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Greens unequivocally stand for rights of whisteblowers exposing animal cruelty

The Greens will be working closely with animal welfare groups to ensure Liberal Senator Chris Back's bill to prosecute whistleblowers and investigators who expose animal cruelty is not passed.

Greens spokesperson for animal welfare Senator Lee Rhiannon said: "Senator Back and his Liberal and National party colleagues should be addressing animal welfare concerns in factory farming instead of persecuting whistleblowers trying to stop animal abuses.

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Aid cuts fail Julie Bishop's gender rhetoric - gender target missed

The Australian Greens say a new departmental report on aid has criticised the Abbott government for missing its aid target.

Greens spokesperson for International Aid and Development Senator Lee Rhiannon said: "Performance of Australian Aid 2013-14, released yesterday, reveals the government has missed its 80% target for satisfactory ratings in gender equality.

"This report reveals that the claim of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that gender equality is a priority for Australian aid is just empty words.

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Motion: Private Education Providers

Lee Rhiannon 12 Feb 2015

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:04): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes the report published by the University of Sydney on 6 February 2015 which found that private education companies had made hundreds of millions of dollars in profit as a result of public subsidies at the same time that public funding for technical and further education was being slashed; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to immediately review the contestability funding model for vocational education and training and prioritise funding for public higher education.

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Liberals, Nationals, Labor give win to coal industry - block vote against protection for unique Gardens of Stone

The Liberals, Nationals and Labor have voted down a Greens' motion calling on the NSW state government to extend national park protection for the Gardens of Stone in the Greater Blue Mountains.
NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said "Labor, the Liberals and the Nationals have sided with coal companies and the Baird government in refusing to support the growing call for an expansion of national park protection for the Gardens of Stone.

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Greens call on Coalition to withdraw higher education bill

Lee Rhiannon 10 Feb 2015

The Australian Greens have called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to withdraw his government’s higher education Bill, as more university Vice-Chancellors speak out against fee deregulation. 

“The Coalition’s dream team of Vice Chancellors who back deregulation is slowly crumbling, with VC of Victoria University Peter Dawkins the latest to break ranks,” said Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.

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Motion: Gardens of Stone

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (15:40): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Gardens of Stone in New South Wales and adjacent Ben Bullen, Newnes and Wolgan State Forests are spectacular landscapes that are habitats for many plants and wildlife, including national and state-listed threatened species,

(ii) in October 2014 the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission found that the pagoda landforms in that area should be afforded special significance status and the highest possible level of protection, and

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Speech: Maules Creek Coalmine

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (17:04): The world is turning its back on coal. So many communities and so many countries are recognising that renewables are the way of the future, that they are commercially and industrially viable, and they are putting them in place. But in Australia, because of weak planning laws at a state level and weak environment laws at a federal level, it is so hard for communities to be heard.

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Thousands of NSW residents tell Abbott and Pyne - ditch higher education cuts

Lee Rhiannon 9 Feb 2015

Two thousand New South Wales residents have joined the ‘1 Million Reasons' campaign to send key crossbench Senators a postcard asking them to vote down the Coalition government's higher education cuts.

Launched a month ago, already nearly six thousand Australians have joined the ‘1 Million Reasons' campaign. Postcards signed by students, former students and their allies all across Australia have been sent to each of the six cross bench Senators.

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Tony Abbott's higher education plan will see profits soar for private education companies

Lee Rhiannon 6 Feb 2015

Responding to a new study highlighting the profits private education companies are making as a result of public subsidies, Australian Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"The opening up of huge amounts of public funding to private, for-profit education companies that was initiated by the Gillard Labor Government has been a disaster for vocational education.

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Coalition removes mining tax - mining industry increase donation to Coalition by 350%

Lee Rhiannon 2 Feb 2015

Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said: 

"The Australian Electoral Commission 2013/2014 data shows that donations from mining companies to the federal Coalition increased by 350 per cent from the previous year.

"In 2013/2014 donations to the federal Coalition totalled $1 126 300. In 2012/2013 and 2011/2012 donations were approximately $311 600 and $191 000 respectively.

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