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Budget 2013: Education, Legal Affairs, Mental Health and Veterans Affairs portfolio breakdown

The 2013 Labor Budget will do little to ease the stress on Australians. Senator Penny Wright talks about what was in the budget and what more could be done in each of her portfolio areas.

Education

What's in the budget:

  • $9.8 billion in new school funding
  • $3 billion in next the next four years, $6 billion to come in the following two years

What I think:

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Veterans' mental health: More to be done, say Greens

The Australian Greens will query the effectiveness of mental health services for veterans, as extra funding for mental health was revealed in yesterday's Defence White Paper.

Australian Greens spokesperson for Mental Health and Veterans Affairs, Senator Penny Wright, welcomed the further funding, but suggested the full extent of veterans mental health needs was yet to be determined.

"The new generation of veterans returning from places like Iraq and Afghanistan will face considerable challenges," Senator Wright said.

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British Government fails test on Australian nuclear victims, but fight continues

Efforts to secure Act Of Grace payments for the victims of British nuclear testing will be stepped up after the British Government's disappointing response, Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

"I call on Foreign Minister Bob Carr to raise this proposal directly with his UK counterparts.

"Because of difficulties victims of the British nuclear testing were facing in the courts, I wrote to British Foreign Secretary William Hague twice making the case for ex gratia payments to Australians exposed to British nuclear testing in the 1950s and ‘60s.

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Remembering all those who served on ANZAC Day

As we remember those who fought for our country, we should also remember those who died in the pursuit of peace, says Australian Greens spokesperson on Veterans Affairs, Senator Penny Wright.

"ANZAC Day is a great opportunity to remember all of those affected by war, whether it is those who died in service, those who returned but live with the scars, or families and loved ones who also bear the brunt," said Senator Wright.

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Motion on the recognition of Australian peacekeepers

I move that the Senate:

(a) notes that:

(i) about 70 000 Australian Defence Force and Australian Federal Police personnel have been deployed on over 60 peacekeeping operations throughout the world, significantly contributing to international peace and security, and

(ii) more than 40 000 people signed a community petition calling for the 48 Australian peacekeepers who have died in service to receive equal recognition and be placed on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial; and

(b) commends:

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War Memorial's honour roll decision a tremendous win for our Peacekeepers

Today's long overdue decision by the Australian War Memorial Council to include the names of the 48 fallen peacekeepers on the honour roll is significant as it means that for the first time in Australia's history, their sacrifices will be properly honoured, Greens spokesperson for Veterans Affairs, Penny Wright said.

“Since 1947 members of the Australian Defence Forces have served Australia’s interests as peacekeepers, honourably and with courage, in situations of conflict and danger.

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