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Truancy & Welfare Quarantining

I would like to speak about the legislation that was tabled in the House of Representatives today that deals with truancy. The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today tabled a bill in the House of Representatives that gives the government the power to cut off or even cancel welfare payments to parents whose children do not attend school. Julia Gillard is the Minister for Education and the Minister for Social Inclusion.

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Greens will oppose Truancy Bill in Senate

The Australian Greens today responded the Rudd Government's bill to allow welfare payments being cut, by vowing to oppose the passage of the legislation in the Senate.

"It is telling that the first piece of legislation Julia Gillard has introduced to enact the promised ‘education revolution' in our schools is a punitive and populist measure that targets the families of disadvantaged children - and is likely to make their lives all the harder," said Senator Siewert today.

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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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