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Greens welcome Faulkner to top defence post

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown says that Senator John Faulkner is the best possible choice for the post of Minister for Defence.

"Senator Faulkner has a record of great integrity and, frankly, I am surprised that he is prepared to take this tough job on after so many years of dedicated service to the Labor Party and to Australia," Senator Brown said.

"Senator Faulkner gives politics a good name."

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Senate calls for action on massacre in Sri Lanka

The following motion was passed in the Senate this afternoon:

That the Senate, in regard to the massacre of civilians, including hundreds of children, in the Tamil homelands of northern Sri Lanka, calls on the Government to take decisive action commensurate with the need to immediately halt this unnecessary bloodshed.

The Greens' motion was opposed by the government but supported by the coalition. Statements by Labor's Senator Joe Ludwig and by Senator Bob Brown are available in Hansard (time 3:35-40).

Media contact: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

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Conversation, not confrontation, say Greens to PM

Responding to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's call for the Senate to pass the budget ‘in its entirety', Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown says that conversation, not confrontation, would be the Prime Minister's best tack.

"The key role of the Senate is to review and improve the government's legislation, not least the annual budget.

"Mr Rudd may prefer an election to an improved budget outcome, but the people won't," Senator Brown said.

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Don't use the 'a' word - Senate

The Senate today voted down the use of the word 'arson'.

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown's amendment to a bushfire inquiry proposed by Senator Bill Heffernan to the Agriculture Committee was altered from 'arson' to 'accidental, natural and deliberate' causes.

When Senator Brown moved an amendment to insist on the word 'arson', Government and Coalition Senators voted it down.

"I call arson arson," Senator Brown said.

"It is time we faced the reality of arson and investigated the reasons for it and its remedies," he added.


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Xenophon move may weaken watch on MPs travel say Greens

The proposal by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon to require details of MPs travel to be published within 60 days may actually weaken the existing requirement for reporting within 35 days,
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

"The fact is that all travel paid for other than by the MP themselves has to be notified on the Senate register or to the Senate within 35 days."


"So it seems Senator Xenophon's motion may actually delay, if not weaken, the reporting of any trips which are paid for with potential strings attached."

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Greens vote up in Queensland: Brown predicts Senate seat next year

While Greens MP Ronan Lee is in a very tough position to win Indooroopilly, the State-wide vote of 8.23% is a record high, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Brisbane today.

"These are tough numbers for Ronan, but it will go down to the wire," Senator Brown said.

"He is ahead of his times in Queensland politics. In an age of climate change, most voters have backed burning more coal. That's democracy.

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Barnaby-Labor double shuffle inquiry

Labor joined National Party Leader Barnaby Joyce today to oppose Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown's move for a Senate inquiry on Chinalco's bid for Rio Tinto.

However, tomorrow Senator Joyce and Labor will move exactly the same motion.

"No reason for this double-shuffle was offered to the Senate," Senator Brown said.

Queensland has a state election next Saturday.

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Greens move for Senate inquiry into foreign government investment in Australian resources

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown will today move for a Senate Economics Committee inquiry into whether foreign acquisitions by foreign government entities are consistent with Australia's national interest.

"If the Chinalco deal with Rio Tinto goes ahead the communist bosses in Beijing will exert control over the management of Rio Tinto's Australian mineral resources," Senator Brown said.

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Government overrides Constitution

The Constitution, which provides for the Senate to assess and accept or reject spending on one-off projects, is being regularly overridden, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

"Billions of dollars spent on such measures as government advertising, overseas disaster relief and, to give a specific example, the Rudd government's 2020 Summit last year, are classified as ‘ordinary annual services of government' to escape specific Senate scrutiny of the allocated spending," Senator Brown said.

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Greens move for Australia Day action on the Republic

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd should use the Australia Day long weekend to commit to a vote for a plebiscite on the republic at the 2010 election, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Hobart today.

"Australia Day long weekend is the perfect opportunity for the Prime Minister to commit to building cross-party support for a vote on a plebiscite," Senator Brown said.

A key recommendation from the 2020 Summit was to hold a plebiscite within two years on whether Australia should become a republic or not.

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