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David Risstrom - Victorian Greens No. 1 Senate Candidate

Rosa the Policy Watchdog drives policy!

David Risstrom News + Views Jul-Sep 07: Apr-Jun 07: Jan-Mar 07

David Risstrom News + Views: Oct-Dec 06: Jul-Sep 06: Apr-Jun 06: Jan-Mar 06

Rosa and Dave's News + Views: Oct-Dec 05: Jul-Sep 05; Apr-Jun 05; Jan-Mar 05

Rosa and Dave's News + Views Oct-Dec 2004: Jul-Sep 2004; Apr-Jun 2004; Jan-Mar 2004

Rosa and Dave's News + Views Oct-Dec 2003; Jul-Sep 2003; Apr-Jun 2003; Jan-Mar 2003

Rosa and Dave's News + Views 2002

Through Green Coloured Glasses 2003; 2002

David Risstrom's Community Involvement 2004-2001; 2001-1999; Pre-1999

Did Cr. Risstrom Deliver on His Promises for 2001-2004?; 1999-2001?

Victorian Local Government Elections 2005: 2004

 

NEWS AND VIEWS OF DAVID RISSTROM: 2004 VICTORIAN GREENS No 1 SENATE CANDIDATE

David RisstromRosa The Policy Watchdog

WITH COMMENTS BY ROSA RISSTROM: CHAIRDOG OF THE SENATE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

David Risstrom and Rosa, the Greens' Melbourne City Council Policy Watchdog and Chairdog of the Senate Oversight Committee, keep a watching brief on news, ideas, issues and policies. If there are issues you think need to be discussed, please contact David at david@davidrisstrom.org or Rosa at rosa@davidrisstrom.org. Rosa last updated this site on 15 December 2004.


 

15 DECEMBER 2004

GUNNS ACTION THREATENS FREE SPEECH

This press release was issued by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle on the appalling attack on the right to protest by the Tasmanian Forestry giant Gunns Pty Ltd, following the issuing of a $6.3 million writ in the Victorian Supreme Court.

Yesterday, Gunns Pty Ltd served writs on 20 individuals and organisations, including the Wilderness Society, Doctors for Forests, the Huon Valley Environment Centre, Peg Putt MHA and Senator Bob Brown. The writs seek over $6 million in damages.

Speaking at a protest vigil held in Sydney today in solidarity with the twenty people and organisations targeted by Gunns attack on free speech Senator Nettle said,

"I will stand by the activists who have stood up for the Tasmanian forests. Unable to win the debate over the forests Gunns is now pursuing legal action against its critics. This is an attack on free speech and democracy.

"This case is putting free speech on trial. If Gunns are successful in getting injunctions against protesters then they will have effectively made political protest against corporations illegal.

"This suit is clearly intended to bully into silence politicians, protesters, and anyone attempting to exercise their democratic right to speak out.

"The Greens will not be silenced by Gunns or any other company from identifying environmentally damaging practices and speaking out to protect our ecological heritage."

Vigils were also held in Hobart, Launceston and Adelaide today.

More information on Sydney protest: Damien Lawson 0419 253 342

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10 DECEMBER 2004

HUMAN EXTINCTION WITHIN 100 YEARS WARNS SCIENTIST

This article by John Henzell was forwarded to me by ACF Councillor and former Democrats Senator John Coulter.

A top New Zealand researcher is using a prestigious award ceremony in Christchurch to warn that humans face extinction by the end of the century.

Professor Peter Barrett will be presented with the Marsden Medal tonight for his 40-year contribution to Antarctic research, latterly focusing on climate change.

The director of Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre expects to use his acceptance speech to warn climate change was a major threat to the planet.

"After 40 years, I'm part of a huge community of scientists who have become alarmed with our discovery, that we know from our knowledge of the ancient past, that if we continue our present growth path, we are facing extinction," Barrett said. "Not in millions of years, or even millennia, but by the end of this century."

Barrett won the award 'designed to mark lifetime achievement in the sciences' for his research into Antarctica, which began with helping prove New Zealand was once part of the Gondwanaland supercontinent.

He then changed disciplines, to predicting the impact of climate change. The result was a body of research on Antarctic ice sheets "which to our surprise is becoming increasingly relevant to the world as a consequence of global warming."

Barrett's warning underlines comments he made last year that even the Kyoto Protocol on global warming would not be enough to avert a climate disaster. The United States and Australia have refused to adopt Kyoto protocol measures.

"Research on the past Antarctic climate has an ominous warning for the future ... " he said.

"We need an international commitment to an effective solution, if we are to survive the worst consequences of this grandest of all human experiments."

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4 DECEMBER 2004

WE (STILL) NEED A COALTION OF THE WILLING

Tim Costello, as Chief Executive of World Vision Australia, wrote a good opinion piece earlier this year, which post election is salient and I felt well worth reproducing. This opinion piece identifies issues I repeatedly raised during the Federal election campaign, but am concerned will not be dealt with realistically in the years of conservative coalition to come.

We Need a Coalition of the Willing

The Government has just handed down what is potentially its last budget. 

For the ninth time, it has missed the opportunity to increase foreign aid to the level required to meet our international obligations.  For another year we will maintain a rhetorical commitment to addressing global poverty when in reality we are just not doing enough about it.

There are some welcome initiatives in the budget, such as increased funds for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific nations. But these measures fall short of what is needed to play our part in addressing the most profound moral challenge facing the world, poverty.

Again, budget commitments on defence dwarf foreign aid by approximately 10 to 1.  Yet both are vital for long term global stability.  The Prime Minister has just allocated a further $232 million for what he describes as “the fight of our lives” in terrorism.  However this will be spent expanding Australia’s spy network because he believes intelligence is “the best weapon this country has against the terrorist threat to Australia.” I believe that poverty, not terrorism, is the biggest challenge facing the world today.

I am not suggesting Australia should spend less on defence.  Nor am I suggesting that intelligence is not essential.  We need to fight the war on terror.  But Australia should also fight the war on poverty as an integral part of the long term solution. To do that, I am calling on Australia to join a new “coalition of the willing” aimed at meeting the Millennium Development Goals.  These 8 goals were agreed by all UN member nations and are the internationally agreed platform for halving poverty by 2015.  But Australia’s commitment has not been matched with action.

While poverty does not lead directly to terrorism, poverty does lead to loss of hope.  And loss of hope is a very fertile breeding ground for terrorist networks.  Hope is an incredibly powerful force that has the ability to transform individuals as well as communities at large. Every generation of children that grows up malnourished, poorly educated and traumatised by violence puts their country further and further behind.  And the widening gap between rich and poor breeds the desperation on which terrorism feeds.

I am not alone in this belief.  In 1968, Robert F Kennedy said that poverty, illness, illiteracy, intolerance, oppression and war were the “central enemies of our age.”

36 years later this statement is still true.  Half the world still live on less than $2 a day.  Each year nearly 11 million children die before their fifth birthday, mainly of preventable diseases.  And oppression and war still dominate too many lives.  Significant inroads have been made in tackling these issues, but to win this winnable war more must be done.

As individuals, Australians want to fight the war on poverty.  Through World Vision alone, Australians gave $83 million to Africa last year, compared to the government’s $61 million.  Since September 11, our supporters has more than doubled.  The challenge now is for the government to match this private generosity and pay our fair share in addressing the issues affecting more than half the world.  Since 1972, GNI per capita has increased by 68%, while foreign aid per capita has fallen by nearly 6%.

A commitment to law and order is important, but regional stability comes about by more than just band aids like gun amnesties and increased levels of armed police. Unless we address the underlying problems, we will soon need more armed police.  And with increased emphasis on law and order “aid” programs, and no substantial increase in the overall budget, there are less resources for other, sustainable aid programs.

Australia’s aid as a proportion of GNI still hovers around the lowest levels in some 30 years.  Despite the fact we have the healthiest economy in the OECD, our aid contributions as a proportion of GNI languish in 14th place.  It still falls far short of the recommended threshold of 0.7%.

Hence my call for a new “coalition of the willing”.  Scandinavian nations have been leading this coalition for years, with ODA well ahead of the recommended benchmark. The UK as well, has clear strategies and budgets to help meet the Millennium Development Goals.  In the last two years, President Bush has lifted real US foreign aid by almost a third.  Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Switzerland have all increased their aid budgets.

Australia now needs a government – no matter which side of the political spectrum – that is willing.  Willing to act to meeting the Millennium Development Goals.  Willing to follow the lead of the US and raise foreign aid by a third.  Willing to match the private generosity of Australians.  Willing to make a lasting contribution to one of the world’s toughest fights.

We have the money to do this. So why aren't we willing?

Tim Costello, Chief Executive World Vision

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3 DECEMBER 2004

SENATE SUPPORT GREENS CALL FOR UN ACTION ON BURMA

Senator Kerry Nettle today won Senate support for a Greens motion calling on the government to support the Burmese National League for Democracy's call for a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the Burmese problem. Senator Nettle issued the following media release yesterday.

"The Greens are concerned at news that Aung San Suu Kyi has had her detention extended by the military regime in Burma.

"Today's motion calls on the Australian Government do more to advance democracy in Burma.

"It's time that the UN Security Council dealt more decisively with the fourteen year refusal of the military regime in Burma to recognise the result of the 1990 election.

"The Prime Minister said last week that there is little he can do to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, but he can and should instruct Australia's representative at the UN to make a request that the Security Council consider the Burmese situation as a matter of urgency."

