Greens - Patrick Darley-Jones
Benjamin Moroney, Greens Coordinator for Macarthur, on behalf of the Macarthur Greens writes:
Please find enclosed our responses to your survey.
Poor and Vulnerable
The Greens believe in an Australia that cares for its most unfortunate and extends a helping hand to the poor. Australia as a nation is too wealthy to settle for our current treatment of impoverished Australians. Our campaign plan includes an immediate $50 per week increase to Newstart Allowance, construction of 122,000 new social housing dwellings to ease the pressure of housing costs, $85 mn into development of farmer's markets and co-ops to streamline the ability of ordinary Australians to access cheap, nutritious, locally-sourced food, and a clean energy plan that aims to put decentralised energy in the hands of our poorest, allow them to supplement their electricity bills with renewable energy, and bring down power bills by a total of one billion dollars annually.
Marriage and Family
The Greens believe that marriage is an important recognition of the bond between two consenting adults, and that it forms the basis of a strong and continuing relationship. It is for this reason that we consider it unjust and immoral for the Commonwealth to refuse to recognise same-sex marriages. We would institute an immediate change in the Marriage Act to recognise the union "of two adults," rather than the current "a man and a woman." We also respect the liberty of religious institutions, and while growing numbers of Australian religions are more than comfortable with performing same-sex ceremonies, any Bill we put forward would not force any religious leader to perform ceremonies that run counter to their beliefs.
The Greens believe children and young people have the right to a loving and nurturing environment, free of abuse and neglect. We would institute a variety of reforms to ensure the availability of health, educational and support programs for young Australians, including a secure Youth Allowance, mental health care and post-abuse care facilities and affordable housing options. We also support a ban on junk food advertising during children's programming times, and the extension of voluntary voting to 16 and 17 year olds.
The Greens hold that reverance and care for human life is paramount, and that our policies should always seek to enhance the sovereignty and dignity of life. The Greens believe that the right to ownership of one's life and bodily autonomy is important, and it is for this reason that we advocate for the right to die with dignity. Over 75% of Australians believe that terminally ill patients should have the right to make their own decision to end their suffering. Voluntary euthanasia is not a choice made casually, and subject to safeguards to protect the vulnerable, the Greens support physician-assisted voluntary euthanasia.
The Greens are firm believers that significant harm has been dealt to indigenous Australians throughout the run of British colonisation and well into Federation through a pattern of systemic disenfranchisement and discrimination. The Greens support formal and informal recognition of indigenous Australians as having a strong cultural and spiritual connection to this land, and rights as traditional owners. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have a right to self-determination and strong political representation and to appropriate reparation for traditional lands from which they have been dispossessed. We support affirmative action programs and targeted services to bring indigenous Australians to an equal level of health, education and opportunity. We advocate an immediate end to the gross injustices of the NT Intervention particuarly the quarantining of income. We advocate establishing representative governing bodies elected by indigenous Australians.
Refugees and Migration
The Greens recognise that seeking asylum is both a right and a desperate and risky act that is not undertaken lightly. Asylum seekers are currently used as vote-winning political capital, abused and dehumanised at the whims of campaigning. The Liberals claim we cannot afford them and that they are swamping us, while Labor cry crocodile tears about people smugglers and deaths at sea while doing nothing to solve the problem. The Greens would immediately increase our humanitarian intake to 30,000, decouple this from our irregular arrival intake, and increase our foreign aid budget and our contributions to UN refugee programs. This will reduce the chance people will need to seek asylum, but ensures that if they do, Australia will adhere to its international agreements and behave in a fashion befitting our wealth and good fortune.
Education is the right of all Australians. Successful industry and strong democracy cannot be built without a well-educated population. Not only that, but as the looming problems of the 21st century become more urgent technological solutions will become even more vital to ensure our continued prosperity. The Greens oppose any cuts to our tertiary education sector and call for a 10% base increase in funding per student. We support the Gonski reforms to primary and secondary education, though we oppose increases in funding to private schools, which serve only to widen the education gap between the rich and the poor. We oppose the privatisation of educational assets, schools and TAFE, and maintain that any move to force these institutions to compete on a private basis (i.e. voucher programs) will serve only to cut educational standards.
Australia should rightfully be proud of Medicare - healthcare is both a right and a benefit to a modern nation. A happy, healthy workforce is a productive workforce. The Greens advocate immediate funding increases to Medicare to ensure access to bulk-billing GPs and vital services, along with funding for mental health services, the addition of dental services into Medicare (our newly-released Denticare policy) and the adoption of proven harm-minimisation treatments for substance abuse.
Peace and Development
The Greens believe the paradigm of the next century will revolve around cooperation and diplomacy, not violent imperial war or modern colonialism. We believe that violence and conflict spring from discontent and desperation, and that global action to eliminate social and economic injustice will do more to halt the threat of war than even the most well-equipped military. The Greens oppose deployment of the ADF in any non-defensive situation, particularly not as a tool for political gain, and that any deployment must be approved by Parliament. We advocate continued support of the UN while campaigning for reform to make it a more democratic organisation. We oppose any and all uranium mining, export, and processing in Australia, particularly for the purpose of creating weapons.
Ecology and Sustainability
Sustainable synergy with the environment is of paramount importance to the Greens. Our wealth ultimately flows from the environment and it is important that it is maintained and in order to guarantee continued prosperity. We also accept the overwhelming scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming, and maintain that it poses an immediate threat to our way of life. We advocate the move away from fossil-fuel based energy generation and transport in favour of renewable energy sourced from thermal solar, wind and photovoltaic solar generation, a plan which has been conclusively and independently proven to be possible and affordable without major disruption to our lives or the way we do business. We oppose the opening of new coal mines and the continued exploration and mining of coal seam gas due to the threat it poses to our health and our ecosystems. We call for the protection of marine habitats, national parks and important areas of biodeversity (such as the koala population of Campbelltown).
Australia is and always has been a hard-working nation, and the Greens want to ensure that every Australian has the opportunity to perform an honest day's work and receive in turn an honest day's pay. We have announced a 1.25 bn package of tax cuts for small businesses, to make it easier for ordinary Australians to turn their dream into a successful enterprise and provide jobs for their local communities. We call for the transition to a renewable energy economy, and the public investment into both research and manufacturing of renewable energy technology that will put us at the forefront of a rapidly-expanding industry. We call for more funding for the arts, particularly for regional areas, and programs to ensure our farmers have access to cheap renewable energy and to direct markets where they are able to sell their labour for a fair price without the interference of the big supermarkets. We also stand firmly to Australia's system of industrial relations and worker protections, ensuring our workers are protected and fairly rewarded for their time and guaranteeing the fundamentals of our economy, making sure money is in the hands of ordinary Australians, being spent on local goods and services and providing the foundations of a solid economy. We support the unquestioned right for workers to organise and stronger rights of entry for union officials to recruit and inspect.