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Senator Lidia Thorpe takes on First Nations portfolio

Gunnai and Gunditjmara woman, Senator Lidia Thorpe, is thrilled to have been handed the responsibility of the First Nations portfolio in the Greens reshuffle.

“I’m very proud to be the first Aboriginal Senator for Victoria and to take on the First Nations portfolio. There is so much work to be continued,” she said.

“I come from a long line of strong Aboriginal women who taught me to stand up for what’s right and to never let injustice and racism beat you down. If you want change, you have to fight for it.”

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Speech: The Black Lives Matter Movement

I rise to make a statement on Black Lives Matter and our work for justice. Over the last couple of weeks, a global antiracist movement has re-emerged to fight for racial justice and against police brutality and institutional racism. The Black Lives Matter movement has been led by black and Indigenous people and has been supported by people of colour and allies from all backgrounds. I was proud to join the huge rally at Sydney Town Hall.

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Speech: Black Lives Matter Protests

I proudly attended the Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney on unceded Gadigal land on Saturday 6 June. I attended the rally to show solidarity with the families of David Dungay Jr, George Floyd, and every black or Indigenous person who has died in custody. In wake of the huge rallies in the United States following the killing of George Floyd, Indigenous people in Australia asked us for support from across the community to call for justice for First Nations people and no more Aboriginal deaths in custody.

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Governments must account for process that allowed for destruction of sacred Pilbara site

Greens Spokesperson on First Nations issues Senator Rachel Siewert said:

“I am appalled and deeply upset for the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people who have been treated with such blatant disregard and disrespect by the State Government and Rio Tinto.

“The State Government must account for the processes that allowed this to happen.

“I cannot imagine a European artefact of such cultural significance being destroyed like this."

Greens Spokesperson for the Environment Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

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Close the Gap Day and COVID-19

COVID-19 has the potential to cause severe harm to First Nations communities particularly in regional and remote areas, older Australians, disabled people and people with mental health issues.

“Preventing and slowing the spread of the virus to First Nations communities must be a priority given that First Nations communities already suffer higher rates of chronic and respiratory illness than the general population,” Senator Rachel Siewert, spokesperson on First Nations issues said.

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High Court ruling

The Greens welcome the High Court’s decision regarding the government’s ability to deport First Nations peoples.

“Trying to deport First Nations peoples whose country we stole is a fundamentally racist thing to do,” Greens Immigration and Citizenship spokesperson Senator Nick McKim said.

“All First Nations peoples who are in Immigration detention should now be immediately released.”

“It is also time to rein in the authority of both the Immigration Minister and the Minister for Home Affairs so we don't see these kinds of gross abuses of power.”

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Motion: Warragamba Dam

I, and also on behalf of Senators Siewert, Keneally and Dodson, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Traditional Owners have not been given enough time to assess the cultural heritage impact of a plan to raise the wall of Warragamba dam, with just 40 days to respond to a 2000-page report,

(ii) the raised dam would flood world heritage-listed areas of the Blue Mountains and a number of Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, and

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