Today's motion
Senator Nettle: To move - That the Senate -
(a) notes
(i) ongoing concern about the political situation in Burma,
(ii) the continued detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and reports that this detention has been extended by the military regime in Burma
(iii) the recent release for student leader Minko Naing and his call for urgent action to pursue democratic reform and national reconciliation
(b) notes
(i) to urge the Burmese junta to fully engage with the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and the United Nations Special Envoy Tan Sri Razali Ismail in their work to find a political solution to Burma's problems.,
(ii) to reiterate Australian demands for the release the National League for Democracy's Vice-Chairman, U Tin Oo, and all the remaining political prisoners, and for the immediate and unconditional release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
(iii) to support the Committee Representing People's Parliament mandate as the legitimate body to convene a democratic Parliament in Burma, according to the 1990 election result
(iv) support the Burmese National League for Democracy's call for the UN Security Council to convene a special session to consider what further measures the UN can take to encourage democratic reform and respect for human rights in Burma.

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2 DECEMBER 2004

GREENS GREET NEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT VOICES IN METRO AND REGIONAL VICTORIA

Victoria now has ten Green Councillors, seven of whom are women.

The newly elected Green Councillors are Greater Bendigo City Councillors Julie Rivendell and David Jones; Melbourne City Councillor Fraser Brindley; Moreland City Councillors Jo Connellan and Andrea Sharam; and Yarra City Councillors Jenny Farrar, Kathleen Maltzahn and Gurm Sekhon.  They join Maribyrnong Crs. Colleen Hartland and Janet Rice in bringing a much needed Green voice on behalf of their communities. 

Growing from our first endorsed Green Councillor in 1999, five in 2001, seven in 2003 and now ten Victorian Green Councillors in 2004 is a solid increase.

We have two new rural and regional Councillors in Julie Rivendell and David Jones at Greater Bendigo, which is a great credit to those involved.  It is exciting to have Moreland Crs. Jo Connellan and Andrea Sharam continue their solid work with Cr. Fraser Brindley following his election to Melbourne City Council and the return of Crs. Jenny Farrar and Gurm Sekhon and election of Kathleen Maltzahn will maintain a strong Green Yarra presence following the departure of Greg Barber and Deborah di Natale.

Sadly, the narrow loss of Colac Otway Cr. Stephen Hart is exceptionally disappointing and will be strongly felt by his community.  Cr. Hart has been an extremely hard working and fearless advocate whose absence will diminish the council.

Forty-five Green candidates stood as part of an open and honest election campaign, with a number of Green candidates tantalisingly close to winning.  Numerous other capable Green candidates should have been elected on their merits, but the vicissitudes of life in the electoral lane militated against them.

The Melbourne City Council leadership team of Richard di Natale and Liz Conor polled second highest in a field of 21 tickets, with some other candidates probably having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Stooges were a continuing bane in this election, meaning many deserving candidates faced an almost impossible hurdle.  Legislative reform is needed to require candidates to declare their eligibility and intention to take office, in addition to the declaration of the party affiliations of candidates.

The limited introduction of proportional representation has in no way paved the way for any complacency.  This election has shown that elections will continue to be strongly contested and that identification with the community as a long-standing and reliable candidate for the Greens is the best platform from which to succeed.

Local government is an invaluable opportunity to think globally and act locally.  Green Councillors are now in government and deserve our support, encouragement and congratulations.  To everyone who voted, volunteered, and validated our faith in the Greens, thank you very much for helping to elect Green voices to represent us locally.

David Risstrom    Victorian Local Government Election Co-ordinator

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1 DECEMBER 2004

FTA COPYRIGHT BILL WILL HURT CONSUMERS: GREENS

Senator Kerry Nettle issued the following media release on the impact of the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement on copyright and you.

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today criticised proposed changes to copyright law saying the legislation will hurt consumers and Australia's IT industry.

The Copyright Legislation Amendment Bill 2004, introduced into Parliament yesterday, will implement changes agreed to in further negotiations between the US and Australian Governments on the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Senator Nettle also called on the Trade Minister to release the exchange of letters between the two governments.

"This bill takes us further down the US copyright road of giving enormous power to big copyright owners at the expense of consumers and copyright users", Senator Nettle said.

"Internet service providers will be open to a flood of copyright infringement claims that will reduce media diversity and free speech on the net."

"The requirements that carriage service providers must take-down material as soon as they are aware that material may be infringing copyright are exactly what have caused big problems in the US."

"Internet companies remove material in many cases merely on the receipt of a computer generated message alleging copyright breaches, without the complainant having to prove any infringement in the courts."

"Ordinary consumers in the US, who post material to websites, have internet blogs and interest groups are having material taken down and being forced off the web."

"The Greens are also concerned by changes in the bill which may reduce consumer choices because of increased costs to ISPs and the stifling of innovation such as peer-to-peer sharing of files."

"There are big questions about what else Mark Vaile agreed to in order to keep the White House happy. The Senate must see the exchange of letters that sealed the deal before it debates this legislation."

The Greens will move in the Senate to require the tabling of the exchange of letters before any debate on legislation.

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28 NOVEMBER 2004

GREENS GREET NEW GREEN LOCAL GOVERNMENT VOICES IN METRO AND REGIONAL VICTORIA

I issued this media release Sunday morning with provisional votes showing a 25% increase in Greens elected to Victorian Councils.

Press Conference Sunday 28 Nov 11am: level 2, 377 Little Bourke St. between Elizabeth and Queens Sts. enter Racing Club Lane.

Lord Mayoral candidate Richard di Natale will explain why the Greens achieved the second highest primary vote in a field of cashed up and at times “collaborative” candidates.

The newly elected Green Melbourne, Moreland and Yarra councillors will demonstrate why support for the Greens continues to grow and what their constituents can expect from them.

Greens have been elected to Melbourne, Greater Bendigo, Yarra and Moreland City Councils.

On current votes the newly elected Green Crs. are Fraser Brindley - Melbourne; Julie Rivendell and David Jones – Greater Bendigo; Jenny Farrar, Kathleen Maltzahn, Gurm Sekhon and Sivy Orr – Yarra; Josephine Connellan and Andrea Sharam – Moreland.  They join Maribyrnong Crs. Colleen Hartland and Janet Rice in bringing much needed Green voices on behalf of their communities.

Greens Leadership candidates Drs. Richard di Natale and Liz Conor polled the second highest primary vote in the Lord Mayoral race, on a budget of around $5000, outpolling most big spenders.

“The Greens polled extremely strongly in the City of Melbourne Lord Mayoral contest despite being challenged with a barrage of candidates and stooges tumbling down from the top end of town, some brandishing wallets thicker than Aunt Betty’s pikelets”, said Dr. di Natale.

Melbourne City Cr. elect Fraser Brindley is a welcome Green voice amidst a sea of business suit grey, bringing a strong and fearless advocate for community, residents and progressive businesses.

According to Cr. Brindley, “The Greens will take up office without being beholden to any potential obligations and expectations some heavily financed candidates may carry from promises to pave a favourable road for those that backed them.”

Greens local government co-ordinator David Risstrom said, “The election of Green Councillors to the City of Bendigo is an exciting development that will see the return of strong community involvement to an important Victorian regional city. Sadly, the loss of sitting Colac Otway Cr. Stephen Hart by less than 25 votes is disappointing and will be strongly felt by his community.  Cr. Hart has been an extremely hard working and fearless advocate whose absence will diminish the council.”

“With a 25% increase in support at the Federal election and a more than 25% increase in the number of Green councillors, the Greens continue to grow in strength every election.  On behalf of those who has supported us, we thank you and look forward to giving our Councils a strong green voice”, concluded Cr. Brindley.

For further information: Fraser Brindley, No. 1 Melbourne City Council Candidate - 0417 557 477. David Risstrom, Greens Local Government Co-ordinator - 0418 502 713.

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26 NOVEMBER 2004

GREENS PROUD OF OPEN AND HONEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION CAMPAIGN

I issued this media release about the strong local government campaign run by the Victorian Greens.

The Greens are proud to have run a strong, honest and open election campaign that will see more Green local councilors serving their communities than ever before.

Lord Mayoral Leadership candidates Drs. Richard di Natale and Liz Conor are optimistic that they will join Fraser Brindley to continue the greening of Melbourne, with preferences being the decider.  According to Dr. di Natale, “We’re looking forward to the challenge.  There is now a strong recognition that Green voices are strong contributors and invaluable contributors to our communities.  It’s easy to imagine how grey Melbourne City Council could become would be without a Green.” 

Attendance voting tomorrow in Yarra, Moreland and Port Philip will see a strong turn out of people voting Green, with Greens expected to be elected or re-elected in each of these Councils.

Forty-five candidates across twelve Victorian councils have stood in these elections on a platform of thinking globally and acting locally.  More and more people want what the Greens offer: open and honest candidates providing a strong Green voice for them in local government.  Green candidates stand with a progressive platform and the disposition to work hard for their community.

In some instances, Green candidates may poll very strongly, but not enough to overcome the rampant use of stooges and dummies by other political parties.  The Greens unwillingness to stand stooges means that in some Councils, a strong Green vote may not be enough to overcome the corruption of the process, with candidates backed by multiple stooges being elected.

“It’s no surprise that the State Parliament seem untroubled by the nomination system when so many undeclared party members appear to either organize stooge candidates or stand as stooge candidates”, said David Risstrom, Victorian Green Local Government Co-ordinator.  “As required of Federal aspirants, candidates should be required to declare their political affiliation and their capacity and intention to take office.  A false declaration made at the risk of a penalty would deter many hapless stooges from misleading the public.”

