Greens say Government needs to step up support for local mRNA facilities

The Greens say that the Government will miss out on opportunities to expand and diversify Australia’s vaccine portfolio if they don’t invest in public capacity to produce mRNA vaccines
“We cannot only rely on the AstraZeneca vaccine, we need to have a diverse portfolio to rapidly pivot to deal with new strains, including public facilities to produce supplies in Australia”, Greens spokesperson on Health Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“The Government should immediately invest in developing Australia’s capacity to locally manufacture vaccines and medicines that use mRNA technology. mRNA technology is likely to revolutionise vaccine and drug development and Australia could be at the forefront of this.
“We need a public health response that is publicly funded.
“In addition we need to ramp up CSL’s capacity to start locally producing Novavax at the same time as AstraZeneca given the promising Phase 3 Trial data, this will increase our vaccine diversity and ensure that we can vaccinate people in Australia and those in the regions.”

Greens say $25 a week is a cruel joke

Today is an extremely distressing day for the 1.5 million people on the JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments who have now had confirmation that the Morrison Government has made the cruel decision to condemn them to poverty.
$44 a day is not enough to live on. This will mean people going without meals, without medication, without the funds to pay for heating or cooling.
This should not be happening in a country as wealthy as Australia.
This is an appalling slap in the face for all those people trying to survive on Jobseeker.
The Government chose to lift people out of poverty when the pandemic hit and now they are choosing to condemn people in our community to live on just $44 a day in the midst of a recession and a pandemic.
This is a cruel decision, not based on evidence about what is best to support people to find work nor what is best for the economy.
We will not stop campaigning until we have an increase that is over the poverty line.

Providers urged to apply for a share in record infrastructure funding

Aged care providers are being reminded applications for a share of funding in the Australian Government’s largest ever investment in residential aged care infrastructure will soon close.
Funding totalling $150 million is available to providers for capital grants and additional beds as the Morrison Government continues to strengthen the sector and ensure the wellbeing of older Australians.
Two thousand residential care places and 1028 short-term restorative care (STRC) places will be made available as part of the 2020 Aged Care Approvals Round.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said it was another step forward to help providers deliver quality residential services where it’s needed most.
“The Australian Government is absolutely committed to ensuring our senior Australians are provided with the best quality residential aged care possible,” Minister Colbeck said.
“That’s why we’re making the biggest investment in residential aged care infrastructure in Australia’s history.
“This investment will not only improve the quality of residential care services in areas across the country, it will also offer a boost to local economies through job creation in the aged care and construction sectors.”
The residential care places in this ACAR are targeted to providers that can commence delivering care within 18 months, Minister Colbeck said.
Priorities for the $150 million in grant funding include:

  • Upgrades to create more spacious rooms, increase privacy and decrease the need for shared living quarters;
  • A focus on dementia-friendly services aimed at allowing those diagnosed with dementia living in the bush to remain in their communities;
  • Improved infection prevention and control measures, and
  • Help for providers in financial stress to bring their allocations of residential care places online, including those impacted by bushfires and COVID-19.

Application forms, guidance materials and other resources can be found online.
All applications for the 2020 ACAR must be received electronically on or before 11:59pm (AEST) 18 March 2021.

Additional amendments to News Media And Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code

The Morrison Government will today introduce further amendments to the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code.
These amendments will provide further clarity to digital platforms and news media businesses about the way the Code is intended to operate and strengthen the framework for ensuring news media businesses are fairly remunerated. These amendments will make it clear that:

  • a decision to designate a platform under the Code must take into account whether a digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses;
  • a digital platform will be notified of the Government’s intention to designate prior to any final decision – noting that a final decision on whether or not to designate a digital platform would be made no sooner than one month from the date of notification;
  • non-differentiation provisions will not be triggered because commercial agreements resulted in different remuneration amounts or commercial outcomes that arose in the course of usual business practices; and
  • final offer arbitration is a last resort where commercial deals cannot be reached by requiring mediation, in good faith, to occur prior to arbitration for no longer than two months.

