welfare quarantining trials for truancy," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"In the Senate today, the Government admitted that the trial was not limited to the suburb of Cannington, as originally stated. Instead, the trial extends across the Cannington Centrelink district, which includes the suburbs of South Guilford, Burswood, Victoria Park, South Perth, Queens Park, Belmont, Bentley, Rossmoyne, Welshpool and Canning Vale."

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