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Why the Racial Discrimination Act was a critical turning point in Australia's history

Penny Wright 15 Jun 2015

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (16:24):  I rise to contribute to this motion on the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Racial Discrimination Act in June 1975. The enactment of the Racial Discrimination Act was a critical turning point in Australia's history because of the role it played in signposting Australia's commitment to protecting and promoting what were internationally recognised and universal human rights.

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Mental health funding extension not a long-term solution

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (17:05): I do thank the Minister Ley for her response, but in her response to the resolution the minister refers to her decision to give a 12-month funding extension to so-called front-line mental health services. While mental health organisations did welcome this funding extension, it is not by any means a long-term solution. It came far too late for many.

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Legal hurdles, community division over citizenship

Penny Wright 13 Jun 2015

Ministerial power to strip Australians of their citizenship is frightening the community and may be unconstitutional, said Greens legal affairs spokesperson Senator Penny Wright.

"These laws are a mess. They're being rushed, they're being formed on the basis of misunderstood advice, they're fuelling division in the community and in Tony Abbott's own Cabinet," said Senator Wright.

"Such a serious mistake will result in crucial legal processes being passed over, and the consequences of that are huge.

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NAPLAN Online transition could handicap struggling schools

Penny Wright 11 Jun 2015

Students at rich schools ready to switch to online NAPLAN testing faster could receive higher marks, Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright has revealed.

The administrative agency ACARA has told Senate Estimates the new adaptive testing method could lead to higher scores and it would consider bulk-adjusting scores if necessary.

Senator Wright said adaptive testing would ease the stress of NAPLAN testing by adjusting to student capabilities, but warned less well-resourced schools might be left behind.

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Future is renewable as Port Augusta power plants close

The Australian Greens have called for government investment to kick-start a solar thermal plant at Port Augusta to replace the two power stations slated for closure.

Australian Greens Senator for South Australia Senator Penny Wright said jobs in the renewable energy sector could replace those expected to be lost in Port Augusta.

"Although the closure of the power stations was inevitable, it will hit the community very hard. This just makes it even clearer that the future has to be renewable," Senator Wright said.

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Dutton's totalitarian citizenship laws an unprecedented power-grab

Penny Wright 5 Jun 2015

Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright says the Abbott Government's proposal to bypass the courts and concentrate power in the hands of the Minister must be stopped.

"It is an extraordinary abuse of power to have one person deciding who gets to be Australian or not," Senator Wright said.

"The decision to remove a person's citizenship - the most fundamental right of our Constitution - must only ever be made by a court of law.

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Federal Government must lead new approach to tackle Aboriginal incarceration

The Australian Greens say the release of an Amnesty International report into Indigenous incarceration should restart a national conversation about Justice Reinvestment as an alternative to "lock 'em up" prison culture.

Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright, who chaired a 2013 inquiry into Justice Reinvestment, said some of the momentum for Federal action had been lost after the election of the Abbott Government.

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Abbott govt in $65million blackmail to South Australia over vocational education

Penny Wright 29 May 2015

The Australian Greens say the Abbott government has again sided with private interests over public education in its decision to withhold money from South Australia because of the states' new policy of prioritising TAFE in the provision of training.

Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon today said: "The South Australian government has started to realise the significant problems associated with the current national partnership agreement on training and have moved to prioritise the public sector, something the federal government should take on board.

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Government must boost legal assistance to tackle family violence

Federal cuts to legal assistance funding will undermine efforts to tackle domestic violence, say the Australian Greens.

Legal assistance and domestic violence are two separate agenda items for tomorrow's Law, Crime and Community Safety Council Meeting, but the Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright says they should be addressed together.

"If the Government is really genuine about addressing domestic violence, they need to fund the services out there helping people to understand their legal options and act on them," Senator Wright said.

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