Importantly, the amendments will strengthen the hand of regional and small publishers in obtaining appropriate remuneration for the use of their content by the digital platforms.
The Explanatory Memorandum will confirm that the Code only applies to the extent a digital platform is making covered news content available through those services.
These amendments also add further impetus for parties to engage in commercial negotiations outside the Code – a central feature of the framework that the Government is putting in place to foster more sustainable public interest journalism in Australia.
The Government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in the coming days.

Morrison Government commits record $9b to social security safety net

The Morrison Government is enhancing our social security safety net by increasing support for unemployed Australians while strengthening their obligations to search for work.
From March the Coalition Government will progressively introduce a series of permanent measures to ensure that job seekers have the best opportunity to secure employment as our nation continues to recover from the economic challenges of COVID-19.
These include:

  • permanently increasing the rate of working-age payments by $50 a fortnight from 1 April 2021, benefiting 1.95 million Australians;
  • permanently increasing the income-free earnings to $150 per fortnight for JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (other) from 1 April 2021;
  • temporarily extending the waiver of the Ordinary Waiting Period for certain payments for a further three months to 30 June 2021;
  • temporarily extending the expanded eligibility criteria for JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (other) for those required to self-isolate or care for others as a result of COVID-19 to 30 June 2021.

There will also be changes to the Mutual Obligation Scheme:

  • job seekers will be required to search for a minimum of 15 jobs a month from early April, increasing to 20 jobs per month from 1 July;
  • an employer reporting line will be established to refer Jobseekers who are not genuine about their job search or decline the offer of a job;
  • some job seekers will be required to participate in work for the dole after six months;
  • job seekers can choose to participate in an approved intensive short course instead of participating in work for the dole;
  • job seekers return to compulsory face-to-face services with Jobactive providers;
  • increased auditing of job applications to ensure job seekers are making genuine applications.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the plan for working age payments is fair and sustainable – for both unemployed people and taxpayers who fund the support.
“Welfare is a safety net, not a wage supplement. We want to get the balance right between providing support for people and incentives to work,” the Prime Minister said.
“The actions we have taken this year successfully cushioned us against the impact of the pandemic and mean that we no longer need to rely on the emergency supports which have sustained us over the past 12 months.”
“Now is the time to set our nation up for the future and build on our successes which will see Australians once again emerge stronger, safer and together.”.
The $9 billion commitment is the largest ever Budget measure for working age payments and is the single biggest year on year increase to the rate of unemployment benefits since 1986.
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash said the changes to mutual obligations would provide better support for job seekers in their search for work.
“We know that most job seekers are doing the right thing and trying to find employment, however, a small minority are actively trying to game the system The new employer reporting line will be set up from April to help ensure those doing the wrong thing are identified,” Minister Cash said.
“Job seekers who have been unemployed for at least six months will also be required to participate in an activity, such as a short training course or Work for the Dole, in addition to their job search activities.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the Government has stood side-by-side all Australians during the pandemic and would continue to do so through permanent changes to strengthen our income support system.
“Since April 2020 our comprehensive payment system will help to deliver more than $33 billion in emergency income support payments including the Coronavirus Supplement and four economic support payments, the last of which will start flowing to our pensioners from next week,” Minister Ruston said.
“Our Government has always made sure that the rate of income support payments has kept pace with the cost living through twice yearly indexation but this announcement marks the first real increase in the rate of unemployment benefits in more than 25 years.
“What we’re announcing is significant but also sustainable because we must make sure our social security safety net is available into the future should our children fall in tough times”
For more information about the changes, visit https://www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/job-seekers

