#mentalhealth Fwd: W Australian Parliament to debate changes to mandatory sentencing Bill for mentally impaired this Thursday

Parliament to debate changes to mandatory sentencing Bill for mentally impaired this Thursday

On Thursday, Parliament will begin debating the Greens’ proposed changes to mandatory sentencing legislation, which would once again give courts appropriate discretion when sentencing people with significant mental impairment.

Greens MLC Alison Xamon first introduced the Bill in June, which amends the Criminal Code to ensure that mandatory sentencing provisions for assault on a public officer do not apply to persons whose judgment or behaviour at the time of the offence was impaired to a significant extent by mental impairment.

“I hope the government has listened to public and expert opinion and now has the courage to change the current flawed legislation. The Law Society of WA, mental health advocates and peak bodies, and families and carers of the mentally ill all want these changes,” Ms Xamon, Greens Spokesperson for Mental Health said today.

“We should allow our courts to determine whether mental impairment played a central role in any offence against a public officer and then decide the appropriate punishment and outcome for the offender. It shouldn’t be left for police and prosecutors to decide whether a mentally ill person is imprisoned. At the moment, a mentally ill person’s fate is determined by the charges brought against them, not by the courts. That’s a frightening prospect for everyone involved.

“West Australians have a right to expect that our system will protect its most vulnerable members. Mandatory sentencing has removed this capacity from our courts. The threat of jail hangs over the heads of those who, without criminal intent or fully cognizant of the consequences of their actions, cause harm to a public officer.

“I hope the government doesn’t claim that there are checks and balances in place to prevent mentally ill people being sent to jail, because it’s not true. Not only are the mentally impaired continuing to get caught up in our criminal justice system, there are many families and carers of mentally ill people living in a state of fear about how mandatory sentencing could affect people they care for and love. I hope the Barnett/Grylls government can put party politics aside and support these changes before more injustices occur,” Ms Xamon added.

For further comment contact Alison

Hon Alison Xamon MLC

Member for the East Metropolitan Region

Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051

Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931

Phone: (08) 9272 1718

Fax: (08) 9272 1719

Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services,Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering

MEDIA Greens move to introduce Container Deposit Legislation – 10c can change our recycling

Robin Chapple MLC

Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region

MEDIA RELEASE

Greens move to introduce Container Deposit Legislation – 10c can change our recycling

31 August 2011

Greens MLC Robin Chapple today gave notice in the Legislative Council of his intention to introduce legislation for a container deposit scheme. The scheme will put a 10c deposit on cans and bottles, to ensure that we maximise recycling.

“WA is the worst recycler in the country. The recent ABS report shows WA only diverts 28.2% of rubbish from landfill. Most other states are achieving over 40% diversion from landfill. The best performer is SA, who have had a container deposit scheme for 34 years, and this is reflected in their 66.3% recycling rates.

“Container deposit schemes are proven to increase recycling, reduce landfill, drastically reduce litter, and provide support for community organisations.

“South Australia and the Northern Territory have container deposit schemes.

Senator Scott Ludlam has legislation before the federal parliament – but the Federal government is very slow to move on this front. Greens MP Colleen Hartland has a bill progressing through the Victorian parliament.

“The community is calling for this across the country. Here in WA – the current legislation provides for the Minister to implement a scheme through regulation – but they simply aren’t doing it. So I’m moving to put it into law,” concluded Mr Chapple.

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255

Kate Davis

Research Officer

Office of Robin Chapple MLC

Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region

PO Box 94, West Perth WA 6872

Direct line (08) 9486 9965 | Fax (08) 9486 8355 | Email kate.davis |

www.robinchapple.com

Western Australia heritage sold out to resource mates – Kimberley must not be surrendered for short term greed – Greens

31 August 2011

Kimberley must not be surrendered for short term greed

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on the Kimberley says heritage listing announcement for the West Kimberley demonstrates why the area must not be given up to the short term greed of the resource boom.

“The heritage listing of such a large and significant area is a positive step and highlights the incredibly high conservation value of this region,” Senator Siewert said today.

“I reject comments that refer to heritage listing in the same breath as red tape and bureaucracy. Heritage listing is essential for ensuring important areas are treated with the care they deserve.

“It is good to see dinosaur tracks near James Price Point included but there is a wider disappointment with the whole heritage process that the James Price Point site was not considered.

“It is unfortunate that today’s announcement does nothing to protect the Kimberley from the construction of the proposed LNG factory at James Price Point.

“However as a result of this listing, those companies with views to mining and industrialisation of other parts of this region will need to give serious thoughts to the impact of their activities.

“The wider issues surrounding the James Price Point development are not going to disappear. The high level of concerns about the social and environmental impact of the project, the Native Title process undertaken and the longer term implications for the Kimberley must all still be dealt with.