The 45 Greens candidates are:
* Boroondara City Council: Peter Campbell, Gonzalo Miranda, Ray Walford.
* Colac Otway Shire: Cr. Stephen Hart.
* Darebin City Council: Jen Anderson, Alex Bhatal, Malcolm Campbell, Chris Chaplin, Matilda Langley, Gayle MacDonald, Damien Pitts, Ray Radford and Russell Weston.
* Greater Bendigo City Council: David Jones and Julie Rivendell.
* Hobsons Bay City Council: Derek Proud and Diana Rice.
* Melbourne City Council: Richard di Natale, Liz Conor, Fraser Brindley, Alister Air, Huo Pham, Emma Rush and Brian Walters.
* Moreland City Council: Jo Connellan and Andrea Sharam.
* Nillumbik Shire Council: Greg Bailey, Oliver Butterfield, Merinda Gallagher, Gavin Gray, Linda Laos, Angela O'Connor, Louise Rynia, Peter Semple and Pat Vaughan.
* Port Phillip City Council: Jo Lewis, John Middleton and Sue Pennicuik.
* Stonnington City Council: Robert Trafficante.
* Surf Coast Shire Council: Iain Lygo and Stephen Chenery.
* Yarra City Council: Cr. Jenny Farrar, Kathleen Maltzahn, Sivy Orr and Gurm Sekhon.

A press conference will be held o Sunday 28 Nov at the Greens Office, level 2, 377 Little Bourke St. Melbourne. For more information contact David Risstrom - 0418 502 713 or Fraser Brindley -  0417 557 477.

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24 NOVEMBER 2004

MELBOURNE ENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS BULLETIN No. 7 RELEASED

The 7th edition of the Melbourne Environmental Indicators Bulletin was launched today at a function I attended at the Royal Society Building. A pdf copy (1+ Mb) of the complete report is available for download from the Melbourne City Council website at www.melbourne.vic.gov.au) . Individuals chapters are available for separate download by clicking on the underlined chapter headings below, in the information taken from the Melbourne City Council website describing the report. Criteria are revisited every second report, so the 7th edition is an update on the criteria considered in the 5th edition.

The Environmental Indicators Bulletin provides a snapshot of how Melbourne is fairing in a wide range of environmental measures. The Environmental Indicators Bulletin is produced by the City of Melbourne and the Australian Institute of Urban Studies, with contributions from other metropolitan councils. The Bulletin aims to make it easy to make environmentally-friendly lifestyle choices. Key themes for Bulletin 7 are air emissions, water, beach and bay, greenhouse, open space and waste. Highlights of each chapter are listed below:

Air Emissions

* Motor vehicle emissions are the top source of pollution in the Port Phillip Airshed region, accounting for 20% of all air pollution. Chemical manufacturing was the next biggest source (14%), followed by domestic wood fires (5%).
* Petrol passenger vehicles accounted for the majority of motor vehicle emissions in Victoria (65% CO, 88% NH, 42% NO and 71% VOC), except for particulates. 60% of motor vehicle particle emissions were produced by diesel fuelled vehicles.
* The introduction of motor vehicle design rules and fuel standards has resulted in a progressive reduction of emissions from motor vehicles.

Water

* Long term drought conditions in Melbourne and surrounding areas have reduced water availability - to rivers, creeks and human use - with water storages falling to 40% of total capacity in mid 2003.
* While overall water consumption decreased across the metropolitan region from 2000 to 2003, an increase in household water use was recorded in many municipalities between 2001/02 and 2002/03. In 2002/03, the average annual household water use in Melbourne municipalities ranged from 150 to 316 Kl.
* In 2002/03, 28% of Melbourne's rivers and creeks were in good or excellent condition and 25% in moderate condition, 47% were found to be in poor or very poor condition
* Many governments and industry initiatives have been put in place to encourage the wiser use of water through conservation and water recycling. Some of the savings include 687 ML through the Water Smart Homes and Garden rebate system and the recycling of 30,000 ML of sewerage.

Beach and Bay

* Beach water monitoring in Port Phillip Bay since the mid 1980s has shown that water quality is generally good, but heavy rainfall can result in short term water pollution problems at some beaches.
* Over the 2003/4 summer season 95% of short term water pollution problems at some beaches.

Greenhouse

* Per person, Australia's greenhouse gas emissions are the highest in the world - 27.2 t CO2 per person in 2001. This figure can be largely attributed to our heavy reliance on burning coal for electricity generation, our use of motor vehicles for transport and the smelting of aluminium.
*For 1999 Victoria's net greenhouse emissions were 112.8 Mt CO2, - a 16% increase from 1990 levels. 71.8% of emissions were from stationary energy - almost all attributable to coal fired electricity generation.
* Domestic electricity consumption per Victorian household has increased 17& over the past decade.
* Despite a wide range of initiatives from all levels of government and the community, much more work is needed to reduce a greenhouse emissions.

Open Space

* In 2002-03, 105.7 million visits were made to parks and gardens in metropolitan Melbourne (which represents an average one visit per person per fortnight).
* Visitors to Melbourne major parks indicated a satisfaction rating of about 70%.

Waste

* In 2002-03, the total amount of waste generated in Victoria was 8.6 million tonnes. There has been a trend of increasing waste generation over the last decade but the 2002/03 level is stable relative to the previous year.
* In 2002-03, 65% of household waste went to landfill, 24% was recyclables, 8% green organics and 3% hard waste. The average annual household waste production in Melbourne municipalities ranged from 580 to 1152 kg.
* In 2002-03, the highest ever quality of waste recovery for recycling as recorded - 4,430,263 tonnes or 51% of total waste generated. This figure is up4% from the previous year and more than triple the quantity since 1993.

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24 NOVEMBER 2004

GREENS SEEK TRANSPORT, NOT TRAFFIC

Greens candidates for Yarra City Council would fight for more sustainable transport if elected next weekend.

“Building freeways just encourages people to drive more and further”, said Nicholls Ward candidate Kathleen Maltzahn. “The Eastern and the South Eastern Freeways were meant to solve our traffic woes, but have become traffic sewers.

“It’s time to stop pretending that more road-building is the answer to our traffic problems, and get serious about offering the people of Yarra, and the people who routinely drive through Yarra, real alternatives to driving”, she said.

“Train lines to Doncaster, Rowville via Monash, and to the airport are obvious first steps”, said Cr Jenny Farrar, sitting councillor for Merri Ward, who is standing for re-election to Langridge Ward.

Cr Farrar added, “The Greens on Yarra Council have already made many local improvements to transport, with significantly larger budget for bike paths and traffic calming measures”.

She went on, “The State government should also have a single transport department and budget. At the moment VicRoads has too much autonomy, and gets the lion’s share of capital spending. That’s why we see new freeways, but no new city train lines”.

“Working alongside like-minded councils and community campaigners, we will settle for nothing less than a European-style city where car ownership is optional, public transport is fast and frequent, and walking and cycling are safe and enjoyable”, said Nicholls Ward candidate Kathleen Maltzahn.

The ALP Government’s plans for more and more freeways instead of better public transport will dump tens of thousands of cars into the front yards of Yarra residents.”

“What will it take for the Government to give public transport a priority?”

Ms Maltzahn also supported a growing interest in the likes of a congestion tax, to move some of the hidden costs of roads and road usage, especially for commuters, onto supporting the Public Transport system: “ we must find ways to stop the flood, and build our public transport network at the same time”, she said.

The Municipal Association of Victoria campaigned for more road funding during the Federal election, but said nothing about more sustainable transport modes. “This concerns The Greens” said Ms. Maltzahn “Such a campaign is not in the interests of the residents of Yarra, who are drowning in a rising tide of traffic.”

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17 NOVEMBER 2004

A VERY CONSERVATIVE COALITION

I wrote this letter to the editor after watching Parliamentary Question time and the National Press Club lunch with Family First representatives as guest speakers.

The 41st Parliament has already seen the unelected Dorothy Dix, the Honourable Member for Supplication, repeatedly springing to her feet with such timeless self-serving beauties as “Is the Minister aware of the Government’s … and is the Minister aware of any alternative policies.”

Coalition control of our Parliament will see this charade continue in the People’s House and the strangulation of debate and review in the Senate, in the few days it will sit.

Meanwhile substantial issues lie dormant.

Despite 263,000 Victorians voting for a Green Senate voice, ALP and Democrat preferences secured Family First’s election with less than 57,000 votes.  Similar deals denied Greens in SA and NSW, giving the Coalition unrestrained control of both Houses.

Wealth inequality, paid maternity leave, climate change induced drought and exploding private debt would have been hotly debated.  Instead, conservative cynical politics will suffocate progress.

I sincerely hope this Government resists arrogance.  An election campaign that melded misrepresentation with the impersonation of Green campaigners makes this promise appear non-core.

Parliamentary question time and the National Press Club appearance of Family First leave me uncertain about Australia’s future.  For those craving a progressive Australia, the circuit breaker may be a Saturday too far away.

David Risstrom - Victorian Greens Senate Candidate.

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12 NOVEMBER 2004

GREENS NATIONAL CONFERENCE BEGINS IN MELBOURNE

The Australian Greens 2004 National Conference has begun at Melbourne University this morning. Greens members from all over Australia have come to Melbourne to share ideas about the Greens and our future. I would have dearly loved to have been joining my friends in the Australian Senate, but nevertheless think it is fantastic that Christine Milne and Rachel Siewert are joining Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle bringing a Greens voice to our Parliament.

There is a common view that many people are involved implicit for self interest. They may be right. But what I see in those involved in the Greens is a genuine optimism and enthusiasm about the potential for Australia. That we don't have to divide Australia into the haves and the have nots, people into electorally significant or expendable, our future as an opportunity to harvest votes or to contribute to a fairer, better world.

Time will tell what the future holds. A better world is possible.