Ordinary Council Meeting Tuesday 23 February 2021

Following is a summary of resolutions from the Ordinary Council meeting of Tuesday 23 February 2021. NB: it is not a full record of resolutions.
Lord Mayoral Minutes
Inaugural New Annual Cultural Festival success
A Lord Mayoral Minute acknowledging the success of the City’s inaugural 10-day cultural festival New Annual held across the City between 12-21 February 2021, which attracted over 30,000 people, cementing Newcastle’s status as a hub of creativity and culture, was supported.
The minute acknowledged that more than 500 artists and 250 staff, crew and volunteers were involved in the delivery of New Annual and congratulated the local artists for embracing New Annual, and helping the City to create a world-class arts and cultural festival for Novocastrians and visitors.
City of Newcastle Local Government Remuneration Tribunal annual determination submission 2021
A Lord Mayoral Minute (LMM) was carried that noted that on 17 February 2021, correspondence from the NSW Government’s Local Government Renumeration Tribunal was received, calling for submissions by Friday, 19 March 2021 regarding its 2021 annual determination.
The Lord Mayoral Minute called for Council to make a submission to the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal, advocating for clarification regarding City of Newcastle’s status as either metropolitan or regional.
The LMM called for the creation of a new categorisation for City of Newcastle as a ‘Gateway City’ – recognising the immense importance of Greater Newcastle to the broader economy of New South Wales.
It also called for appropriate superannuation entitlements be paid to all Councillors and Mayors in New South Wales.
City of Newcastle Budget Submission 2021/22
A Lord Mayoral Minute noting that the NSW and Federal Governments are calling for submissions for their 2021-2022 Budgets, with an emphasis on shovel-ready, economic stimulus projects to assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 global pandemic, was supported.
The minute also called for acknowledgment that Newcastle-based projects identified on the Infrastructure Australia priority list be funded as a matter of priority, noting their significance for the national economic recovery.
Build Them Here – BusTech Electric bus technology
A Lord Mayoral Minute welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to designate Australian-based electric bus manufacturer BusTech Group as an official supplier, in support of its aim to decarbonise the NSW bus fleet by 2030. The NSW Government has committed to buying 120 new electric buses in 2021, and converting all 8,000 NSW Government buses to electric by 2030.
The minute noted Newcastle’s long history as a manufacturing hub, specialisation in advanced manufacturing, clean tech credentials in batteries and renewable energy, and traditional energy, and connection to the CSIRO Energy Centre and University of Newcastle, which has just become NSW’s hydrogen hub.
The Lord Mayoral Minute, which was supported, called for Council to write to BusTech, inviting them to meet to discuss their product, and opportunity to locate their NSW manufacturing facility in Greater Newcastle
Newcastle Art Gallery Redevelopment update
A Lord Mayoral Minute acknowledged that the current 44-year-old Newcastle Art Gallery is home to the most valuable collection of over 7,000 works of art in regional Australia, with a collection valued at $115 million, including works by Arthur Boyd, William Dobell, Donald Friend, Tracey Moffatt, Margaret Olley, John Olsen, Patricia Piccinini, Gwyn Hanssen Pigott and Brett Whitely to name but a few.
The carried LMM supports in principle the request to increase City of Newcastle’s contribution to $16.2 million and notes that this breakdown of figures sees an outstanding amount of $10 million required to realise the important project, which the City of Newcastle will request from the NSW and/or Federal Governments, while 75% of the project costs will be raised and funded by City of Newcastle, the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation and the Margaret Olley Art Trust.
Ordinary Business
Councillor representation on external committee – Newcastle Art Gallery foundation board
Councillors noted Councillor Dunn’s resignation from the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation Board and appointed Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Clausen as City of Newcastle’s representative and nominated Director on the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation Board until the day before the next local government election.
Nomination to list Newcastle Recreation Reserve (King Edward Park) on the state heritage register
Councillors moved to lay the item on the table to allow for a Public Voice session to be held.
Termination of outdated policies
Councillors voted to terminate outdated policies to ensure all City of Newcastle policies are current, relevant and accurately reflect the services and work of City of Newcastle.
