Looking back on 2016

The NSW Parliament has finished sitting for the year — and what a shameful display by the Liberal/National Baird Government it has been!

By NSW Greens MPs
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In the last fortnight alone, Premier Baird and his cronies have rammed through changes that will undermine ICAC, the body that holds corrupt politicians and their mates to account; they have weakened laws that protect our environment and biodiversity, to allow increased land clearing; they have put our crown lands at risk of sell-off and overdevelopment; and they have introduced cruel shark nets in to our oceans.

This follows a year where laws have passed that can send protestors to jail for seven years, our elected local councillors have been sacked and replaced by government appointed administrators, and we’ve seen a shameful backflip on the ban on greyhound racing in NSW.

While the laws that passed were bad, as Greens MPs we successfully amended the laws to protect commons across NSW, and made sure that the views of so many that the Baird Liberal/National Government ignores were heard.

As community representatives we are committed to bringing the issues we all care about to the parliament.

That’s why we moved motions to commit to a principle of keeping kids out of jail, to defend multiculturalism, to acknowledge the Transgender Day of Remembrance, to support the right to strike, and to extend the timetable for implementation of a new HSC English Syllabus to ease pressure on teachers and students.

We introduced legislation to ban new coal mines in NSW and to end the use of single-use plastic bags in retail outlets, and we took the Greens’ framework for real action on climate change — the Climate Change Bill 2016 — to the Legislative Assembly. We also sought to strengthen whistleblower laws and ban donations from mining companies.

We know the way we achieve change is not in our parliaments alone, but through community action, working together.

Right now in Sydney, on the south end of King St, Newtown, there is a 24/7 community camp set up to protect the award-winning Sydney Park from the destruction of the WestConnex, a $16.8 billion tollroad that will pump traffic and pollution into residential communities across Sydney. The camp has been in place for more than two months — and has successfully stopped the felling of decades-old paperbark trees.

In a show of solidarity and support for the nonviolent direct action being taken by community members opposed to this disaster of a project, all Greens MPs moved motions condemning the devastating impacts that the polluting tollroad will have on all of us. We know that WestConnex will not solve Sydney’s congestion problem or deliver much needed transport solutions for Western Sydney. We know it will be a financial blackhole and contribute to dangerous climate change. 

You can watch our collective actions against WestConnex in the Parliament.

Despite the attempts by the NSW Government to destroy so much, and the compromised opposition from Labor (we still can’t believe the disgusting role they played in pressuring Baird to backflip on the greyhounds ban!), we will not give up.

With your support, we will continue to do all that we can to protect our environment and our communities — for current and future generations and the future of our planet.

NSW State Greens MPs Tamara Smith, Mehreen Faruqi, Justin Field, Jeremy Buckingham, Jenny Leong, Jan Barham, Jamie Parker, and David Shoebridge