Weekly Wrap 4th July

Welcome to your weekly wrap up for The Greens Victorian election campaign, this week there's updates on the East-West toll road, 153 Tamil asylum seekers at sea and fiery criticism from Nobel Prize Winners.

In the environment

Planning Minister Matthew Guy approved Victoria’s most expensive road in history [1].

Ellen Sandell said “It’s completely nonsensical that Minister Guy would approve the East West toll road. With thousands of submissions from community groups, tens of thousands of Victorians signing petitions and taking to the streets, it’s clear that the people of Melbourne do not want this toll road.

“The toll road has been approved despite a lack of clarity on the impact on Flemington Road. No business case has been announced, but Infrastructure Australia’s analysis indicates that for every $1 invested, 20 cents will be wasted [2]. Considering stage one and two of this project will cost $18 billion, that’s a lot of taxpayer money going to waste."

In response to this a snap meeting  has been called for this Sunday the 6th of July. Recent community action against the toll road saved part of Royal Park, come along to ensure community pressure is maintained to stop the road that nobody wants.

Read more here:
[1] http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/east-west-link-project-approved-with-royal-park-largely-spared-20140630-zsr4b.html

[2] http://www.smh.com.au/national/eastwest-link-would-not-return-state-costs-20140212-32ihr.html

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The Greens have refused to vote for Tony Abbott's reintroduction of the fuel price excise citing the Federal Government's motivation to use revenue from the tax to fund the creation of new roads.

On the issue Deputy Leader Adam Bandt was interviewed by The Age on the issue stating "To us that is not a sensible approach. If we want to build more public transport and give people more options ...  then you put more money into public transport.

"We've advocated for a while for the indexation of fuel for providing those other alternatives to get around the city and to and from work. But the proposal from Tony Abbott, which came with no negotiation - take it or leave it, was build more roads and that is not something The Greens support."

More on Adam's interview here:
http://media.theage.com.au/news/federal-politics/fuel-excise-and-senate-tactics-5564862.html

In social justice

Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott continued their secrecy over the fate of 153 Tamil asylum seekers in the Indian Ocean, refusing to confirm its existence.

Reports suggest that the asylum seeker vessel with the Tamil asylum seekers, 30 of which were children had been transferred to the Sri Lankan Navy, though there has been no official word.

Greens leader Christine Milne said to The Age if the transfers with the Sri Lankan navy go ahead, it would the first example of the Abbott government sending people directly back to where they have been persecuted [3].

''The Prime Minister must explain to Australians how he can claim that what he is doing is not a human rights abuse,'' she said. ''How can he claim what he is doing is not a contravention of the convention when he is engaged in total secrecy?

''It is absolutely wrong for Australia to return people seeking asylum to the countries in which they were being persecuted. It is wrong. It is shameful.''

Fairfax media reports that asylum seekers are being asked jut four questions in their screening process to assess their asylum claim.

''The screening process has real dangers,'' said human rights advocate Julian Burnside, QC  to The Age. ''If a person is screened out by those four cursory questions and if the person is a refugee then we will be guilty of refoulement.

''It is very clear the department is screening people to get them out as fast as possible and not with a view to assess whether they are refugees.''[4]

What justice is there for asylum seekers when the Department of Immigration and Border Protection withhold the whereabouts of the potentially lost at sea? Imagine if Scott Morrison had held out silence over information regarding the whereabouts of Malaysian Flight MH 370.

Read more here:
[3] http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-praises-sri-lankas-human-rights-progress-amid-speculation-tamil-asylum-seekers-were-handed-over-to-countrys-navy-20140703-3b9qf.html

[4] http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/four-questions-then-back-to-sri-lanka-20140702-3b8uf.html#ixzz36NZFy1tH

In the local

The Public Transport Users Association published an open letter to Premier Napthine in the Herald Sun.

“With our public transport network falling apart, Victorians are shocked that the Government is prioritising this half-baked toll road project without a public business case rather than fix public transport as they promised,” Dr Tony Morton, President of the Public Transport Users Association, said.

The awesome letter was signed by 200 people within the community who argue there are more jobs to be gained from public transport investment, that the public transport has failed to grow in relation to the population of Melbourne and two-thirds of Melbourne are without trains or trams.

"Your government was elected promising to fix public transport. please honour this promise, and start funding a fair transport system for all Victorians that gets the state moving. Yes it is "all about better public transport and better roads". But let's have more train, tram and bus services first, fix the roads we've got, and boost walking and cycling before we spend billions on another toll road." said Dr Tony Morton.

We couldn't agree more!

Love this

Nobel prize-winning economist, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, has spoken to Fairfax Media commenting on his opinion of the Abbott Budget, naming it "a crime, absurd" over several policies.

Professor Stiglitz took aim towards Abbott's attack on Medicare and the education system, claiming them to be a model for the rest of the world.

More on Stiglitz compelling arguments here:
http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbotts-changes-to-universities-and-health-a-crime-absurd-says-nobel-prize-winning-economist-joseph-stiglitz-20140702-3b8ue.html

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Senator Richard Di Natale was a guest on this week's Q&A program and answered a question on refugees.

Michael Roache asked "I’m interested to know from the politicians on the panel, what sort of lessons do they think we, as a nation, are teaching our children about compassion, about helping the most vulnerable and marginalised and about being a responsible global citizen, given the refugee and asylum seeker policies that both major parties support?"

Senator Di Natale replied "I think we've got to take a step back and we've got to recognise that there is never ever a reason to lock up young kids, to deprive them of hope and to drive people, because we've deprived them of all hope to take their own lives.

"There's never a reason to do it, It's a really difficult policy area but what we're doing is wrong. We're hurting people, we should recognise that being able to offer people protection, that's a sign of strength it's not a sign of weakness."

Watch the rest of Richard's passionate response here:

Events this week

Sunday July 6th, 2014 at 4pm - 5:30pm

Canning St, Carlton
SNAP MEETING ON THE EAST WEST TOLL ROAD -- WITH ADAM BANDT AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS

 

Sunday July 6th, 2014 at 2pm

Koko Black, Carlton
Carlton Neighbourhood Door Knock

 

Wednesday July 9th, 2014 6pm

Campaign HQ, Fitzroy
Conversations and messaging training - Ellen Sandell

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