Tabling of Register of Disclosures of Interest – 1 November 2020 – 31 January 2021
Councillors voted to table the Register of Disclosures of Interest (for the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021) by the Chief Executive Officer.
Natural disaster clause – Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012
Councillors voted to confirm to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment that the City wishes to have the natural disaster clause inserted into the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012.
Wood Street, Newcastle West – one-way traffic flow southbound and angle parking between Hunter Street and King Street
Councillors voted to approve the one-way southbound traffic direction, angle parking and raised pedestrian zebra crossing in Wood Street, Newcastle West between Hunter and Parry Street.
Adoption of Parking Plan
Councillors voted to adopt the Parking Plan – On Our Streets and noted that implementation will be staged over several years, in accordance with agreed priorities and resourcing.
Adoption of Cycling Plan
Councillors voted unanimously to adopt the Cycling Plan – On Our Bikes and noted that implementation will be staged over several years, in accordance with agreed priorities and resourcing.
Public exhibition of the draft Economic Development Strategy
Councillors voted unanimously to place the draft 2030 Economic Development Strategy on public exhibition for 28 days.
Public exhibition of the draft Grants Policy and Sponsorship Policy
Councillors voted to place the draft Community Grants Policy and draft Sponsorship Policy on public exhibition for 28 days.
Variations to development standard
Councillors received the report on approved development variations between 1 October 2020 and 31 December 2020 in accordance with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s concurrence to vary development standards in the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012.
Liquor Amendment Bill 2020 update
Councillors received the report on implications for the delivery of the City of Newcastle’s Live Music and After Dark Strategies arising from the Liquor Amendment Act 2020.
December Quarterly Budget Review
Councillors received the December Quarterly Budget Review Statement and voted to adopt the revised budget.
Six-Monthly Performance Report on the 2018-2022 Delivery Program
Councillors received the Six-Monthly Performance Report on the 2018-2022 Delivery Program.
Executive Monthly Performance Report
Councillors received the Executive Monthly Performance Report for January 2021.
Audit and Risk Committee 2019/20 Annual Report
Councillors received the Audit and Risk Committee’s Annual Report for the 2019/2020 financial year and noted the 2020/2021 Forward Internal Audit Plan.
Tender report – geotechnical investigation and design panel contract – contract 2021/221t
Councillors voted to accept a tender panel for the provision of geotechnical investigation and design services for various projects throughout the Local Government Area.
Supply of rock bags for Stockton – contract no. 2021/060t
Councillors voted to approve an exemption to tender under Section 55(3)(k) of the Local Government Act 1993 due to the emergency circumstances at Stockton Beach in July 2020.
Notices of Motion
Permanently raise the rate
Councillors supported a Notice of Motion to call on the Prime Minister, Treasurer and the Commonwealth Parliament to permanently raise the rate of JobSeeker by between $185 per week and $275 per week.
Keeping the Newcastle Ocean Baths free
Councillors supported a Notice of Motion to reaffirm the current Council’s enduring commitment to maintaining the Newcastle Ocean Baths as a safe, free public facility, accessible to all Novocastrians regardless of socio-economic status, gender, age, mobility or background.
A Novocastrian in the White House
Councillors supported a motion to congratulate former New Castle County Councillor Joe Biden on his election to the office of President of the United States of America and noted that both Newcastle, Australia and New Castle, Delaware are part of the Newcastle’s of the World friendship network. Council will write to the United States’ representative in Australia, Chargé d’Affaires His Excellency Dr Michael Goldman, and Consul General to Sydney, Ms Sharon Hudson-Dean, expressing the City’s congratulations to the President and Vice President, and seek to maintain the strong relationship between the City of Newcastle and the United States.
Petroleum Exploration Permit (pep 11)
Councillors supported a notice of motion reiterating its previous opposition to any extension of Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 (PEP11), which expired on 12 February 2021, due to unacceptable environmental impacts, and negative economic impacts on the recreational and commercial fishing and tourism industries off the coast of Newcastle.

