At a time when the gap between rich and poor is growing, the Australian Greens want to ensure we all get a fair share of Australia's prosperity. We have demonstrated our economic responsibility by supporting the Government in managing the global financial crisis, savings thousands of jobs and small businesses. We negotiated to improve the stimulus package including providing a $500m community jobs fund.
We strongly support a tax on the mining industry's super profits which if properly applied would generate revenue for the benefit of all Australians into the future. Along with many respected economists we support a sovereign wealth fund being established from the proceeds of the mining boom to help address the two speed economy affecting many business and jobs in non-mining industries such as tourism and manufacturing.
The Australia Greens were instrumental in the most important economic reform in recent times, the Clean Energy Future package, which is a key step in transforming Australia's economy into a clean, zero carbon 21st century economy and seizing the opportunities of creating jobs and investment.
07 Feb 2012
Audio from Sarah's door stop in Canberra on referring the Greens' marriage equality bill to a Senate inquiry. Also joined by Alex Greenwich from Australian Marriage Equality and Shelley Argent from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Other topics covered include childre in detention and sexism toward women politicians.
06 Feb 2012
Greens MP and banking spokesperson Adam Bandt says the big banks are preparing the ground to avoid passing on RBA interest rate cuts in full.
Mr Bandt says the banks have been running a misleading campaign about their cost of funding when RBA data shows their exposure to international funding has decreased.
He says that he will bring legislation before Parliament to require banks to offer mortgages that will pass on any RBA interest rate cuts in full.
The Banking and Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Mobility and Flexibility) Bill, currently before parliament, would also make it easier for consumers to switch mortgages by changes to mortgage lenders insurance and force banks to provide loan products that track changes to the Reserve Bank cash rate.
"Ahead of tomorrow's possible Reserve Bank interest rate cut, it is clear the banks are preparing the ground for dudding the Australian public," Mr Bandt said.
"There is a misleading campaign about their cost of finance, fed by everyone's legitimate concern about the precariousness of the world economy, particularly the outlook for Europe."
"The fact is Reserve Bank data shows that the big banks' exposure to short term debt has decreased and Australia's banks are amongst the most profitable in the world with fat interest margins."
"The Treasurer has correctly pointed out the banks profitability, but the government needs to do more than just remove exit fees, an idea first proposed by the Greens."
"My bill will remove barriers to consumer mobility by requiring banks to refund mortgage insurance. Banks will also need to provide a loan product that tracks RBA interest rates as they rise and fall."
Bob Brown, Christine Milne and Nick McKim outline the new economy open to Tasmania - press conference, 4 Feb 2012
04 Feb 2012
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown, Deputy Leader Christine Milne and Tasmanian Greens Leader Nick McKim outline prospects for an economic transition in Tasmania. Other issues discussed with reporters in Hobart included Labor leadership speculation. Senator Brown also reiterated the Greens' total opposition to the Nauru option and called for asylum seekers to be processed quickly and humanely onshore.
31 Jan 2012
Christine Milne's press conference today discussing why Tony Abbott's major speech today needs to be judged by the standards of the UN report on sustainable economies, as well as Kevin Rudd's hypocrisy in signing onto it while campaigning for more coal; calling on Coles to guarantee fair farm-gate prices balanced against the need for cheap fresh fruit and vegetables; and discussing Gunns and Ta Ann in Tasmania.
31 Jan 2012
Tony Abbott's speech to the National Press Club today outlining his ‘Plan for a Stronger Economy and a Stronger Australia' should be judged against the very basic standards for sustainable economies set out in last night's report of the UN Secretary General's High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, the Australian Greens said today.
At the same time, Kevin Rudd's own actions both when he was Prime Minister and when he campaigns in the Queensland election must be judged by the same standards set out in the report he was involved in preparing.
"This high-level group of world leaders and ministers has confirmed once again what scientists and economists have known for a generation now - that a strong economy is dependent on a healthy environment," Australian Greens Acting Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"Tony Abbott's ‘Plan for a Stronger Economy' needs to be judged against the very basic standards like phasing out wasteful and damaging fossil fuel subsidies, putting a price on pollution, doubling the rate of energy efficiency and moving towards clean, renewable energy.
30 Jan 2012
Australia's banks are some of the world's most profitable but they still cry poor, Greens MP and banking spokesperson Adam Bandt said today.
Responding to complaints by bank industry leaders, Mr Bandt said banks should not expect future government support in a downturn if they were neither prepared to pass on interest rate cuts nor willing to accept improved regulation.
"The big four made in excess of $25 billion last year. They are some of the most profitable in the world but they still cry poor," Mr Bandt said.
"They should be passing on any RBA cut announced next week."
"The banks assume the government will step in and bail them out because they're ‘too big to fail' so they resist stronger capital requirements."
"The banks complain about the cost of international funding, but happily accept the cheaper funds they get from lenders who expect the government will bail the bankers out if they ever get into trouble."
"With big banks just as profitable as before the GFC and increasingly less reliant on international funding, it's time they stopped crying poor."
"The government needs to stare down the banks. They certainly shouldn't go ahead with big business tax cuts that will net the big banks another $4 billion over the decade."
Superannuation review delivers on Greens negotiations: $30b in clumsy tax concessions needs urgent attention
29 Jan 2012
Australian Greens Acting Leader Christine Milne today welcomed the Government's superannuation review announcement, which delivers on a Greens' proposal, and said $30 billion in tax concessions needed to be dealt with to ensure a fairer outcome.
