Victorian Greens to introduce bill to ban battery cages and sow stalls and clarify meaning of 'free range'

The Victorian Greens will introduce a bill into state parliament this week to ban battery cages and sow stalls, clarify the meaning of ‘free range’ and to ban the routine debeaking of hens. Greens animal welfare spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik, who will introduce the bill, said that "present laws are failing farm animals which are subject to cruel and unnecessary practices".

"Research shows that 83% of Australians support or strongly support laws to ensure that animals bred for human consumption have access to the outdoors, companions, natural materials and enough space to carry out their instinctive behaviour".

Legislative program


Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- Last night the Council sat late debating a controversial bill which has raised huge concerns in the community. Like many pieces of legislation introduced during this parliamentary term, that bill is not based on any public inquiry, report or evidence and has received very little scrutiny. There are 25 bills in the lower house and 12 in the upper house with less than three sitting weeks remaining. Many of these bills are similar to the one debated late last night in that they are based not on any evidence but rather on populism. In its media release of 20 August, the Law Institute of Victoria said it is:

... deeply concerned about the raft of 'law and order' measures the state government is rushing to introduce before the November state election.

Jumps Racing petition


Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- I move:

That this house takes note of the petition bearing 532 signatures from certain citizens of Victoria requesting that the Legislative Council of Victoria call on the Minister for Racing to intervene and end steeplechase and hurdle racing in Victoria tabled in the house on 5 August 2014.

Member's Statement: Christopher Mardon


Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- Christopher Jack Mardon was a quiet man of great intelligence who involved himself in serious issues throughout his life, such as the promotion of a green economy and the science of global warming. Chris was a past president of the Conservation Council of Victoria and co-author of the seminal book Seeds for Change, published in 1978. Its model for an alternative, lower energy Melbourne has been described as an 'exciting blueprint for livable cities'.
Chris lived in Japan for seven years and taught English at the Osaka University of Foreign Studies. He was an engineer and scientist and worked for the CSIRO for more than 20 years. After retiring Chris continued to follow a wide range of issues very closely and to disseminate detailed analyses to his wide network of contacts.

Greens say auditor reveals tough challenges for legal aid

Victorian Greens Justice spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik, expressed concern that the Victorian Auditor-General’s report on Access to Legal Aid, has revealed that funding to Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) is based largely on the level of demand of 2008.  

The report confirms that there is a lack of appropriate up to date funding coupled with an increase in demand and this has resulted in VLA tightening eligibility for its most intensive and costly legal services.

Greens support Equal Love and call for an end to ten years of marriage discrimination

Victorian Greens spokesperson for LGBTI, Sue Pennicuik MLC, will be speaking at the Equal Love rally in Melbourne this Saturday marking the 10th anniversary since the federal Marriage Act 1961 was amended to define marriage as between a man and a woman only.

“It is not a happy anniversary," Ms Pennicuik said. "The Greens have long been fighting against discrimination in all aspects of the law and in particular in the last ten years to achieve marriage equality."

Greens announce Victorian Cash for Containers election commitment

The Greens will announce their plan to clean up Victoria with a 10c Cash for Container scheme.
“A Cash for Containers scheme will reduce litter and improve the natural environment, create jobs and reduce climate pollution,” said Victorian Greens spokesperson on waste management, Colleen Hartland.
“We all want a clean, healthy environment. But currently our streets, creeks, and beaches are littered with drink bottles, cans and cartons. We can stop rubbish before it hits the ground with a 10c refund scheme.”

Lib and Lab choose pokies over people - problem gambling harm to continue

Victorian Greens gambling spokesperson Colleen Hartland says that both the Coalition and Labor voting down the Greens Pokies Bill today shows they care more for their political donors than the Victorian people.
Both Labor and the Coalition voted against the Greens Dollar Bet limits Bill today in the Victorian Parliament. 
"It's a sad day for families affected by problem gambling,"said Victorian Greens spokesperson on gambling Colleen Hartland.
"The Napthine Government is addicted to gambling revenue and beholden to the lobby groups who donate hundreds of thousands to the Victorian Liberal party, and Labor isn't too far behind.”

TAFE in trouble: VAGO

Greens MP Sue Pennicuik says a new report by the Auditor General shows Victoria's TAFEs are in financial trouble due to Labor and Liberals funding policies.

"The Labor and Liberal parties won't admit their policies have been a failure,” Ms Pennicuik said.

"The policies kicked off by Labor and continued under the Liberals have done damage to the efficient, effective and trusted TAFE system.

Napthine government signs another grand prix secret deal costing taxpayers millions

“After twelve months of so-called ‘tough negotiations’, the Premier Napthine government  has surprised no-one by signing another secret deal with Mr Ecclestone, that appears to be set to cost taxpayers another $250 million”, Greens MP for Southern Metropolitan Region said today.

“If that is the case, by the time the new contract expires, the grand prix will have cost Victorians around a billion dollars at a time when millions have been slashed from schools, TAFE, justice and health budgets.

