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First Nations Peoples’ Issues

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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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Australian Greens Senator Offers to Hold Citizenship Ceremonies for NSW Councils Stripped of Their Power

Australian Greens Senator for NSW, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has offered to officiate citizenship ceremonies for NSW councils that have been stripped of their power for moving the date of their citizenship ceremonies from January 26.  All Australian Federal MPs have the power to conduct citizenship ceremonies within their own electorate. Byron Bay Council has announced that they will move their citizenship ceremony to 25th of January.

Senator Faruqi said:

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Speech on the Cashless Debit Card Trial Bill

I rise to speak on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card Trial Expansion) Bill 2018. The Australian Greens oppose this bill. The Greens have opposed the cashless debit card since its inception. The bill before us today intends to establish the Hervey Bay and Bundaberg trial site and, if this bill passes, this new trial site will continue on until 30 June 2020. In this trial, the cashless debit card would only be forced on those under 36 and receiving Newstart allowance, youth allowance or parenting payment.

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Mehreen's First Speech

Good evening. Assalamoalikum. We are gathered here today on stolen land. I acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging. We must recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. All Australians, whether they were born here or have come from somewhere else, have an obligation to remember: this land always was and always will be Aboriginal land.

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The Greens’ plan to protect takayna/Tarkine

The Greens have a plan to protect takayna/the Tarkine in a National Park that is owned and run by Aboriginal Tasmanians.

Greens candidate for Braddon Jarrod Edwards said takayna is a place of incredible importance to Tasmanian Aboriginal people and indeed all people who visit it.

“As custodians of this land we encourage sustainable and well balanced management and use of our home lands so that future generations can enjoy and learn from them as we continue to do,” Mr Edwards said.

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Continued funding for Indigenous Protected Areas welcome but we must ensure it is properly supported by Departments: Greens

The Australian Greens have welcomed the Government pressing ahead with funding for Indigenous Protected Areas, and have welcomed the renewing of contracts, but will be chasing up the role that the Department of Environment plays in the critically important programme. 

“It is good the Government is getting on with funding for Indigenous Protected Areas but I note funding was announced last year and contracts could have been signed, sealed and delivered a year ago. The stalling has created unnecessary stress and things could have moved quicker. 

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