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11 NOVEMBER 2004

GREENS CANDIDATES HONEST AND OPEN IN ANNOUNCING PREFERENCES FOR VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

Victorian local government candidates for the Greens party have taken a principled and open stance in publicising the preference recommendations they are making to their communities. For reasons yet to be confirmed, the Victorian Electoral Commission has broken with the longstanding tradition of publishing preference recommendations on the web. As is unfortunately too often the case, the Greens are taking the lead and putting this information out for you to make an informed decision.

A full list of candidates in wards where Greens candidates are standing and the preferences they are recommending is available online by clicking on the title Victorian Green Council Candidate Preferences.

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7 NOVEMBER 2004

WHAT WE CALL PEACE IS LITTLE BETTER THAN CAPITULATION TO A CORPORATE COUP

This article by Arundhati Roy was forwarded by email to me. I believe it was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on November 4, 2004

Sometimes there's truth in old cliches. There can be no real peace without justice. And without resistance there will be no justice. Today, it is not merely justice itself, but the idea of justice that is under attack.

The assault on vulnerable, fragile sections of society is so complete, so cruel and so clever that its sheer audacity has eroded our definition of justice. It has forced us to lower our sights, and curtail our expectations. Even among the well-intentioned, the magnificent concept of justice is gradually being substituted with the reduced, far more fragile discourse of "human rights".

This is an alarming shift. The difference is that notions of equality, of parity, have been pried loose and eased out of the equation. It's a process of attrition. Almost unconsciously, we begin to think of justice for the rich and human rights for the poor. Justice for the corporate world, human rights for its victims. Justice for Americans, human rights for Afghans and Iraqis. Justice for the Indian upper castes, human rights for Dalits and Adivasis (if that.) Justice for white Australians, human rights for Aborigines and immigrants (most times, not even that.)

It is becoming more than clear that violating human rights is an inherent and necessary part of the process of implementing a coercive and unjust political and economic structure on the world. Increasingly, human rights violations are being portrayed as the unfortunate, almost accidental, fallout of an otherwise acceptable political and economic system. As though they are a small problem that can be mopped up with a little extra attention from some non-government organisation.

This is why in areas of heightened conflict - in Kashmir and in Iraq for example - human rights professionals are regarded with a degree of suspicion. Many resistance movements in poor countries which are fighting huge injustice and questioning the underlying principles of what constitutes "liberation" and "development" view human rights non-government organisations as modern-day missionaries who have come to take the ugly edge off imperialism - to defuse political anger and to maintain the status quo.

It has been only a few weeks since Australia re-elected John Howard, who, among other things, led the nation to participate in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. That invasion will surely go down in history as one of the most cowardly wars ever. It was a war in which a band of rich nations, armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over, rounded on a poor nation, falsely accused it of having nuclear weapons, used the United Nations to force it to disarm, then invaded it, occupied it and are now in the process of selling it.

I speak of Iraq, not because everybody is talking about it, but because it is a sign of things to come. Iraq marks the beginning of a new cycle. It offers us an opportunity to watch the corporate-military cabal that has come to be known as "empire" at work. In the new Iraq, the gloves are off.

As the battle to control the world's resources intensifies, economic colonialism through formal military aggression is staging a comeback. Iraq is the logical culmination of the process of corporate globalisation in which neo-colonialism and neo-liberalism have fused. If we can find it in ourselves to peep behind the curtain of blood, we would glimpse the pitiless transactions taking place backstage.

Invaded and occupied Iraq has been made to pay out $US200 million ($270 million) in "reparations" for lost profits to corporations such as Halliburton, Shell, Mobil, Nestle, Pepsi, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Toys R Us. That's apart from its $US125 billion sovereign debt forcing it to turn to the IMF, waiting in the wings like the angel of death, with its structural adjustment program. (Though in Iraq there don't seem to be many structures left to adjust.)

So what does peace mean in this savage, corporatised, militarised world? What does peace mean to people in occupied Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Tibet and Chechnya? Or to the Aboriginal people of Australia? Or the Kurds in Turkey? Or the Dalits and Adivasis of India? What does peace mean to non-Muslims in Islamic countries, or to women in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan? What does it mean to the millions who are being uprooted from their lands by dams and development projects? What does peace mean to the poor who are being actively robbed of their resources? For them, peace is war.

We know very well who benefits from war in the age of empire. But we must also ask ourselves honestly who benefits from peace in the age of empire? War mongering is criminal. But talking of peace without talking of justice could easily become advocacy for a kind of capitulation. And talking of justice without unmasking the institutions and the systems that perpetrate injustice is beyond hypocritical.

It's easy to blame the poor for being poor. It's easy to believe that the world is being caught up in an escalating spiral of terrorism and war. That's what allows George Bush to say, "You're either with us or with the terrorists." But that's a spurious choice. Terrorism is only the privatisation of war. Terrorists are the free marketeers of war. They believe that the legitimate use of violence is not the sole prerogative of the state.

It is mendacious to make moral distinction between the unspeakable brutality of terrorism and the indiscriminate carnage of war and occupation. Both kinds of violence are unacceptable. We cannot support one and condemn the other.

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5 NOVEMBER 2004

CITY OF MELBOURNE ADVANCE ON GREEN FLEET POLICY FOLLOWING MY ACTION ON LOWERING UNNECESSARY FUEL USE

Last year I researched, authored and sponsored measures by the City of Melbourne to reduce their car fleet fuel consumption to an average of 8 litres/100 km by July 2005. Details on on this site at: Car Fleet with Average Fuel Use of 8 litres / 100 kms or less. According to information published by the City of Melbourne, it appears that some more action is being taken to stop wasting fuel at the ratepayers and environment's expense. Congratulations to those at the City of Melbourne who helped with this progress, as the information below shows:

New Corporate Fleet Vehicle Policy

Smaller cars that use alterative fuel, or use less fuel are the new focus of our Corporate Fleet Vehicle Policy. A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and an increase in the City of Melbourne's commitment to using sustainable transport options are two key goals of this policy.

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4 NOVEMBER 2004

260,000 VICTORIANS VOTE FOR GREENS IN THE SENATE BUT DEALS DENY THEM

I issued the following press release yesterday after the release of the final Victorian Senate results.

Today’s electoral results confirm that despite a Green vote across Victoria of more than four times that of Family First, grubby preference deals with the ALP and Democrats have delivered the sixth Senate seat to Family First.

The Victorian Greens primary vote of more than 260,484, or 8.8%, was the third highest vote after the Liberals and ALP by a country mile.  Steve Fielding, the Family First candidate, received a primary vote of 55,551 or 1.9% of the vote.

Despite Family First failing to receive the 4% primary vote required for return of their electoral deposit, ALP preferences secured Family First’s election.  Exclusion of the third ALP candidate, Jacinta Collins, saw her votes elect Family First.  David Risstrom’s votes remain undistributed.

Had the ALP preferenced to the Greens ahead of Family First, Greens No. 1 Senate candidate David Risstrom would have been elected.

“Many people who voted 1 for the ALP, Liberals or Democrats in the Senate may have unwittingly had their votes elect Family First,” said Greens No. 1 Senate candidate Risstrom.

“Although less than one in 50 voters wanted Family First when they voted, the ALP’s failure to tell their voters that their grubby preference deals would favour Family First gave a huge leg up to Family First and was a betrayal of Labor heartland.”

“The Greens issued warnings ahead of the election that this very situation could occur, though it is clear from the outrage following polling day that many people felt misled when they voted.  We have had reports of group voting tickets being unavailable on polling day and people calling the Australian Electoral Commission to ask for their vote to be withdrawn on finding their preferences unwittingly transferred to Family First.”

“The Senate election system needs to be reformed to allow people to vote with their preference above the line.  This form of electoral fraud by parties who apply pragmatism before principle would then be much more difficult.”

“Victoria still needs a strong Green voice to stand up for Victoria.  A strong voice for free education, stronger Medicare, truth in government, and care for people and our environment. I doubt that is what Victorians have got.

“It is encouraging that a record Green vote has seen Christine Milne and Rachel Siewert joining Senators Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle to continue to speak for a better future.  While I am very disappointed not to be serving Victoria as a Green Senator, I thank those 260,000 people who supported the Greens and have begun work forwards a further opportunity to represent the Greens in 2007”, concluded David Risstrom.

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3 NOVEMBER 2004

12:00 NOON - SENATE COUNTING IS UNDERWAY

I am sitting on the ground floor of the building where the AEC is completing the final count for the Victorian Senate. The preference deals done by the right wing parties and ALP and the Democrats mean it is almost certain that the Victorian Family First candidate, Steve Fielding, will be elected with 1.9% of the primary vote.

What this means for Australia is hard to know at the moment. Steve Fielding appears to be the only Family First candidate to be elected in Australia. Due to coalition control of the Senate, Family First will not be part of the formal balance of power from 1 July 2005 in the new Senate, but there are very strong signs that they will be a major presence in the Howard Government's next term.

Ben Oquist's article 'The Magic 38' was published on my site and in Crikey earlier this year as a warning that all the Howard government had to do was to repeat its electoral success of 2001 to acquire control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Despite a response bordering on disinterest from the majority of the media prior to the election, I am sure the consequences will be reported on far and wide in the future.

While there is little doubt the Howard government would have relied upon Family First to form a majority vote in the new Senate if had needed the numbers, the Howard Government can now do what it did with One Nation: by quietly absorbing the policies of the Family First party into its own agenda to attract the voters for future elections. When One Nation voters deserted the party, they were drawn to the Liberal Party, and to a lesser extent Labor Party, who carried the One Nation agenda on refugees, aboriginal people and distrust of government.

