Election 2001

Response of Australian Greens to NSW Human Rights Education Committee's survey:

(the response below was provided by Kerry Nettle, Senate Candidate, Greens (NSW) on behalf of Bob Brown)

1. How would you work to promote freedom from discrimination?

The Greens believe strongly in the principle of equality and with this comes the expectation that no person should be subjected to discrimination due to their race, religion, sexual preference or political viewpoint. This is embodied in our charter and in policies relating to 'Care for People'. We carry this out in the practices of the party, for example, through the use of language and a policy that ensures we have an even number of male and female candidates.

The Greens believe there is a need to eliminate discrimination in all walks of life, starting with education in schools and extending to the enactment of legislation by governments.

The Greens celebrate diversity and abhor discrimination.

2. What are your views about a Bill of Rights?

The Greens support a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

3. In what ways would you engage with issues of concern to Indigenous

Bob Brown has been a fierce advocate for issues for social justice for the first Australians. He voted against Howard's 10 Point Plan, and has consistently supported a Treaty with Indigenous Australians.

Bob, other Greens elected at State level and the Greens membership have played a strong role in thwarting plans to continue the development of a uranium mine at Jabiluka, as well as speaking out against nuclear waste dumps and mines on Aboriginal lands across the country.

Senator Brown's Private Members Bill on Mandatory Sentencing was pivotal in drawing the nation's attention to the racist laws existing in the Northern Territory and Western Australia that resulted in at least one death of a young Aboriginal boy in custody and the incarceration of many.

The Greens will continue to advocate equality for Indigenous people with regards to health, education, social justice and Native Title rights.

4. How do you think Government could improve procedures for responding
to asylum seekers?

The manner in which asylum seekers have been treated in Australia has been a huge cause for concern to the Greens since long before the Tampa crisis brought the subject to a head. We reject the notion of asylum seekers as being 'illegal immigrants' and affirm the right of any person seeking asylum to enter a country without authorisation. We reject the virtual imprisonment and the use mandatory detention centres for asylum seekers and support the establishment of reception centres and support structure for new arrivals. The handling of the Tampa situation was inhumane, costly and a huge source of shame to Australians who care about other people's right to a safe and peaceful life. Those who were rescued by the Tampa should have been allowed to land in Australia to be processed.

The Greens propose that existing detention centres be replaced with publicly-owned reception centres in and around urban centres with access to support networks.

Senator Brown opposed the raft of new laws brought in by the government and supported by the opposition that make seeking refuge even harder for those in need of help.

The Greens advocate leadership from Australians in relation to refugees and other social justice concerns. Using the international conventions and the UN Declaration of Human rights as a basis, Australians can easily lead the world in attitude and responses.

5. What is Australia's role in achieving a balance between the global
economy, the environment and the social good?

The Greens are a global party and believe that achieving a balance between the global economy, the environment and society is essential. The Greens believe in fair trade over free trade. No economic gain should come at the expense of the environment or social health.

The Australian Greens support a policy of managed international trade and foreign investment based on the recognition that nation states have a right and a duty to ensure that their consumption and production, including both imports and exports, is sustainable.
These principles, which are fundamentally different to those of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), require that international trade and foreign investment support protecting local employment and labour conditions; reducing economic and political vulnerability through increased economic self-reliance; encouraging diversification of industry; permitting the development of local technologies; reducing the amount of energy and pollution required to power the global economy and protecting the environment.
Through the establishment of the Global Greens Charter, Green parties world-wide have committed to advocating for fair trade and sound economic and social practices in each of their sphere's of influence. Australia should also play a strong role in pushing for a balance between global economy, the environment and society. Legislation to require that Australian companies adhere to Australian law in their overseas operations would help achieve this end, especially in cases where these companies work in countries that have even less stringent environmental and social standards than ours.

Please visit our website for a full view of the Australian Greens' policies.

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