"As part of the discussions about the mining tax package the Greens had detailed discussions with the Government about the revenue going to superannuation, and the need to review superannuation tax concessions, because significant changes should be made to make the system more equitable," Senator Milne said.
"Current superannuation tax concessions are enormous. The inequities they present for people trying to save for their retirement should be addressed as soon as possible. There are $30 billion worth of superannuation tax concessions per year. Almost half those tax breaks go to the wealthiest 12% and almost a fifth go to the wealthiest 2% of Australians.
"The current clumsy arrangements do nothing to narrow the gap between rich and poor. If you are on the top marginal tax rate of 45% your tax break on super is up to 30%. If your earnings are taxed at the lowest marginal tax rate of 15% then your concession is zero. If you do not pay income tax, you still pay 15% on any superannuation contribution.
"Dealing with these inequities should occur before the Senate finalises the mining tax package [which includes the increase in the superannuation guarantee from 9% to 12%]. The review's timetable appears too long, as legislation for the mining tax and super guarantee increase will be debated in the Senate this year and this should be settled by then," Senator Milne said.
"It is important that these issues are dealt with as soon as possible and are not solely dependent on a mining tax package that has already been significantly watered down by the Government.
"Inequality in Australia is growing and unless superannuation tax concessions are altered this can only get drastically worse," Senator Milne said.
25 Jan 2012
The Australian Greens are popular and support is growing, and a slap from a government minister is just part of the political debate which is increasingly demonstrating that Labor - whether it's the mining tax or pokies reform - will opt for the interests of big business over working people almost every time, Acting Leader Christine Milne said today.
"The main focus should be on representing people effectively and achieving a transition to a sustainable, cleaner economy with social and environmental outcomes that we can all be proud of. Mr Albanese seems to think that the pinnacle is being a Cabinet minister," Senator Milne said.
"By his focus on the politics and not the outcomes, Mr Albanese has demonstrated why people are losing faith in the old political parties and the Cabinet ministers who represent them.
"The record will show that it is the Greens in the balance of power who have always demonstrated the most responsible attitude to managing the economy, from getting Tasmania out of debt in the 1990s to supporting and improving the stimulus package during the global financial crisis to make it more jobs-friendly.
"His mere contention that the Greens should have supported the dud package that he signed off on under the Rudd government, because it would have delivered a Turnbull-led opposition rather than an Abbott-led opposition, shows he is all about the politics and not about genuine climate outcomes.
"If anything, he has demonstrated the critical role the Greens played in negotiations for a multi-party committee on climate change and the whole-of government approach which will now deliver the biggest investment ever in renewable energy and energy efficiency while reducing carbon emissions and implementing the polluter-pays principle.
"As the community becomes more aware of the urgency of addressing the ecological and economic crises facing the planet, they will increasingly turn to the Greens because people recognise the deep commitment to the issues that the Greens bring to the Parliament," Senator Milne said.
24 Jan 2012
Greens MP and industry spokesperson, Adam Bandt, says future assistance to the car industry needs to drive innovation and a shift to electric vehicles if an Australian car industry is to survive.
Minister Carr and car companies can't just blame the high dollar for job cuts. They must take responsibility for their failure to adapt to the new market.
"The car industry needs to go green if it is to survive," Mr Bandt said.
"The government needs to play a more active role in driving innovation and require the industry to change. Instead, it is going in the other direction. The government has given $100 million to Toyota for little change and no protection to workers. Job security should be a key criterion for any future funds."
"Ultimately, we need to shift to an industry focused on electric mobility. That is where the world is heading and we need to get ahead of the game."
"We opposed the scrapping of the Green Car Innovation Fund because though it had problems, it was a step in the right direction. As we move to mandatory vehicle fuel efficiency standards, government needs to put something in place of the Green Car fund."
"A start would be an initial investment of at least $75 million in an Electric Vehicle fund, which would pay for electric vehicle development and trials, as well as recharging infrastructure."
20 Jan 2012
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown today launched an analysis of Tasmania's economic potential which finds 3000 jobs could be created from the $120 million fund promised in the intergovernmental forest agreement.
"This fund has the potential to create more than 3000 jobs in regional areas which would largely replace the 3500 jobs lost from forestry since 2008," Senator Brown said.
"But this money will only flow if there is a strong conservation legislative outcome by June this year.
"I commissioned this report to show Tasmanians the sorts of ideas that could be implemented to create an environment that will help small businesses flourish, with protection of the forests at the heart of reforms.
"Edwards and Hanson have interviewed people from Tasmania's business, tourism and academic sectors to come up with an indicative set of projects that could help stimulate private sector investment.
"Their report is a springboard for discussion. I've got a few ideas of my own, including establishing an institute to foster and retain Tasmania's world-leading track-building skills and promoting the far south as a tourism destination for its interesting mix of tourist railway, caves, spectacular coastal walking and historical sites of French arrival," Senator Brown said.
*The report's authors are Naomi Edwards BSc (Hons) FIA, FIAA, FNZSA who is a Tasmanian financial and economic consultant and Jamie Hanson BA(Hons) BPhil (Oxford) a Tasmanian researcher recently returned to his home shores.