NEW BATEMANS BAY BRIDGE TO WELCOME TRAFFIC WITHIN WEEKS

The new Batemans Bay Bridge over the Clyde River will open to two lanes of traffic in late March, months ahead of schedule.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the early completion of the bridge was a win for the Batemans Bay community.
“Travelling to and accessing the beautiful South Coast is about to improve, providing an economic boost to our communities, and delivering a much-needed new link for the entire region,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Previously, the new bridge was expected to open by the middle of the year but the project has powered ahead despite the impacts of bushfires and COVID-19.
“The project has employed around 1,000 people so far and nearly half of them are local to this area.”
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole welcomed the early bridge opening saying it was another demonstration of the NSW Government’s commitment to safer and stronger regions that the work to complete the bridge was able to be accelerated ensuring it could open to traffic before the holidays.
“The benefits of the new bridge include fewer supports in the river, safer navigation and better connections in and around Batemans Bay for motorists, freight, river users, pedestrians and cyclists,” Mr Toole said.
“The two lanes on the western side of the $274 million project will be the first to open, operating initially with one lane in each direction.”
Member for Bega Andrew Constance said the project has created a safer and more efficient crossing over the Clyde River, particularly for emergency services.
“To be ahead of schedule and have the bridge open to traffic for the Easter school holidays is fantastic news for visitors and locals,” Mr Constance said.
“One of the real dividends of this bridge project is that the NSW Government’s Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program has provided improved opportunities for groups typically under-represented in construction. Around nine per cent of workers are female, 14 per cent are under 25 and more than 15 per cent are Aboriginal.”
Princes Highway northbound traffic will move onto the new bridge first, followed by southbound traffic a few hours later and the three metre pedestrian and cyclist path a few days after that.
Removal of the existing bridge will start within three days of the new bridge opening to two lanes of traffic.
Ramps and steps are continuing to be built to connect the bridge to the foreshore and the existing pedestrian network, and new fishing and viewing platforms will provide better amenity for recreational fishing and views of the area when the project is complete.
Old Punt Road will be widened and connected with Wharf Road under the bridge in the next stage of the project to improve access to the northern foreshore, and the Kings and Princes highway intersection upgrades will improve traffic flow.
The new bridge height allows uninterrupted access for boats requiring up to 12 metres height clearance at Mean High Water Spring.
For more information about the new Batemans Bay Bridge project, go to https://nswroads.work/batemansbaybridge.

TIME TO PUT AN END TO FRIENDLESS PEP11

Now that the New South Wales State Government has formally rejected the renewal of the PEP11 Petroleum Exploration Permit, the future of the project lies solely in the hands of the Morrison Government.
If renewed, PEP11 could see oil or gas rigs in the coastal waters between Port Stephens and Sydney.
Federal Labor stands on the side of coastal communities who have waged a strong community campaign against the permit.
This should be the end of the road for PEP11.
Oil and gas rigs have no place off the coast of New South Wales.
PEP11 offers no new jobs for locals and poses a threat to thousands of existing jobs in tourism, fishing and hospitality.
We call on the Federal Minister for Resources, Keith Pitt, to listen to his state government counterparts, the strong message of our communities and the local representatives from across the political spectrum who are united in their calls to stop PEP11 once and for all.
Not only does the PEP11 permit run alongside a stretch of coastline that is home to millions, but it is also is home to a rich ecosystem of sea life and host to the magnificent annual whale migration.
The community has rejected the project. Federal Labor and local elected representatives have rejected the project. Now the New South Wales Government has rejected the project.
It’s well past time for the Morrison Government to stop the uncertainty and put an end to PEP11 once and for all!

