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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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