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Price gouging behind big power bills: Senate inquiry exposes lack of political will to fix it

The Greens say only gutless recommendations are contained in today's report from the Senate inquiry into electricity prices, which shows the only thing stopping Australians from enjoying lower electricity prices immediately is the lack of political will to stop major networks from gouging their customers.

"It's plainly obvious that to bring down power bills and pollution we must start with the electricity market and network charges," Greens Leader Christine Milne said.

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ANZ’s entry into Financial Advice mess shows Royal Commission still needed

The Greens spokesperson for Consumer Affairs, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, says that revelations that ANZ charged 8,500 clients for a service they never received shows that more needs to be done to root out problems in the sector.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “It has only taken a few Senate inquiry hearings to pressure the banks to reveal systemic problems within the financial advice sector.

“Imagine what might be exposed if a Royal Commission was established and given powers to investigate the sector properly.

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Time for Tony Abbott to pull Pyne into line and secure Australian research

With the government’s higher education bill set to fail in the Senate this week, the Australian Greens have called on Tony Abbott to withdraw his government’s higher education Bill and pull Education Minister Christopher Pyne into line and confirm funding for Australian research infrastructure.

“Support for fee deregulation is crumbling. The Senate crossbench looks set to join university students, staff, and the community who have already rejected these reforms,” said Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.

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Research and Higher Education Press Conference - Parliament House

The government’s Higher Education reforms are destined to fail in the Senate, with Labor, the Greens and most of the crossbench opposing fee deregulation in any form.

Senator Lee Rhiannon is calling on the government to scrap the Bill and open up a national dialogue about higher education.

Adam Bandt MP has called on Tony Abbott to immediately confirm $150 million in funding for Australian researchers and research infrastructure that Education Minister Christopher Pyne has placed under threat.

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Competition regulator must oppose iiNet/TPG merger

The proposed merger of two of Australia's last remaining independent Internet Service Providers will have a sharply negative impact on the level of competition in Australia's broadband market and must be opposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

"I will be reminding the ACCC of its obligation to directly prohibit acquisitions which would be likely to have the effect of "substantially lessening competition in any market," Australian Greens Communications spokesman Senator Scott Ludlam said this morning.

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Science, research and jobs threatened by Pyne's Parliamentary blackmail

Greens Deputy Leader and science, research and innovation spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today said that world-class research facilities around the country and about 1700 jobs face the axe from June 30 this year under Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s desperate attempt to pass his Higher Education bill by blackmailing the Senate.

“Education Minister Christopher Pyne is blackmailing the Parliament, saying that unless the Parliament passes his plan to increase university fees, he’ll take the axe to science and research facilities in this country,” Mr Bandt said.

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Speech: Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Amendment (Direct Lending and Other Measures) Bill 2014

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (09:43): The first part of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Amendment (Direct Lending and Other Measures) Bill 2014 does extend the mandate of Efic's activities from supporting the export of capital goods, to all goods. So we are really going from a situation where so many of Efic's loans went for large mining projects and the infrastructure that supported them, and other related projects, to really being about services, consumer goods and many aspects of what are called SMEs, small and medium sized enterprises.

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