"All that Premier Napthine and Minister for Major Events, Louise Asher have ‘secured’ for Melbourne is another five years of wasted taxpayers money,” Ms Pennicuik. “The government won’t even release details of how good a deal it supposedly is, because it isn’t. It will still be a huge cost to taxpayers with exaggerated benefits.

Government delays smokefree health reform by 2 years: Greens

Smokefree diningThe Victorian Greens health spokesperson Colleen Hartland has accused the government of playing politics with people's health by delaying smokefree health reforms by two years.

"We know banning smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas works to reduce smoking and Victoria is the only state that has not already made it law," said Victorian Greens health spokesperson Colleen Hartland.

"The government’s refusal to support the Greens smokefree bill*, and now announcing their own plan, is playing politics with people's health. This political game playing has delayed this important health reform by two years."

All horses birthday reminder to ban jumps racing: Greens

"All horses birthday is a timely reminder to remember the four victims that the 2014 Victorian Jumps Racing season has already claimed due to this cruel and deadly sport," Victorian Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik MLC said today.

"Jumps racing has long been banned across Australia, but inexplicably, is still allowed in Victoria and South Australia. If jumps racing was banned in Victoria, it would probably not be viable for it to continue in South Australia.

"Racing Victoria's so-called safety measures are not working. The only way to guarantee safety is to end Jumps Racing which is 10 - 20 times more dangerous to horses than flat racing.

No place for religious proselytising in government schools

“The recent ministerial directive clarifying what is and is not permitted in public schools regarding religious activities is welcome, as there has been a lot of pushing of the boundaries in schools by religious ‘volunteers’,” Greens spokesperson on Education, Sue Pennicuik said today.

“The directive has come about after complaints that religious volunteers are breaching guidelines and I have heard of this occurring from a number of sources.”

The government is correct in making it clear that activities such as religious ‘clubs’ run by external ‘volunteers’ and the distribution of religious material is not permitted under the act.

“Public schools are secular and so religious proselytising and distribution of religious material has no place,” Ms Pennicuik said.

Western Suburbs community will fight for Trains not Tollways: Greens

The Greens have issued a warning to the government that the people of the Western Suburb will fight for Trains not Tollways in response to today's announcement that tenders have been called for the Westlink tollroad.

"The people of the Western Suburbs don’t want this dirty polluting tollway through their neighbourhoods. We’ve fought this off this proposal before and we’ll do it again” said Greens MP for the Western Suburbs Colleen Hartland.

"Every survey and poll shows Victorians want money spent on public transport over roads. Today’s announcement shows how the State government is out of touch with the community. Instead they see only profits for the road lobby."

"When the Westlink proposal last reared its ugly head in 2010, I held eleven community meetings and thousands of community members from across the Western Suburbs joined my community campaign."

Kilojoule labelling on fast food menu boards to be mandatory: Greens

Fast food - Honest menuesThe Victorian Greens have marked National Diabetes Week by announcing a state election commitment to implement mandatory kilojoule labelling on menu boards at all fast food outlets across the state.

Click here to sign the petition. 

“With today’s busy lifestyles we are eating more fast-food every week, but we have no idea of the energy content of the food and what it might do to our waste line or to our risk of contracting diabetes,” said Victorian Greens health spokesperson, Colleen Hartland.

Re-open Goldfields Rail Line

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber has committed to reopen Goldfields Rail Line passenger services to link the regional cities of Geelong, Ballarat, Maryborough, Castlemaine and Bendigo.

“The population along the Goldfields line has boomed since passenger trains were withdrawn in the late 1970s,” Mr Barber said.

“The Greens support a staged re-introduction of passenger services, with existing stations re-opened if possible, and other new low-cost stations constructed where required. 

Greens vow to stand with community to stop East West tollway

Join the growing movement and stop this tollroad

Greens MP for the Western Suburbs Colleen Hartland has vowed to continue to stand with the people of the Western Suburbs and stop the East West Tollway, instead building world-class public transport system for Melbourne. 
"The community don't want the East-West tollway, most local Council's don't want it, and transport experts advise against it. It's bad for our health, bad for air quality, bad for climate change and it's bad economics." 
"If Mr Napthine can't see these plain facts he is either deluded or other interests are pulling the strings." 
"I have been through this before in the West four years ago when the Labor government proposed WestLink - we've won before and we'll win again."

Greens introduce pokies dollar bet limit law

Support action on problem gambling - sign the petition 

The Greens have today introduced legislation to the Victorian Parliament for one dollar bet limits on the State’s poker machines.

“The Greens are determined to do something meaningful to help problem gamblers and their families,” said Victorian Greens spokesperson on gambling, Colleen Hartland.

“A one dollar limit on bets is the cheapest, most effective and most straight forward option for limiting the losses of problem gamblers.”

Greens support a strong public TAFE system on National TAFE Day

"Victoria needs a well-funded, public TAFE system. Our proven and respected public TAFEs were built up over decades with taxpayers’ money and have educated hundreds of thousands of Victorians based on the principle of affordable and accessible training for all”, said Victorian Greens education spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik .

"Today on National TAFE Day, it is important to draw attention to the damage that is being done to our pubic TAFEs here in Victoria”, Ms Pennicuik said.

