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Senator Christine Milne Press Conference

Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Christine Milne, held a press conference in Hobart today calling for an increase in the Renewable Energy Target (RET), Tony Abbott's refusal to join the multi-party reference group on asylum seeker policy, Labor's attack on progressive voters and Afghanistan.

She also commented on Miranda Gibson, who has set a new Australian record on her 209th day in the Observer Tree.

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Afghan aid boost welcome, checks needed on support for mining industry

Greens Senator and overseas aid spokesperson Lee Rhiannon today welcomed plans to increase Australia's aid contribution to Afghanistan but warned that benefits for Afghan people may be limited if there is too much focus on aid money being used to open up Afghanistan to overseas mining interests.

 "Boosting Australia's aid to Afghanistan is good news but its effectiveness will depend on Foreign Minister Bob Carr putting his weight behind programs focused on poverty alleviation, infrastructure and governance", said Senator Rhiannon.

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Greens secure support for inquiry into aid in Afghanistan

The Australian Greens last night secured support for a Senate Inquiry into Australia’s aid program in Afghanistan (terms of reference below).

“This inquiry will be an opportunity to shine a light on Australia’s current aid program in Afghanistan and capture lessons to ensure our aid program makes a real difference to the lives of Afghan people into the future”, said Greens Senator and overseas aid spokesperson Lee Rhiannon

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Partial Afghanistan withdrawal welcome – but still no end in sight

The Australian Greens have welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement that some of Australia's combat forces in Afghanistan may be withdrawn by 2013, but called on the Government to justify its commitments to the United States and Afghanistan governments.

Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence Senator Scott Ludlam recently returned from an ADF Parliamentary exchange trip to Afghanistan, visiting Kandahar, Tarin Kowt, and a Forward Operating Base in the Chora Valley.

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Department of Defence - on drones, Afghanistan, US troops in Darwin

Additional Estimates - Tuesday 14 February 2012 - Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee - Department of Defence

Senator LUDLAM: I have a batch of questions that range fairly broadly across a number of topics, so you might want to direct me to officers later in the day, but I will start with opening statement stuff. I have a couple of questions about the recruitment of Afghan National Army soldiers. Can you tell me what exactly Australians have asked ISAF to do to ensure that there is not systemic infiltration of the ANA by the Taliban? 

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Visit of President Obama and deployment of US troops in Darwin

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (00:43): by leave-I rise to acknowledge that I got just as carried away as everybody else on the occasion of the visit last week by the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. I was looking forward to the chance to see him up close and to get a sense of the rhetorical power that first caught the attention of the world at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. In that regard, he did not disappoint. His speech to the Australian parliament was beautifully crafted.

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