“This heritage listing is further proof of the value of this region and the need to ensure it is not jeopardised by mindless development for the sake of a short term profit.

“The Kimberley deserves a long term, sustainable vision,” Senator Siewert concluded.

Media Enquiries – Chris Redman on 0418 401 180

Chris Redman

Media Advisor

Senator Rachel Siewert

Australian Greens Senator for WA

M: 0418 401 180 | P: 08 9228 3277 | greensmps.org.au

Australian ‘leaders’ want to be your Judge & Jury, did you vote for that? Fwd: Never Again

In the last 48 hours, David Hicks has given his first television interviews. As the nation focuses on his story, let’s ensure Australia is never again complicit in torture. Click here to email your MP to ask the Government to launch an inquiry into the torture and mistreatment of Australians in Guantanamo Bay.

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Dear tony,

Australians are owed an explanation.

Recently David Hicks revealed that he was tortured while he was held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay over a period of five years – claims that are supported not only by his military lawyer Major Mori, but also by Brandon Neely, a former guard at Guantanamo Bay. How did our government allow this to happen?

Regardless of any personal opinion of David Hicks, there are some basic truths we can all agree on:

1) Torture is wrong and claims an Australian citizen has been tortured must be investigated.

2) If Australian officials are complicit in torture they must be held to account.

3) This must never happen again.

Five years ago, GetUp members fought to bring David Hicks home – not because we believed in his guilt or innocence, but because we believed in the standards of a free and fair society: including the right to a fair trial, freedom from torture and the principle of innocence until proven guilty. Five years later, we are still owed an explanation. Can you email your MP and ask the Government to find out what really happened, so we can ensure this never happens again?

http://www.getup.org.au/neveragain

Alexander Downer, Australia’s Foreign Minister at the time, recently said, “This guy was convicted in a court duly established by the US Congress, signed off by the President of the United States – and he was convicted, on his own evidence. He confessed his guilt.” But the reality is, it’s not that simple. The military commission that convicted David Hicks was later disbanded by President Obama for lack of legal legitimacy. The crime he was convicted of didn’t even exist when he was captured in Afghanistan. And David Hicks wrote in a recently-published letter to his father, “Know that if I make a deal, it will be against my will. I just couldn’t hold out any longer.”

An Australian was imprisoned for five years – without a fair trial, and allegedly tortured. This is not just about what happened in Afghanistan or Guantanamo, but what happened inside Canberra to allow this. Let’s demand the whole truth, finally.

Allegations in the David Hicks interviews raise a number of questions: were Australian officials aware that an Australian citizen was allegedly being tortured? If so, when did they find out, and what did they do about it? Is it true that the United States would have released David Hicks earlier, but the Howard Government required a conviction for political reasons? Why didn’t the Australian Government secure David Hicks’ transfer from Guantanamo Bay much sooner, as other countries did for their citizens?

As GetUp members said five years ago, no Australian should have to bargain with their liberty because their basic human rights have been abandoned. David Hicks’ story will once again fade from the headlines, but as citizens, it’s our right to find out the whole truth, and ensure this never happens again.

Thanks for all that you do,

The GetUp team

PS – In 2003, then Shadow Attorney General Robert McClelland said that the Howard Government should investigate allegations of the torture of Australian citizens in Guantanamo Bay. Now he’s resisting calls for him to do the same. Our local MPs have the power to pressure the Attorney General to live up to his words – but they’ll only do it at your request: http://www.getup.org.au/neveragain

WA can do without Rio Tinto’s nuclear hallucinations

WA can do without Rio Tinto’s nuclear hallucinations

Media Release: Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, Tuesday August 30th, 2011

Rio Tinto’s embarrassing foray into Western Australian energy policy is a striking example of why mining companies should stay out of politics, say the Australian Greens.

“A uranium mining company advocates nuclear power – hold the front page,” Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said today. "This is commercial self-interest masquerading as energy policy.”

“Even the State Government recognises that the Western Australian electricity market is too small for nuclear generators, and Rio Tinto is silent on the real-world consequences of bringing nuclear energy to WA.

“Those calling for nuclear power ignore the reality of what is happening around the world: every year for the last 15 years the growth in renewable energy’s capacity has outstripped the growth in nuclear capacity, and last year investment in renewable energy over-took investment in nuclear and fossil-fuelled energy combined.

“Because Rio Tinto doesn’t own the sun, there’s an institutional blindness to any form of energy generation that doesn’t involve digging something up, selling it and burning it. History is moving on and so should Rio Tinto.

“In the United States of America – the world’s largest economy – the share of renewables in new capacity additions boomed from two percent in 2004 to 55 percent in 2009, with no new nuclear capacity whatsoever added in that time.

"Forget nuclear. We’re now in the century of renewable energy."

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302