I'll provide an update when results appear, but in the meantime want to again thank the more than 260,000 Victorians whose primary vote was to have a Green presence representing Victoria in our Senate.

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2 NOVEMBER 2004

TIMOR-LESTE PRIME MINISTER ALKATIRI ON TIMOR SEA TALKS

The following statement by Timor-Leste Prime Minister Alkatiri on the Timor Sea talks was forwarded today by the Australia East Timor Association on 1 November 2004.

The third in an intensive series of talks over the last month between the governments of Timor-Leste and Australia regarding disputed Timor Sea resources ended today without an accord.

The talks were aimed at achieving a so-called “creative solution” to the Timor Sea dispute - sharing Timor Sea resources and resolving competing Timor-Leste and Australian claims without setting a permanent maritime boundary.

Under a permanent maritime boundary set according to international law, Timor-Leste would be entitled to three times the revenue to which it is entitled under current interim arrangements.

Prime Minister Alkatiri stated: “During these exploratory sessions, we have put a number of possible means of resource sharing on the table for purposes of discussion. We were willing to be flexible in terms of their implementation.”

“Unfortunately, we were told categorically that none of these possible means of resource sharing could be contemplated.”

The talks followed from the meeting between Ministers Ramos-Horta and Downer on August 11.

“In August, I welcomed Minister Downer’s interest in reaching a creative solution to our dispute, and his recognition of Timor-Leste’s just claims to areas beyond the JPDA. As I said then, any solution needs to fully reflect Timor-Leste’s sovereign rights in the areas to the East and West of the JPDA. This means that, in order to resolve the Timor Sea dispute, we will have to find not only a fair means of sharing the upstream revenues from petroleum resources, but will also have to deal fairly with the downstream, meaning petroleum transportation and processing.”

“We put forward a range of options that would address these various elements of a resolution to our dispute. What the Australian Government delegation was willing to offer and explore did not come even close to recognizing our sovereign rights in the disputed areas. We were talking about Timor-Leste participation in the development of the disputed resources; they were talking about money. We were too far apart to reach agreement.”

“Although we are seriously disappointed with this week’s outcome, Timor-Leste remains willing to reach a solution to the Timor Sea dispute expeditiously. Timor-Leste and Australia are neighbours. We cannot stop negotiating.”

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1 NOVEMBER 2004

VICTORIAN SENATE COUNT TO BE FINALISED WEDNESDAY 3 NOVEMBER

The Australian Electoral Commission have notified me that they are expecting the final Senate count to be concluded on Wednesday. Prior to this, the AEC have been entering all the Victorian Senate votes into a computer program. The program will be started on Wednesday midday and is expected to take about one hour to provide the final results.

Disappointingly, despite a record Greens Victorian Senate primary vote of approximately 8.8%, due to unprincipled preference deals by the Democrats and Australian Labour Party, Family First is likely to be elected with a primary vote of approximately 1.9%.

NEW SOUTH WALES LABOR SENATE SEAT WIN LITTLE TO CELEBRATE

This media release was forwarded by Greens NSW Senate candidate John Kaye.

Speaking at the final distribution of preferences for NSW senate votes, Greens candidate John Kaye today claimed a victory in keeping right wing fundamentalists out of the Senate.

Dr Kaye said, "While we did not win a seat in NSW, our vote was at record levels, we achieved the greatest swing to us of any party and we kept Fred Nile and Family First out of the NSW Senate seats. Even Glenn Druery with his preference harvesting was stopped from winning a seat.

"The ALP's Michael Forshaw was elected on our preferences. He has nothing to be proud of, having done preference deals with Glen Druery and Fred Nile. The Labor party has a lot to answer for in its shady preference deals in this election. This dodgy deal could have easily backfired and will have Labor voters and members asking questions about the integrity of the party leadership.

"Democrat voters will be dismayed to learn that an above-the-line vote for their party ended up with Fred Nile and did not flow on to The Greens after their candidates were eliminated.

"This was an election that was marked by deception. Not only did the Howard government deceive the Australian people about the economic record and the benefits of the US alliance, but the Labor Party and the Democrats deceived their above the line voters," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

SENATE POWER, FAMILY FIRST DRIVE ABORTION AGENDA

This media release was forwarded by Greens NSW MLA Lee Rhiannon.

Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon has condemned Health Minister Tony Abbott’s move to reopen the abortion debate, calling it a threat to women’s health and rights.

“If Mr Abbott succeeds in turning his regressive views into official Howard Government policy, Australia could return to the era of dangerous backyard abortions,” Ms Rhiannon said.

“Women fought hard over many decades to win the right to choose whether or not to go through with a pregnancy, and we’re not ready to sit back and let that right be taken away from us.

“The Coalition has been deceptive about this issue. It was not mentioned in the election campaign, but Mr Abbott is already letting the scent of Senate power go to his head.

“The Greens also sense the hand of Family First already steering Coalition policy, just as One Nation did in the late 1990s.

“If Mr Abbott and his hard-right colleagues are going to bring on this debate, the Greens will be campaigning hard to protect women from this threat to their health and rights.

“There is no need to have this debate: it was won, and rightly so, many years ago. But if Mr Abbott wants to reopen it, women will come out fighting,” said Ms Rhiannon.

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29 OCTOBER 2004

GREENS STANDING IN VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

Forty four Greens local government candidates are standing for election across 12 Councils. The Greens are looking forward to increasing their involvement in local government. Beginning with my election in 1999 as the only Green elected in Victoria, we now have eight Councillors across four Councils. This election will almost certainly see more Greens representing your views at a local level.

If you would like more Greens to be elected and can help in any way please either visit our online 'Become a volunteer' page by clicking on the underlined title, or contact Leanne, the Victorian Greens volunteer co-ordinator, by clicking on her underlined name.

Further information on each election is available by clicking on the title of the Council or Shire in the table below. More information on Victorian Local Government elections is available on this website at Victorian Local Government Elections.

Council

Ward

Candidate

Voting type

Voting begins

Voting closes

           

Boroondara City Council

Cotham Ray Walford

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Glenferrie Gonzalo Miranda

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Maling Peter Campbell

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Colac Otway Shire Council

Colac Stephen Hart

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Darebin City Council

Barunah Jen Anderson

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Cazaly Chris Chaplin

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Clifton Russell Weston

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  James Damien Pitts

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  La Trobe Gayle MacDonald

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Merrilands Alex Bhatal

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Oakhill Malcolm Campbell

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Rucker Ray Radford

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Spring Matilda Langley

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Greater Bendigo City Council

Flora Hill Julie Rivendell

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Kangaroo Flat David Jones

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

     

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

Hobsons Bay City Council

Altona Diana Rice

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Seabrook Derek Proud

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Melbourne City Council

Mayor Richard di Natale

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Deputy Mayor Liz Conor

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Councillor Fraser Brindley

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Councillor Alister Air

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Councillor Hoa Pham

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Councillor Emma Rush

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Councillor Brian Walters

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Moreland City Council

South Jo Connellan

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

  North east Andrea Sharam

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

           

Nillumbik City Council

Allwood Peter Semple

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Coleman Linda Laos

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Cottle Pat Vaughan

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Edendale Oliver Buttfield

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Ellis Greg Bailey

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Lenister Merinda Gallagher

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Sutherland Lousie Rynia

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Wingrove Gavin Gray

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Yanakie Angela O'Connor

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Port Phillip City Council

Albert Park John Middleton

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

  Ormond Sue Pennicuik

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

  St Kilda Jo Lewis

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

           

Stonnington City Council

South Robert Trafficante

Postal

Postal

26 Nov

           
           

Surf Coast Shire Council

Entire Council Iain Lygo

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

  Entire Council Stephen Chenery

Postal

9-11 Nov

26 Nov

           

Yarra City Council

Langridge Sivy Orr

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

  Melba Gurm Sekhon

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

  Nicholls Kathleen Maltzahn

Attendance

8am 27 Nov

6 pm 27 Nov

           

Knox City by election

Scott  

Postal

TBC

10 Dec

Preselection still open.
         

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22 OCTOBER 2004

IRAQI FARMERS AREN'T CELEBRATING

This article was forwarded from the Genethics network.

When the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) celebrates biodiversity on World Food Day on October 16, Iraqi farmers will be mourning its loss.

A new report by GRAIN and Focus on the Global South has found that new legislation in Iraq has been carefully put in place by the US that prevents farmers from saving their seeds and effectively hands over the seed market to transnational corporations. This is a disastrous turn of events for Iraqi farmers, biodiversity and the country's food security. While political sovereignty remains an illusion, food sovereignty for the Iraqi people has been made near impossible by these new regulations.

"The US has been imposing patents on life around the world through trade deals. In this case, they invaded the country first, then imposed their patents. This is both immoral and unacceptable", said Shalini Bhutani, one of the report's authors.

The new law in question heralds the entry into Iraqi law of patents on life forms - this first one affecting plants and seeds. This law fits in neatly into the US vision of Iraqi agriculture in the future - that of an industrial agricultural system dependent on large corporations providing inputs and seeds.

In 2002, FAO estimated that 97 percent of Iraqi farmers used saved seed from their own stocks from last year's harvest or purchased from local markets. When the new law - on plant variety protection (PVP) - is put into effect, seed saving will be illegal and the market will only offer proprietary "PVP-protected" planting material "invented" by transnational agribusiness corporations. The new law totally ignores all the contributions Iraqi farmers have made to development of important crops like wheat, barley, date and pulses. Its consequences are the loss of farmers' freedoms and a grave threat to food sovereignty in Iraq. In this way, the US has declared a new war against the Iraqi farmer.

