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$1 billion on detention centres could be better spent on dental care

The $1 billion Australian taxpayers are spending on private company Serco's detention centre contract would be better off going toward a public denticare scheme, the Australian Greens said today.

"Letting detainees live in the community after initial health and security checks while their protection claims are assessed is 90 percent cheaper and 100 percent fairer compared to a detention centre," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Labor lurches to the right and loses touch

Opening the Labor Party conference, Julia Gillard told her party faithful she wanted the ALP to be the party that says "yes to the future".

Yet the Prime Minister spent the next three days advocating for the resurrection of the old, tired conservative policies of John Howard. On policies covering asylum seekers, uranium and same-sex marriage, Labor's leader backed the stance of the former ultra-conservative Liberal prime minister.

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Australians pay as Labor digs a hole for itself on tax

The "year of decision and delivery" is quickly coming to an end and the Prime Minister is determined to get the government's mining tax passed through the House of Representative this week before the summer break of Parliament. The Senate would then deal with the legislation when Parliament resumes in 2012.

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Australians pay as Labor digs a hole for itself on tax

The "year of decision and delivery" is quickly coming to an end and the Prime Minister is determined to get the government's mining tax passed through the House of Representative this week before the summer break of Parliament. The Senate would then deal with the legislation when Parliament resumes in 2012.

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Australian Greens join calls for MDBA to let independent scientific panel see its numbers


The Australian Greens have backed the Australian Conservation Foundation's suggestion for an independent scientific panel to scrutinise the figures used in the Murray Darling Basin Authority's forthcoming draft plan.

"We are very concerned to learn from news reports that the draft plan will recommend 2,800 gigalitres be allocated to the environment each year," Greens' water and Murray Darling spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Greens demand independent inquiry into detained Indonesian children

All Indonesians who are detained in Australian adult jails should be immediately released while they undergo processes to determine their ages, the Australian Greens said today.

"The Gillard government should urgently commission an independent inquiry into why these Indonesian children are being imprisoned in Australian jails," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"This unacceptable policy breaches Australia's obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and also breaches appropriate standards under our domestic laws.

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People smuggling bill misleads Australian public

The government's hastily-drafted Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011 misleads Australians because it does nothing to disrupt smuggling or stop the trade's kingpins from exploiting asylum seekers and poor Indonesian fishermen, the Australian Greens said today.

"This Bill, and the Commonwealth charges it seeks to amend, fails to address the fact the people smuggling organisers deem the Indonesian crew as expendable as the leaky boats," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Red-letter day in fight against warming

Today will be a great day for Australians who have waited years for their government to take our warming planet seriously.

After years of talk and a few backward steps, the Senate will pass a suite of legislation that will put a price on pollution from July next year.

Australians - who in 2007 and 2010 voted for politicians to back widespread community support for taking action - will be able to finally say that most of their elected representatives listened and acted.

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