16 Jul 2011
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown met with representatives of steel workers in Wollongong today, making good his promise to do so after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott promised to block the Gillard Government's $300 million Steel Transformation Plan when it comes to parliament later this year.
Accompanied by NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Senator Brown said their talks were a preliminary exchange of ideas and information.
“These were very worthwhile discussions. I met with representatives of unions hosted by the South Coast Trades and Labour Council and I got a copy of the Green Jobs Illawarra Action Plan," Senator Brown said.
“I look forward to future discussions with the AWU and management about whether the $180m in the steel package earmarked for the region can be spent creating new jobs and achieving a pollution reduction dividend."
Senator Brown challenged Mr Abbott to also meet the steel worker representatives.
NB: from tomorrow Senator Brown will be away for the week and Senator Christine Milne will be acting Australian Greens Leader.
11 Jul 2011
Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown spoke with Fran Kelly about the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee's plan for a Clean Energy Future for Australia.
10 Jul 2011
The Australian Greens, the Labor government and the Independent MPs today announced an historic agreement on a climate action package that will put a $23 per tonne price on carbon pollution, as was first proposed by the Greens in January 2010, support householders and invest billions of dollars in clean, renewable energy.
"This outcome is a tribute to quite remarkable negotiation by the Prime Minister, Minister Combet and the Government team. It also comes from a very constructive commitment to both their electorates and the nation from Independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott," Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, said.
"Leading our team I pay special tribute to Christine Milne whose knowledge and insight into climate change policy options worldwide have been central to this historic outcome. The member for Melbourne Adam Bandt has also contributed with his wide grasp of knowledge about this complex challenge for the nation."
Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said "this historic agreement delivers the biggest investments in renewable energy and biodiversity Australia has ever seen, the planned closure of coal fired power plants, a big boost to global climate negotiations and much more, and the Greens will keep working for stronger action.
09 Jul 2011
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown released a new poll showing that when voters are presented with Tony Abbott’s plan or the Gillard/Greens/Independents plan, overwhelming numbers of voters favour the carbon price option.
08 Jul 2011
Tasmania will be winners in the clean energy package, Australian Greens Leader and Tasmanian Senator Bob Brown said in Canberra today.
"The hard work over months of Christine Milne and I will bring real dividends, for example through household payments, to Tasmanians.
03 Jul 2011
Bob Brown and Christine Milne press conference at Parliament House's Mural hall regarding fuel and the carbon price
30 Jun 2011
Greens Leader Bob Brown today urged politicians of all stripes to engage in a mature debate about ownership of Australians' assets, including farm land and minerals wealth.
"The Australian Greens have one initial solution - the Foreign Acquisitions Amendment (Agricultural Land) Bill 2010 jointly sponsored by Christine Milne and Nick Xenophon - with all acquisitions by foreign interests to be subject to a proposed $5 million threshold," Senator Brown said in Hobart.
"The bill was introduced into the Senate on 24 November 2010 and was subject to a Senate Inquiry which reported on 16 June 2011."
"The bill provides legislation for a national interest test which includes factors such as national security, any impacts on competition and global industry or market outcomes, any impact on Australian tax revenues, any impact on the Australian economy or community, the character of the investor, and requires online publication of applications of interest in agricultural land."
"There would also be penalties for when a foreign person acquired agricultural land without notifying the Treasurer."
29 Jun 2011
Some $50 billion reaped from Australia's mineral resources will be sent overseas as dividends to foreign owners over the next five years, according to a report released by Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown during his press club address today.
Key findings of the report Foreign ownership of Australian mining profits are:
*In the next five years foreign owners will earn about $265 billion from their investments in Australia's mineral resources;
*Increasing foreign ownership is creating a significant drag on Australia's current account balance;
*Over the last few years, Australia's net income balance has broken below its long-term floor of -3% and is forecast to deteriorate to -6% by 2013, worsening Australia's current account deficit in years ahead;
*BHP Billiton's profit margin has almost doubled in the past eight years, from 25% in 2002 to 45% in 2010. BHP's profit margin on iron ore is 62%;
*For every dollar of sales, mining companies make an after-tax profit of 26% versus the average across all industries of 8%;
*Employment costs (including all contractor expenses) are lower in mining at 12% than the average across industries at 17%;
*Net profit margins for copper and gold are 23% and 27% respectively, and yet they have been excluding from the government's mining tax; and,
*Australia's 83% foreign-owned mining industry will ship $50 billion in dividends offshore over the next five years.
"Amid a mining boom, while the federal government faces budget pressures and as the Reserve Bank of Australia prepares to raise interest rates, parts of the economy are wallowing," Senator Brown said.
The report, which shows Australian mining companies are 83% foreign owned, underscores the need for the Government to reconsider the Mineral Resource Rent Tax and the tax cut planned for big business. Senator Brown will again move to expand the MRRT, oppose the company tax cut for big business, and push to set up a sovereign wealth fund.
"The mining boom is creating massive problems for other parts of the Australian economy. If the country's minerals wealth is not properly managed, many Australians will actually be worse off and Australia's prosperity will be put at risk."
"Treasury's mining super profits tax would have preserved about 20% of forecast foreign profits for Australians. The government should have adopted the Greens' proposal for a sovereign wealth fund to store this wealth for the needs of future generations," Senator Brown said.
"Instead, under Labor's feeble mining tax and the Coalition's even more irresponsible prescription to let the foreign mining giants off the hook, Australians will be left in future cribbing on health, education and funding for key infrastructure such as high speed rail."
29 Jun 2011
Transcript is after the break
23 Jun 2011
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott should rethink plans to associate with Lord Monckton, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
"Monckton's despicable abuse of Professor Ross Garnaut can't simply be shaken off and accommodated as free speech," Senator Brown said in Canberra.
"Last year, Mr Abbott met Viscount Monckton of Brenchley and he will renew that association next week at a mining conference in Perth. I urge Mr Abbott to think again," Senator Brown said.
"Monckton's speech to the conference, entitled ‘How many beans make five? Math lessons for climate-crazed lawmakers' makes a mockery of Mr Abbott's own commitment to emissions reduction targets and professed ‘direct action' plan," Senator Brown said.
"The mining industry should ensure Monckton apologises to Professor Garnaut before their sponsorship proceeds," Senator Brown said.