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Greg Hunt's wind stunt won't fool Tasmania

25 May 2016

Senator Whish-Wilson provides the following comments on Greg Hunt’s visit to Robbins Island to talk up wind farm prospects.

“There have been very few Environment Ministers who have done more to damage Tasmania’s renewable investment opportunities than Greg Hunt.

“Minister Hunt oversaw the end of the carbon price, the gutting of the RET, twice voted to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and recently he cut $1 billion from the renewable energy fund ARENA.

“If Greg Hunt thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of Tasmanians via this fly-in fly-out stunt he has much to learn - we are not stupid.

“Tasmania needs to work on improving its own domestic renewable options before exploring any second Basslink options. Otherwise we run the risk of simply becoming a regular importer of coal-fired energy from the mainland.

“And until the mainland deals with its massive oversupply of dirty power from coal-fired power plants, it is hard to see how any additional exporting of renewable energy power from Tasmania would be viable.

“The Greens have a policy of increasing the Renewable Energy Target and phasing out coal-fired power plants which would provide genuine opportunities for renewable energy investment in Tasmania,” he concluded.

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Malcolm Turnbull disappoints in Tasmania yet again

20 May 2016

Launceston-based Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson makes the following comment on the Malcolm Turnbull visit to Launceston today.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “There was more money invested in Tasmania in the stage-management of a press event than there was in actual funding announcements for the Tasmanian community.

“Malcolm Turnbull tried to roll out new campaign lines, but instead found himself unable to find answers on Tasmania’s seven consecutive months of jobs losses across the state or University of Tasmania relocation funding.

“Another visit from the senior levels of the Liberal government, another time they bat away answers on the University funding. It’s time for Turnbull to stop dithering and make the call.

“Turnbull brought his Trade Minister to town to talk up new trade deals but the Liberals were speechless when asked about the crisis in the dairy industry that the free trade deals have done nothing to prevent.

“If the Prime Minister was fair dinkum about Tasmania he would visit with CSIRO scientists and hear their concerns about what his government’s cuts have done to Hobart’s climate science community.

 

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Government needs to come clean on talks about redrafting of TPP

19 May 2016

The Australian Greens’ spokesperson on trade, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, called on the federal government to ‘come clean’ about what was discussed in respect of the TPP at a side meeting of APEC in Peru.

In relation to trade talks, the guidance on caretaker conventions, published by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, states that the government “ordinarily seeks to defer … negotiations or adopts observer status until the end of the caretaker period.”

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “I call on the government to reveal what Australia’s status was at the side meeting at APEC? Did Australia put forward any formal position? If so, what was that position?”

“This is particularly important given reports that the United States is seeking ‘side letters’ to the TPP which would increase the monopoly powers of multinational pharmaceutical companies on biologic medicines and challenge domestic privacy protections.

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Traders’ antics are no joke: we need a Royal Commission to get to the heart of the problem

18 May 2016

The Australian Greens finance spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, said today that the “ugly spectacle” of Westpac and ANZ traders joking about their apparent rigging of the bank bill swap rate (BBSR) strengthened the case for a Royal Commission in the financial services sector.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Trader’s antics are no joke. This sort of callous disregard for the harm being caused reflects a deeper cultural problem at the heart of the financial sector.

“A culture of indifference has been evident in the litany of financial scandals that have come to light in recent years. We need a Royal Commission to fully explore the incentives that sit behind this bad behaviour.

“We need a Royal Commission to explore the fundamental issue of vertical integration. The merging of retail banking with investment banking has created misaligned incentives and is taking the big four banks into ever more risky and speculative activity.

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John Church’s treatment is emblematic of CSIRO fiasco

15 May 2016

Greens Senator for Tasmania, and Chair of recent Senate Inquiry into CSIRO budget cuts, offers the following comments on redundancy notice issued to renowned sea-level rise scientist John Church while at sea south of Hobart on the RV Investigator.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “John Church is a giant of sea-level rise research and to treat him in this way is abominable, there is a real palpable anger in Tasmania's science community following this decision.

“John won the CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement in 2006 and was feted by CSIRO as one of Australia’s leading lights and yet CSIRO management thought it was reasonable to issue the redundancy via a phone call to the RV Investigator while far into the Southern Ocean.

 

“This decision shows that CSIRO is not interested in continuing with sea-level rise research and blows a hole in any argument that they are looking to invest more into climate adaptation work.

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RBA alumni exposes the Government’s negligence on infrastructure

12 May 2016

The Australian Greens finance spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, today welcomed the call by former Reserve Bank Governor, Warwick McKibbin, for an increase in infrastructure spending.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Government spending on public infrastructure is vital to the future of the Australian economy. The Greens recently released a ground-breaking  initiative to establish a Government-owned infrastructure bank and issue up to $75 billion of low interest debt to get money flowing and build the nation.

“Investment in transformative infrastructure will create jobs, will improve our quality of life, and will provide stability in an uncertain global environment. The Greens are pleased so many experts are now publicly joining us in the call for a new approach to nation building.

“However, despite talking big, the Turnbull Government is ignoring such advice and planning to reduce infrastructure funding to the states by 57%.

“The recent budget shows federal government payments to the states for infrastructure will fall from $9.2 billion next financial year to $4.0 billion in 2019-20.

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