"If the FAO is celebrating 'Biodiversity for Food Security' this year, it needs to demonstrate some real commitment", says Henk Hobbelink of GRAIN, pointing out that the FAO has recently been cosying up with industry and offering support for genetic engineering. "Most importantly, the FAO must recognise that biodiversity-rich farming and industry-led agriculture are worlds apart, and that industrial agriculture is one of the leading causes of the catastrophic decline in agricultural biodiversity that we have witnessed in recent decades. The FAO cannot hope to embrace biodiversity while holding industry's hand", he added.

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21 OCTOBER 2004

2004 VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS - NOMINATIONS CLOSING SOON

Local Government candidate nominations close for all but one election on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.  All Council rolls have closed.  To be eligible to nomination you should be on the roll within the municipality you nominate for. There is no legal requirement to be enrolled in the ward you nominate for, though it is desirable.

Nominations close 4 pm Tuesday 26 October for the following Victorian local government elections: Ararat, Ballarat, Boroondara, Colac, Corangamite, Darebin, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Greater Bendigo, Greater Geelong, Hobsons Bay, Melbourne City Council, Melton, Moorabool Shire, Moyne, Nillumbik, Pyrenees, Queenscliffe, Southern Grampians, Stonnington, Surf Coast, Warrnambool.

Nominations close 4 pm Wednesday 27 October for these Victorian local government elections: Moreland, Melbourne and Yarra.

Nominations close 4 pm Wednesday 9 November for the Knox City - Scott Ward by election.

Information on each election is available by clicking on the title of the Council or Shire in the table below. More information on Victorian Local Government elections is available on this website at Victorian Local Government Elections.

Council

Rolls closed

Nominations close

Voting type

Voting closes

Ararat Rural City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Ballarat City Council Rural

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Boroondara City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Colac Otway Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Corangamite Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Darebin City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Glenelg Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Golden Plains Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Greater Bendigo City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Greater Geelong City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Hobsons Bay City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Melbourne City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Melton Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Moorabool Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Moreland City Council

1 Sep

27 Oct

Attendance

27 Nov

Moyne Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Nillumbik City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Port Phillip City Council

1 Sep

27 Oct

Attendance

27 Nov

Pyreness Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Borough of Queenscliffe Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Southern Grampians Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Stonnington City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Surf Coast Shire Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Warrnambool City Council

1 Sep

26 Oct

Postal

26 Nov

Yarra City Council

1 Sep

27 Oct

Attendance

27 Nov

Knox City – Scott Ward

24 Sep

9 Nov

Postal

10 Dec

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15 OCTOBER 2004

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE GREENS

Dear friend,

Thank you for your support for the Greens. Thanks to hundreds of thousands of Australians like you, the Greens have recorded our best ever vote in a federal election.

Across the nation the Green vote rose. The Greens' national Senate vote is 7.5%, and may rise as counting continues. The Green vote rose in nearly every one of the 150 House of Representatives seats, often sharply.

Despite the return of the Howard government, there are positive results from which we can take heart. In Western Australia, Rachel Siewert will be elected to the Senate to join Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle. In Tasmania, Christine Milne is locked in a preference cliffhanger but is considered the favourite to win the sixth Senate position.

In the PM's own seat of Bennelong, Greens candidate Andrew Wilkie has polled 16.4% and pushed John Howard's vote down 3.7%. It is remarkable that not only did John Howard fail to benefit from the national swing to the government in his own seat, but actually suffered a 3.7% swing against him on two-party-preferred numbers.

Unfortunately it does appear that the Coalition will control the Senate, either outright or with the support of Family First. This is likely to have far-reaching implications for Australian society. Rest assured that the Greens will continue to offer an alternative vision based on an Australia that is fair, sustainable and independent. The Greens will be the optimistic antidote to Howard's plan for a nastier Australia.

Foolish and unethical preference directions by both the Democrats and the Labor Party have made the Senate make-up even worse. In Victoria, Family First is likely to win the sixth Senate position despite the religious right party polling only 1.89%. With both Democrat and Labor preferences flowing to Family First, the Greens' David Risstrom is likely to miss out despite polling a record 8.56%. In South Australia, the Greens would be the favourite to win the sixth Senate seat had the Democrats preferenced the Greens ahead of Family First. And in Tasmania, Christine Milne is in a preference cliffhanger despite polling a massive 12.7% primary vote. Preferences from all parties, including the Democrats and the Labor Party, flow to Family First and could see their candidate elected despite polling only 2.3%.

In the coming months and years John Howard will attempt to use his majority in both Houses to re-make Australia in his own image. Industrial relations, the environment and public services are all under threat.

The Greens will continue to stand up for our policies and our values. We will need your help if we are to defend and protect all that we hold dear for Australia. If you are not already a Greens member, please consider joining and getting involved. You can join the Greens online at: http://www.greens.org.au/membership.

Regards, Andrew Burke, Australian Greens National Campaign Coordinator

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14 OCTOBER 2004

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL

I submitted the following opinion piece to the Canberra Times for publication. The Age indicated it was very likely to publish this piece, so I approached the Canberra Times, being the only major daily not publishing a pre-election editorial in favour of the Coalition.

The Australian Labor Party and Democrats preferenced Family First ahead of the Greens in the Victorian Senate contest, even though they didn't need to.

As a consequence; despite the Greens polling 8.6% primary vote versus 1.9% for Family First, these preference deals appear set to elect Family First to the sixth Victorian Senate position.  Similar Faustian pacts in other States may possibly see Greens Senate candidates defeated in favour of Family First in South Australia and Tasmania.

As the Victorian Greens No. 1 Senate candidate, facing likely defeat, you my readily dismiss my opinion as biased, partisan and self-interested. A legitimate view is that Victorians have favoured Family First ahead of the Greens. Some may even say that’s democracy

The reality is that many people were unaware that their vote for the ALP and the Democrats in the Senate would elect Family First ahead of the Greens. Approximately a quarter of a million Victorians voted for the Greens in the Senate, and some 60,000 for Family First.

How is it that a Victorian Senate vote for the Greens more than four times that of Family First will likely see them elected? The answer may be a pragmatic approach to preferencing, or an alliance of values that may surprise many traditional ALP and Democrat voters.

The Australian Senate uses a preferential voting system that involved candidates lodging a preference ticket that is used in the counting process to determine how each voter’s choice is distributed.  When voting for Senate candidates, voters are given a choice of placing a 1 ‘above the line’, or to number every candidate ‘below the line’ in any order they choose. Historically, over 90% of people vote above the line, with the result that the voting ticket used to guide the counting of Senate tickets has a very large influence on how every vote preference is distributed.

This is largely why preference negotiations evoke so much excitement in the lead up to elections.  Those who understand the preference system realise that the outcome of preference negotiations is a significant factor in determining who is likely to be elected, particularly in close elections.

Last weekend saw the first federal election contested by Family First, which has close links with the Assemblies of God Church; links repeatedly denied or played down by their candidates during the election.

Family First were extremely successful in negotiating preferences with a large number of political parties.  They received Victorian Senate preferences ahead of the Greens from the Australian Labour Party, Australian Democrats, Democratic Labour Party, The Aged and Disability Pensioners Party, Liberals for Forests, Christian Democratic Party, Australian Progressive Alliance, Non Custodial Parents Party, Ex-Service, Service & Veterans Party, and the Liberal/The Nationals.

Family First had announced their intention to preference the Greens last before Senate ballot papers were published, and before preference negotiations were completed.  The Democrats and Australian Labor Party, both experienced and potentially progressive influences in Australian politics, knew their parties would be preferenced by Family First ahead of the Greens.

Family First ultimately preferenced The Greens, Indigenous candidate Richard Frankland’s group, ungrouped candidates and the ‘Hope Party Australia - Ethics Equality Ecology’, last in that order.

The ALP and Democrats are both experienced preference negotiators.  With the knowledge that Family First were placing them above the Greens in the preferences exchange, what was it that the Democrats and ALP were gaining by making the election of Family First more likely than that of the Greens?

One can only speculate, and perhaps the ALP and Democrat members can find out for themselves and let those people who feel betrayed by them know.

Many people wrongly assumed that that the progressive aspects of the ALP and the Democrats meant they would preference the more progressive Greens ahead of the newly emerging conservative church based group Family First.  Those people were proved wrong.

The consequences of deals involving party machines preferencing in collision with party principles are worth considering for future elections.

The success of Family First in collecting preferences, the strong swing to the Coalition, and the fact that elections involve extraordinary endurance and decisions made under pressure, often with incomplete knowledge have set in train an historic election outcome that many appeared to think was impossible.

The impulse for progressive parties to compete for progressive votes, in deference to expanding the progressive vote, may have won over and delivered the most conservative of coalitions Australia has seen for decades.

Despite issuing media releases identifying this issue, speaking at meetings and rallies wherever possible, the inevitable marginal seat myopia that focuses on the formation of government through a majority of members in the House of Representatives was a stronger attraction for most commentators. The importance of the Senate’s role as thoughtful watchdog appears to have been assumed either as secure, or more likely, ignored.

Australia’s forty first Parliament will see the Coalition forming government with a strong majority in the House of Representatives, and almost certainly see it have control of the Senate in either its own right, or with the co-operation of one or more Family First Senators. The potential impact on Australia’s political, social and economic landscape is considerable.

If Family First hold the balance of power, their fairly scant policy platform will see it guided by its electoral mantra: “If it’s good for your family, we’ll say YES. If it’s bad for your family, we’ll say NO.”

I have little doubt that a very skillful Howard government will trade much that is valued by progressive Australians in order to conform to Family First’s view of the family and what is good for them.

Previous Senates have limited the government’s economic rationalist agenda and confident social conservatism.  With or without Family First providing a majority, a period akin to that ignited by Thatcherism is probably on our horizon.

