Another big year – and gearing up for a federal election, we need the Greens more than ever.
By Senator Janet Rice
It’s been a huge year in politics with great progress demonstrating the power of grassroots campaigning hand in hand with political action.
We did it! Australia finally has marriage equality!
What an important step for our country and for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender diverse, intersex and queer people, including families like mine. I’m so proud of the work we did together. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who contributed to this incredible win – by far the biggest achievement I’ve been part of in my four years in the Senate.
The Greens will continue standing with all LGBTIQ+ people and communities. We are working to remove religious exemptions that allow for discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people, and to stamp out conversion ‘therapy’ and broader sexual orientation change efforts. We are also prioritising continued advocacy for intersex, trans and gender diverse people.
The Greens have been at the forefront of the ‘axe the tampon tax’ campaign. In June, I introduced a bill to the Senate to scrap the GST on sanitary products, which passed with support from some of the crossbench and Labor.
We ran a huge campaign, and alongside Share The Dignity we presented over 125,000 signatures to Parliament.
All this led to the Turnbull government’s announcement that they now support axing the tampon tax.
Yet another case of the Greens lead, the major parties follow! Now we need to keep the pressure on the government and Scott Morrison to ensure they keep to their word and axe the sexist tax this year.
Threatened species inquiry
In the coming months, I’ll be leading a senate inquiry into Australia’s animal extinction crisis. Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinctions and one of the highest overall extinction rates in the world.
This terrifying statistic is caused by things like logging our native forests, broadscale land clearing, climate change and pollution. The Turnbull government had been standing by, twiddling its thumbs and watching as our native animals continue on their slide to extinction.
Despite my best efforts to fix our broken logging laws and protect our precious forests – bringing a vision to our Parliament that values our native forest for their inherent beauty, wildlife habitat and carbon storage values, and their potential to boost regional tourism – logging has continued unabated under the Turnbull government with the support of Labor state governments.
I’m hopeful that my Senate inquiry and its focus on animals that are killed by logging will be the intervention that marks the beginning of the end for native forest logging.
With much of the country in severe drought, our farmers, agriculture industry and regional communities are suffering. While we welcome the government’s financial assistance for farmers who are struggling, we know this is just a band-aid solution that doesn't address what’s causing droughts to increase in intensity and frequency. And that’s climate change.
On the one hand we have the LNP and Labor acknowledging that climate change will cause more droughts, but on the other they persist with their addiction to coal and bend over backwards for their fossil fuel mates.
Only the Greens will transition Australia out of dirty, polluting coal and fossil fuels and into renewable energy.
As we head into an election campaign sometime before May 2019, I’d like to take the opportunity to extend some thanks.
To Andrew Bartlett, thank you for stepping back into the role of Senator for Queensland with gusto and passion, and we can’t wait to see you in the House of Reps as the member for Brisbane.
Thank you Lee Rhiannon for your enormous contribution to the Parliament and to our party.
It was very sad to see Scott Ludlam (so, so many thanks to you, Scott, for your incredible work) and Larissa Waters depart last July, but wonderful to welcome Jordon Steele-John to our party room. Thank you, Jordon, for bringing a fresh perspective to the Senate – that of a young person and a person with a disability. It’s shown how critical it is to have diversity in our representation. To that end, I can’t wait to welcome Mehreen Faruqi and welcome back Larissa.
And to you, our members, supporters and volunteers: thank you! Your support is vital to ensure we have Greens voices in our Parliament, working towards a fairer, more sustainable future for all of us.