Excerpt of Adam Bandt's Remarks to Greens National Conference

Everyone is assuming 2021 will be an election year and the Greens are no different. Working closely with the party, our team is raring and ready to go. Your work on policy in previous conferences and again this weekend is making a great contribution to getting the party fit for a campaign.
The next election will be incredibly close. After the redistributions in Western Australia and Victoria, which are predicted to disadvantage the Coalition, the election campaign will begin with – effectively – a minority Parliament. With the prospect of increasing our Senate seats to become the biggest third party in the Senate ever, a very likely outcome is that the Greens will end up in shared balance of power in both houses of Parliament, like we were in 2010.
So I want to start sharing our strategy with you. Later in the year we’ll be sharing our target seats and our electoral plan to fulfil the goals I set out when I became Leader, namely to turf the government out, put the Greens in balance of power and implement a Green New Deal.
Today, I want to talk about the issues we’ll be fighting on, the issues that will grow our representation in Parliament and the kind of issues that we’ll be putting on the table in what will almost certainly be a power-sharing parliament.
We won’t be a small target this election.
We will fight to get the Morrison government out, but with a plan that tackles the long-term issues facing us.
People don’t just want someone who’s on their side, they want someone who will fight for their future.
As they snap back to trickle-down economics and boast about their fiscal conservatism, Liberal and Labor have both decided not to offer big, detailed visions for Australia’s future. We will happily step into the space they have vacated.
We are in a climate emergency and we want to make the next election a referendum on climate change. Because this election is critical to the future of Australia and the world. And because time is running out. We will go to this election as the only party with a plan to phase out coal and gas in the time the science requires. In any shared power parliament, this will be on the table, as you would expect.
But we also want to make the next election a referendum on inequality by taking on the billionaires and big corporations.
Just before the pandemic, Liberal and Labor passed the horrendous ‘tax cuts for millionaires’ package that will cost the budget $325bn over the next decade, delivering $189 billion into the pockets of the wealthiest 20% and just 0.1% for the poorest 20%.
Before the pandemic, workers’ share of income in Australia had sunk to the lowest level in history, while corporate profits reached record highs.
Since then, the pandemic hasn’t just hit our health and our freedom of movement. The pandemic has made inequality worse.
Now, two million people either have no job or not enough work, and it will get worse when JobKeeper is cut in March. Workers who do have a job aren’t expecting a pay rise for years.
But while everyone else suffers, the billionaires and big corporations are making out like bandits.
 

The billionaires and the big corporations

The AFR’s rich list, an annual celebration of Australia’s wealthiest 200 people and families, shows the wealth of billionaires grew an eye-watering 25% during the pandemic to a record high $357 billion. The poor things only had $267 billion of wealth between them before the pandemic.
According to our analysis of the Australian Financial Review list, there were 48 more billionaires in 2020 than there were just three years earlier – just shy of a doubling of billionaires in the last three years. Not only is their wealth growing rapidly, but like cane toads they are multiplying out of control too.
This is not just a problem in Australia. Worldwide, the wealth of billionaires increased by US$3.9 trillion during the pandemic. Relatively speaking, according to Bloomberg, Australia’s own billionaires Gina Reinhart and Twiggy Forrest grew their wealth by even more than the richest of the rich – Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. A depressing achievement for Australia.
Many of these billionaires are also the same people profiting off the destruction of our planet from coal. Gina Reinhart, Clive Palmer and Ivan Glasenberg. Then there’s billionaires from overseas, Czech billionaire like Pavel Tykac who owns two of Queensland’s coal stations, Hong Kong Billionaire Michael Kadoorie who owns Australia’s dirtiest power station Yallourn and another in NSW and another Hong Kong Billionaire Henry Cheng who owns Loy Yang B and Alinta, another company that doesn’t pay any tax.
While we were locked down, the billionaires got rich off us. While we try to stop the climate crisis, the billionaires make it worse. While we pay tax, the billionaires get handouts.
Meanwhile, 1 in 3 big corporations pay no tax, including many in the fossil fuel industry with the Australian Tax Office singling out the oil and gas industry as – and I quote the ATO here –  “systemic non-payers of tax”.
While everyone else deals with rising public school fees and the high costs of going to the dentist, big corporations pay no tax and send their profits offshore.
But not only are they tax dodgers, the government is now giving them extra public funds!
We moved amendments in Parliament to stop the JobMaker hiring credits going to profitable big corporations that were paying dividends, but Labor – for all their bluster on this issue – joined with the Liberals to vote it down, keeping the money flowing to the big corporations.
Scott Morrison has outsourced the recovery and the last Budget contained $99b a year in subsidies to big corporations and the very wealthy, public money which Labor waved through.
And just this week, the government is seeking to give Energy Minister Angus Taylor the power to raid the funds of the Clean Energy Finance and divert billions of dollars – billions – to big gas corporations.
There are big corporations making super-profits and it’s time they gave something back.
 