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12 OCTOBER 2004

MELBOURNE AFFORDABLE HOUSING ENDS LONG WAIT TO BECOME A HOUSING ASSOCIATION

The following media release issued by the State Government is the culminating of a great deal of work by Melbourne Affordable Housing. Melbourne Affordable Housing grew out of the Inner City Social Housing Trust formed by allocation of $1 million from Melbourne City Council in 2000, and the subsequent merging of ICSHCo with with Ecumenical Housing in 2002. I chaired ICSHCo then Melbourne Affordable Housing from 2000 until last month, when I stood down to contest the Federal election. The Victorian Government delayed their announcement on the creation of affordable housing associations until after the Federal election.

GOVERNMENT ON TRACK TO DELIVER AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The Bracks Government’s plan to create additional affordable housing for lower-income Victorians has moved an important step closer with the announcement of six organisations earmarked as prospective housing associations by the Housing Minister, Candy Broad today.

The Government committed at the last election to create housing associations to provide more choice and flexibility in affordable housing, and to grow the amount of affordable housing available to low income Victorian families.

Under the $70 million Strategy for Growth in Housing for Low Income Victorians initiative, a core group of not-for-profit housing associations will be established with capital assistance from the Government, which can be leveraged with non-government borrowing and other sources of capital.

“This is important because by using Government funds to attract other funding sources, we are able to achieve more growth of housing stock for low income Victorians than if the Government just spent the funds on its own,” Ms Broad said.

The six successful organisations were chosen after a rigorous process. The organisations are: • Community Housing Ltd, • Loddon Mallee Housing Services Ltd, • Melbourne Affordable Housing Ltd, • Port Phillip Housing Association, • Supported Housing Ltd and • Yarra Community Housing Ltd,

“These community organisations have a long history of providing affordable housing to lower income Victorians,” Ms Broad said

“Two of the organisations, Community Housing and Loddon Mallee Housing Services, have a strong presence in country Victoria. The housing needs of disabled and older Victorians will also be addressed through this initiative.”

“We’ll be meeting with the agencies to discuss practical and immediate ways of increasing the supply of affordable housing across Victoria. I look forward to working with them once they are registered under new legislation.”

Draft legislation to regulate the operation of the new housing associations was also released today for community consultation.

The legislation will create an Office of the Registrar, which will be responsible for registering and regulating the associations and eventually all other funded community housing agencies.

This is important to give confidence to financiers and other business partners and to ensure affordable housing for low income Victorians is achieved and maintained.

“We have consulted with more than 350 organisations, including local government, existing community based housing associations, tenant advocates and public housing tenants about the new associations, with widespread support for the strategy,” Ms Broad said.

“The initiative will not affect public housing rents and tenancies and public housing will remain the cornerstone of social housing in Victoria.”

The exposure draft of the Housing (Housing Agencies) Bill 2004 is open to further community consultation and can be viewed on www.housing.vic.gov.au - follow the links to Industry Development.

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10 OCTOBER 2004

VOTERS DELIVERS A RECORD GREEN VOTE WHILE PREFERENCES LIKELY TO DELIVER UNHOLY CONSERVATIVE COALITION

The Green Victorian Senate has reached a historic high of 8.65% in a very strongly contested election. While counting will continue for up to two weeks, with a likely 250,000 Victorians having voted Green, it is highly likely that the strong preferencing to Family First will see it take the final Victorian Senate seat, despite a vote of only 1.9%.

While preferencing of Family First above the Greens by the strongly conservative parties is a legitimate and expected outcome, the decision of the Australian Democrats and Labour Party is a disgrace.

Many people who have voted 1 for the ALP and Democrats, who have now realised their vote may contribute to the election of the Assembly of God linked Family First Party, are expressing their anger. For the ALP, preferencing Family First ahead of the Greens was designed to increase the chances of electing a third Labour Senator by putting a roadblock in front of electing me as the first Victorian Green Senator. Their preference deal may deliver an ultra-conservative Family First win, loss of control of the Senate to the Coalition, and is an absolute betrayal of Labour heartland.

Greens Senator Bob Brown issued the following media release today:

SENATE - GREENS WIN TAS, WILL WIN WA, QUEENSLAND

Besides Christine Milne's win in Tasmania, the Greens will win the sixth Senate seats in both Queensland and Western Australia, predicts Greens Senator Bob Brown.

"Our computers show Drew Hutton getting the seat in Queensland and Rachel Siewert in Western Australia," Senator Brown said today.

"We also have a fighting chance in South Australia and do not concede Victoria.

"The Democrats' preference flow to Family First everywhere, and Labor's extraordinary preference of Family First before the Greens in Victoria has made our job much harder.

"Victorian Labor, if Family First gets up, will have given John Howard control of the Senate," said Senator Brown.

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9 OCTOBER 2004

ELECTION DAY - THANK YOU FOR VOTING GREEN!

I want to thank all of you who voted Green in this election, and all who support the ideals the Greens stand for.

Winning elections is one of the most important achievements of a political party. Contesting them honestly and with conviction is more important. Whatever the outcome of this election, an increased Green vote, more Green parliamentarians to represent Green values or other unforeseen events, I stand by my belief that it is better to fight honestly and risk losing, than fighting dishonestly and risk losing far more.

This has been a difficult election, flagged as being about trust and marred by dishonesty from a number of conservative parties contesting the election.

Today was marred by more dirty tricks. People dressed in Green, saying they were Greens, handing out Green look-alike Liberal how-to-votes. Mimicry is a form of flattery, but misleading the electorate on the one day they have a true opportunity to express their political preference is a disgrace.

We must never underestimate the possibility that a small group may change the world, and never underestimate how challenged those people feel who see a different future as threatening to their status. So be it.

The future needs courage and optimism and good fortune. Good hearted people deserve better. Our fragile spinning planet, which will go on spinning whether we disabuse ourselves of its privileges or not, is a fine place to share with the myriad of beautiful and fascinating species. Whatever your God, belief or lack of it, let us hope we have the wisdom to secure choices among the paths we tread.

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8 OCTOBER 2004

VOTERS BEWARE - A VOTE FOR LABOR, LIBERAL COULD BE A VOTE FOR FAMILY FIRST

I issued the following media release today.

The Greens number 1 Senate Candidate David Risstrom is making an eleventh hour plea to the electorate to ensure the voting public are aware that, because of preference arrangements, they could be unwittingly delivering key Senate seats to Family First.

“Voting 1 for ALP, Liberals or Democrats in the Senate could bring complete conservative control to our parliament,” said Risstrom.

“With the Liberal Party polling strongly and preference deals putting Family First ahead of the Greens, Howard may end up controlling both Houses of our Parliament. Howard could also have a religious right rubber stamp in the Senate.”

Even the Queensland Nationals lead Senate candidate Mr Barnaby Joyce has stated 'no party should be swapping preferences with Family First.' Earlier this week Family First supporters in Queensland reportedly hurled eggs at Greens supporters and screamed lesbians were witches that should be burned at the stake.

A Family First Victorian Senate candidate, Danny Nalliah, of the Catch the Fire Ministries distributed a flier stating: "Spot Satan's strongholds in the areas you are living (brothels, gambling places, bottle shops, mosque, temples - Freemasons/Buddhist/Hindu etc, witchcraft," the leaflet says.

"If you are ready to pray against it, do so. If not, bring it to your church and ask your intercessors, through the pastor, to pull these strongholds down."

Risstrom says this kind of lunatic right propaganda should be brought to the voters attention, and they must be aware that preference flows from the ALP, Liberals or Democrats could win Family First Senate spots across Australia.

“Victoria needs a strong Green voice to stand up for Victoria. For free education, stronger Medicare, truth in government, and care for people and our environment.”

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7 OCTOBER 2004

CLIMATE CHANGE MAY BE ALREADY HURTING FARMERS

I issued the following media release today.

One of the world's most respected scientists has highlighted evidence that global warming may already be affecting crop yields, and that there is likely to be worse to come.

At the Fourth International Crop Science Conference in Brisbane last year Professor MS Swaminathan said, “A thorough study by Aggarwal et al (2000) of rice and wheat yield trends in north west India over the period 1980 to 1995 point to yield declines under non-limiting nutrients and water, likely the consequence of temperature trending upwards and solar radiation downwards.  More recently Peng et al (2004) linked rising night temperatures to declines in dry season rice yield at Los Banos in the Philippines: they reported a yield decline of 10% per degree rise, and measured rises of 0.5 degrees per decade.”

Professor Swaminathan was primarily responsible for the introduction of the ‘Green Revolution’ crops to India.  These high yielding crops tripled the production of food per hectare and are credited with saving millions of lives from famine.  Time Magazine named Professor Swaminathan as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th Century.

Australia's climate has more in common with that of northern India than it does with most other developed nations.  We may already be experiencing the same effects, but thanks to the Howard government's cutbacks to scientific research it may take time for us to find out.

Both the Australian Labor Party and Liberals seem to regard Global Warming as a problem for the distant future.  The evidence suggests the impact has already begun.  “The Liberal Party's response to Global Warming has been to provide more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.  The ALP has promised to increase the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target to 5%, but yesterday undermined this with their support for a new CO2 generating power plant.”

Greens No. 1 Senate Candidate David Risstrom noted, “These decisions are not just a problem for future generations, they are affecting farmers right now.”

Professor Swaminathan's speech made many other recommendations the Australian Government should act on.  He called for an ‘Evergreen revolution’ with agricultural practices that do not deplete the soil or water supplies.  He also pointed to the dangers posed by the privatisation of scientific research - something Australia has been at the forefront in recent years.  Finally, he noted that the most important research is that which benefits the poor.