Member's Statement: Karin Geradts


Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- Karin Geradts was a very special person who deeply touched the lives of those around her. Karin was a loving mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, aunty, cousin, teacher, mentor and dear friend to so many people. Karin was a primary school teacher, and the dozens of tributes to her from her current and former students are a testament to her inspiring, passionate and caring style of teaching. She was also a teacher to all who knew her -- teaching by example and with love how to be more honest, generous and brave, as she was.

V/Line performance remains unacceptable

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber says that the performance of regional V/Line train services remains at an unacceptably low level.

"The monthly release of V/Line performance data has revealed on-time running performance is down again and remains below the target for punctuality, which isn't very good anyway,” Mr Barber said.

"A short haul trip can be five minutes late and a long haul trip ten minutes late while still being deemed 'on time'. That standard is not good enough when you are trying to get to work, an appointment, or make a connection with another public transport service."  

Community Health workers deserve decent wages

The Victorian Greens have called on the Napthine Government to provide decent wages to Community Health workers after three years of failed enterprise agreement negotiations.

Today in parliament, Greens MP Colleen Hartland called on the Napthine Government to provide funding to settle the wage dispute.

“Health Professionals such as Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Podiatrists that work in Community Health are the worst paid workers in their respective disciplines in any public or private workplace in any state in Australia,” Said Colleen Hartland, Victorian Greens spokesperson on health.

No delay on redress for child sex abuse victims

The Greens have joined Commission of Inquiry Now (COIN) in calling on the Napthine Government to lay out its plans and timelines for redress of the victims of child sex abuse.

Today in parliament, Greens MP Colleen Hartland, will call on the Napthine Government to provide response to the Betray of Trust Recommendations relating to redress for the victims of child sex abuse.

“The Betrayal of Trust report provided sound recommendations on redress for victims. We must act on these without delay,” said Colleen Hartland, Victorian Greens Spokesperson on Children.

Greens will make A Metre Matter in Victoria

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber will table a bill in Victorian Parliament today to make cycling safer by introducing minimum overtaking distances for motor vehicles passing bicycles.
“This Bill requires drivers travelling at 60km per hour or less to leave a distance of at least one metre when overtaking a bicycle rider, or 1.5 metres when travelling at more than 60km per hour,” Mr Barber said.
“The most common type of incident between on-road commuter cyclists and motor vehicles is side-swiping, which has disastrous consequences for riders.
This Bill will help drivers and bicycle riders share the road more safely. 
“The Greens are pushing to make cycling laws safer alongside the Amy Gillett Foundation’s ‘A Metre Matters’ campaign.  

Karin Geradts

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend Karin.

A strong and passionate spirit. Karin always stood up for the environment, equality and for animals.

Karin was a wise and generous elder who said it like it is. Karin made a difference.

We will miss her, she touched all our lives.

Vale Karin

Greg Barber, Colleen Hartland and Sue Pennicuik, Greens MPs and staff.


Labor should stop supporting Liberals

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber has called on Daniel Andrews to use his newfound power to stop the East-West Toll Road.

“No government can exist without supply and confidence in the lower house,” Mr Barber said.

“We find ourselves in the bizarre position where the opposition is offering supply and confidence.

“Daniel Andrews says he opposes the east west toll road and wants the government not to sign contracts before the election, however Andrews is offering the supply and confidence that allows those contracts to be signed. 

Napthine plans to include gas in Renewable Energy Target

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber says the State Government's proposal to include polluting fossil fuel gas in the Renewable Energy Target will be a huge hit to the earth and the hip pocket.

‘If Premier Denis Napthine has convinced himself that gas is a renewable energy source, then he is confused,” Mr Barber said.

“Nobody in the world thinks gas is a renewable form of energy. 

Greens accuse government of being unduly influenced on smoking reform


Today, on World No Tobacco Day, Greens MP Colleen Hartland has accused the Victorian government being unduly influenced by one of their major donors on smokefree policy.
“The Australian Hotels Association are outspoken lobbyists against banning smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas, and are also major donors to the Victorian Liberal and National parties. No other state party branch receives money from the AHA and all have banned smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas. I don't think this is coincidence,” said Victorian Greens spokesperson on health Colleen Hartland.

Greens say government should stop funding special religious education

The announcement today that the state government is going to 'overhaul' the way religion is taught in Victorian primary schools after it was found that volunteers breached its guidelines doesn't go far enough, Greens Education spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik said.

"There have been complaints about the way special religious education (SRI) is conducted in government schools for years," Ms Pennicuik said. “Not least of the concerns raised by parents, teachers and by me is that SRI is conducted in government schools, using volunteers who are not teachers and using materials that are not accredited by the department.”

Greens say no container port at Hastings

The Greens do not support the establishment of a container port at Hastings on Westernport Bay.

Greens MLC Sue Pennicuik says the state government is trying to avoid environmental protection laws in pushing through its Hastings Port proposal.

"The Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act, which was introduced by the Labor government, is a way for governments to avoid proper scrutiny of the environmental and social impacts of their favourite transport projects," Ms Pennicuik said.

"The Facilitation Act is a way for the state government to avoid complying with Victoria's environmental laws.*