State-sanctioned corruption

Politics is working for billionaires and big corporations. It isn’t working for everyday people.
The government should recover from the pandemic by tackling the long-term problems our country faces and investing in nation-building, planet-saving projects.
But it’s not happening, because Labor and Liberal take money from the billionaires and big corporations that are causing the very same problems.
These companies make super profits amplifying the climate crisis, ship the bulk of their profits offshore tax-free and keep the major parties on a drip feed of donations
The formula is the same for the companies that have benefited from Labor and Liberals’ privatisation program. These companies like Transurban, Sydney Airport Ltd and Energy Australia have been giving more in donations to bribe political parties than they pay in tax.
It is state-sanctioned corruption.
We want to make the next election a referendum on climate change and inequality, but also on the fact that Liberal and Labor won’t act on the big issues because they take money from the billionaires and the big corporations.
We will seek to highlight at every opportunity that the establishment parties take political donations from the big corporations and the billionaires and that is why they are unwilling to end the corporate handouts, tackle the climate crisis, and invest in public services.
This week we called on the Liberal and Labor parties to reject future donations from Crown Casinos and instead to provide the almost $2 million in donations they have received from Crown to a gambling charity. They said no, they’d rather keep the money.
This will be our template for action between now and the election. Any time a scandal erupts regarding a billionaire or big corporation we will put their donations to the establishment parties up in lights. And any time Liberal and Labor say they have to be ‘financially conservative’ and can’t get dental into Medicare, lift Jobseeker or guarantee everyone a job, we’ll demand the billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share of tax.
Voters aren’t stupid.
They can connect the dots between donations and the political benefits that follow.
So our election proposition for people is simple.
It is time for the billionaires and big corporations to pay their fair share. 
Put the Greens into balance of power, and we’ll make the billionaires and big corporations pay a bit more so that you pay a lot less.
And the Greens are the only ones who can fix the problem, because we’re the only ones who don’t take money from the big corporations and billionaires causing the problem. 
In the coming months we will outline a range of policies that will look to transfer some of billionaires and big corporations’ wealth to everyday Australians with investments in genuinely free education, our public health system and action to protect the environment, creating jobs along the way.
Our goal will be full employment, and by making the billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share, we can get there.
By making big corporations and billionaires pay a bit more, everyone else can pay a bit less for the essential services they rely on.
 

A pathway forward

We are confident that if we can get a debate going on the extreme wealth of the billionaires and the super-profits of the big corporations, voters will respond and mobilise and vote for action.
Recent polling commissioned by the Australian Greens shows how strong the support is for action on billionaires and the big corporations. A variety of questions were asked and there was majority support in most cases for closing the tax loopholes and increasing taxes on the super wealthy and big corporations.
I don’t have time to outline it all here but I will give you one example.
When asked:
“Are you more or less likely to vote for a party campaigning to increase taxes on big corporations and billionaires in order to fully fund health, education and other services?” 
61% of voters said they were more likely and only 8% said they were less likely.
 
These policies are not just the right thing to do, they are also extremely popular amongst all Australians, and especially young people considering voting Green.
This is the direction we will head this year as we fight for a future for all of us.
 

NEW DATA SHOWS YOUTH ALLOWANCE IS A "POVERTY SENTENCE" FOR YOUNG, DISABLED AUSTRALIANS

Australian Greens Disability Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John has called for an urgent intervention to lift young, disabled people out of poverty after new data, obtained by Children and Young People with Disability, was published today.
Senator Steele-john said the data, which showed job seekers aged 20 to 25 with a partial capacity to work, had almost quadrupled in the last decade meanwhile the number of students aged 20 to 25 with a disability on youth allowance has skyrocketed almost 1000 per cent.
“These statistics are absolutely shocking, but not at all surprising,” Senator Steele-John said.
“Back in 2012 we warned the Gillard government that their proposed changes to the Disability Support Pension would have the net result of kicking thousands of disabled Australians into poverty, and entrench poverty for a generation of young people transitioning into adulthood.
“Young Australians already face significant barriers to gaining meaningful employment. If you also have a disability and have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work – recognition that you need extra support to participate in the workforce – then your options are incredibly slim.
“Youth Allowance is not enough money for any young person to live on while they are studying full time. For young and disabled Australians it is a poverty sentence.”