“Australia would do well to listen to this scientific and humanitarian giant”, Mr. Risstrom said.

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6 OCTOBER 2004

DRUG ABUSE RATE VINDICATES GREENS SENSIBLE POLICY: RISSTROM

I issued the following media release today.

Greens will save young lives.

The soaring rate of drug abuse in young Victorians show the Howard government's rigid policy has failed, said Greens No 1 Senate candidate David Risstrom in Melbourne today.

"The Greens harm minimisation policy will save young Australian lives."

"Holland with a population similar to Australia has less than one third the death rate from toxic drug than abuse Australia does.  Holland has less than 100 per annum compared to more than 300 per annum in Australia", said Mr. Risstrom.

"We would implement no new policy without expert medical advice, the balance s to ban drug dealing but insist users undergo health and education remedies as already implemented in Western Australia.

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4 OCTOBER 2004

STRONG SUPPORT FOR GREENS DESPITE CONCERTED CONSERVATIVE ATTACKS

I issued the following media release today.

Today’s AC Nielsen AgePoll published in The Age shows support for the Greens at 12% in the Senate.

“Anti-Green, unlawful Liberal propaganda in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and false and misleading attacks by the Family First television advertisements in rural and regional Victoria appeared not to have swayed voters away from the Greens,” Mr. Risstrom said.

“The Coalition, having done a preference deal with the conservative Family First Party, appear to also be sharing tactics in attacking the Greens.  The Liberal and Family First attacks are based on lies and misrepresentation, and do a disservice to the voting public.”

“The public resoundingly rejected John Howard to knobble the independence of the Senate in 2003.  It now appears the Liberals and Family First are forming an unholy coalition of conservative forces as another way of avoiding strong independent progressive voices in the Senate.”

“Australian’s are onto their tricks.  No amount of expensive television advertising by the major parties will dissuade votes of the need to have strong third party voices in the Senate.”

In Victoria and Tasmania, Coalition, Labor, and Democrat Senate preference go to Family First ahead of the Greens.

While the election is set to be extremely close, if today’s poll is reflected on 9 October, David Risstrom is set to become Victoria’s first Green Senator.

The Age reported today that the coalition parties are on track to win half the seats in the Senate, enabling them to block any legislation by other parties.

“With more concerted conservative negative campaigning likely this week, the only safe way of keeping the Senate from Mr. Howard's domination is to vote for the Greens.”

ALP JOIN DINOSAURS IN PROVIDING A 'FOSSILISED' FUTURE FOR AUSTRALIA

I issued the following media release today.

The Australian Labor Party today ‘joined the dinosaurs’ in locking in a fossil fuel future, with its announcement of a new $300 million coal to gas power plant in the La Trobe Valley, said Greens Victorian number 1 Senate candidate David Risstrom.

The ALP today announced plans for the construction of a $300 million demonstration coal gasification power plant, locking in a fossil fuel future for decades to come.

“That $300 million could put solar panels on over 100,000 Australian roofs, and building a strong renewable energy industry.  Instead, more government money will be sunk into burying greenhouse gases, rather than dealing with the threat of climate change.”

“The only justification for such as plant, which uses huge amounts of energy to convert the coal to gas, is to lay the pathway for the highly dubious and experimental geosequestration of greenhouse gases.

“Australia is still one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emitters in the world”, said Risstrom.  “Yet we have a government catatonic about Kyoto, and an opposition buried in the fossil fuel dinosaur politics of the past,” said Risstrom.

While Mark Latham has made an encouraging forestry decision in Tasmania, the Australian Labor Party is in Victoria undermining the need for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The La Trobe valley, with its strong engineering and trades skills base, is perfectly placed to be an international centre for a renewable energy industry.  Further, the jobs created would have a long and solid future, unlike the expensive, uncertain and dubious technology associated with geosequestration.

“This is the ALP with its head down a coal mine,” said Risstrom.

A renewable energy future would bring long term job security.  With the Kyoto Protocol set to come into effect, a new power station using more coal is the last thing we need”, said Risstrom.

The Greens have announced energy efficiency and renewable energy policies including:
- Aiming for an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050;
- A $1 billion ten-year program to put solar panels on 300 000 Australian roofs;
- Mandatory targets for renewable energy of 10% by 2010 and 20% by 2020;
- Mandatory targets to improve energy efficiency by 30% by 2020.

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3 OCTOBER 2004

GREENS APPEAL TO 'TRUE LIBERALS'

The Greens Lead Senate candidate David Risstrom has issued a late challenge to “true liberals” to cast a protest vote for his party at next weekend’s federal poll.

Mr. Risstrom claims there are many disaffected Menzies-era liberals who are concerned at the party’s drift from traditional liberal principles under the Howard leadership.

He says there is real potential for a protest vote in blue-ribbon Victorian seats such as Kooyong.

“True liberals like Ian McPhee have been driven out of the party. Others have been silenced. And too many have simply looked on in anger,” he said.

“Meanwhile, liberal values have been ditched on matters such as asylum seekers and Australia’s unfortunate involvement in Iraq.

“And I detect on over-arching dismay among many longstanding Liberal voters at the fog of lies and misinformation that has come to characterise the way in which the Howard party conducts its political business.”

Mr. Risstrom said a primary vote for the Greens provides disaffected liberals with an effective avenue of protest.

“You can be sure the message will be heard loud and clear,” he said.

“Already, both major parties are reviewing their attitudes to the logging of old growth forests because of fear of the Greens vote.

“A strong defection in traditional Melbourne seats will ring some bells, mark my words.

“It is the only way the present leadership can be brought back to the Liberal Party’s original values,” Mr. Risstrom said.

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2 OCTOBER 2004

TUCKER: LIBERALS ACTIONS LEGAL BUT WRONG

This media release from ACT Senate candidate, showing how hard the Liberals are working for poverty: by attacking people trying to work to reduce it.

Greens Senate candidate for the ACT Kerrie Tucker today questioned the ethics of the Liberal Party's approach to campaigning, following an AAP report this week that a Liberal Party member in Canberra has referred the No More Poverty Campaign to the AEC.

"It is more offensive than ironic that, at the same time as a member of the Liberal Party in Canberra is reporting the Vote [1] No More Poverty campaign for failing to authorise its honest, transparent material, the Party is distributing a how to vote card in WA which masquerades as Greens voting advice, and a campaign leaflet through NSW which is extremely confusing to voters; neither of which acknowledge they are Liberal Party documents" ACT Greens candidate for the Senate Kerrie Tucker said today

"At the very start of this campaign the Prime Minister declared that a key theme for this election was that of trust. I trust the Christian community services conducting the No More Poverty campaign because their materials are a simple and honest attempt to promote the central issue they are concerned about - poverty in Australia."

"The Liberal Party is undermining the democratic process by stopping a community campaign on a technicality on the one hand and by misleading concerned voters - albeit legally - on the other," Ms Tucker said today.

"The Liberal Party would do well to take a lead from the No More Poverty campaign by communicating plainly and honesty with the electorate about what they do believe in, and not be afraid to put their name on their work."

"What the Liberal Party is doing across the country may be legal, but I defy Senator Humphries to explain to the Canberra community how it demonstrates an ethical approach" Ms Tucker said.

NTEU ENDORSES COMMITMENT OF AUSTRALIAN GREENS TO PUBLIC EDUCATION

This media release from the National Tertiary Education Union is a great boost, endorsing the Greens superior education policy.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) endorses the strong emphasis placed by the Australian Greens on the need for increased public investment in our education system, including their $4.5 billion plan for TAFE and Universities that was launched as part of their education policy on Friday.

“The Greens recognise that public investment in education has economic and social returns that benefit not just the individual concerned but all Australians,” said Dr Carolyn Allport, NTEU National President.

Their policy includes the abolition of fees for all domestic students and a fully funded plan for an additional 50,000 student places to be phased in over the next three years.

“The Australian Greens have always promoted the importance of public education in the Senate and the policy they have launched today confirms this commitment.”

“The policy also includes a commitment to increase staff numbers and funding for university infrastructure, as well as increased student support mechanisms, particularly for Indigenous students.”

“The NTEU strongly believes that university places should be provided on the basis of merit and not money.”

“The Greens supports this and their policy of affordable and equitable access to education for all is a challenge for Australia and should be the goal of all the political parties.”

“HECS fees have already doubled since 1996 and if the Howard Government is re-elected the situation will get even worse,” said Dr Allport.

“From 2005, universities can put their HECS fees up by 25% and it will be easier for students to buy a full fee place at a cost of up to $100,000 or more, with marks less than the cut off score for a HECS place.”

“Government funding to our universities has declined in real terms by 13 per cent per subsidised student place. In contrast, the Greens are committed to real indexation of university funding and a 20% increase in funding per student place.”

“The Commonwealth currently spends more on private schools than it does on our university system and this is now threatening the future quality of education that public universities and their staff will be able to deliver,” said Dr Allport.

For Further Information and Comment Contact Andrew Nette, NTEU Policy and Research Coordinator: 0438 026 277.

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1 OCTOBER 2004

WE DID BUT SEE HERR ROSA PASSING BY

My propensity to open my muzzle more often than banks close their branches has meant Rosa's Rave has had to move to new pages each three months. This page provides my news and views from October 1 2004 to January 31 2005. The previous edition of current news and views are available by clicking here: Rosa's and Dave's News and Views: Jul-Sep 2004: Rosa.

 
 
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Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

This site is written, authorised and maintained by David Risstrom , 377 Little Bourke St. Melbourne, Australiaand had more than 1,003,082 visitors and 3,052,017 hits when updated on Sun 23 April 2017.