Lee Rhiannon

“We call on the federal government to scrap the [NewStart Allowance] ‘demerit points plan’ and stop demonising the unemployed,” NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon told a public forum at UnionsNSW on July 4.

The forum was hosted by the national and Western Sydney branches of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU). The AUWU is conducting a nationwide campaign, called “Dump Your Demerit Points”, to educate members on how to fight back against this punitive system.

The federal government, supported by the Labor Party, successfully amended the Criminal Code Act 1995 by passing the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017 on June 28 to introduce new espionage offences. Green Left Weekly’s Pip Hinman asked NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon about the laws’ possible impact on those struggling for a better world.

* * *

Will the changes make it more difficult to protest? Do they criminalise dissent?

There were mixed results in the recent Greens NSW Legislative Council preselections. But, that in itself represents a revival in the fortunes of the more radical (or red-ish) Greens who have suffered a series of losses in such ballots over the past two years. Those losses were welcome news to the self-styled “mainstream progressives” (or centrists) who lead the Australian Greens and have long chaffed at the presence of Corbyn-like elements in the Greens NSW. Now, writes former convenor of NSW Greens Hall Greenland, that losing trend is over.

Housing is a basic human right, but under neoliberal capitalism it has become a privilege enjoyed by fewer and fewer people.

Another dispute inside the NSW Greens has hit the headlines, with a complaint being brought against NSW MLC Jeremy Buckingham for allegedly acting in a manner prejudicial to the party’s interests

On February 20, Greens MLC Justin Field posted a “letter to NSW Greens members” on his personal Facebook page saying a complaint had been lodged against Buckingham following his statements to an ABC Four Corners program last August.

Senator Rhiannon

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon became the first federal parliamentarian in Australia to publicly condemn Turkey's three-week war on Afrin, one of three democratic autonomous cantons in northern Syria, when she addressed a rally in Sydney on February 10.

The transport system in Australia is in crisis. The push by governments and the private roads lobby to build more tollways, sell off our public transport to the big corporations is worsening services, raising costs and creating a transport impasse for the public.

At the centre of this is the current transport disaster in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney.

The publication of NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon’s new pamphlet, Sold off, sold out: the disaster of privatisation and how to reclaim our common wealth, is timely.

With the federal government now supporting a royal commission into the banks and widespread controversy over national energy policy, the damaging consequences of privatising many of the country’s formerly publicly owned industries is clear for all to see.

“Socialism is back. Unmentioned and unused, a dead concept and suddenly there was Corbynism.” That’s how Guy Rundle announced the resurrection in “The Death of Neoliberalism” in the July 15 issue of The Saturday Paper.

The dispute between the Australian Greens and the NSW Greens, which erupted during the debate over the federal Coalition’s Gonski 2.0 funding bill, is puzzling to many.

This is because both Green parties agreed not to support the Gonski package on the basis that, even after amendments, it was still inequitable.

However, it appears that NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon become the patsy for another, more significant, battle in the Greens — one which goes to heart of the type of party it aspires to be.

NSW GREENS SENATOR told the ABC’s Insiders program on July 2 that, globally, mass movements are on the rise and that she could see a change in how politics works. She also said that parliament was “important to me, but it is not the main game”.

Green Left Weekly’s SUSAN PRICE caught up with Senator Rhiannon at the Students of Sustainability conference in Newcastle on July 4 and asked her about politics today. 

Over the past decade, the Australian Education Union-led (AEU) schools funding campaign has put the issue at the front of the national political debate. It has convinced governments at federal and state and territory levels to sign on to funding agreements.