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March 04 2014

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, today asked the Prime Minister if he shares Tasmanian Opposition leader Will Hodgman’s opposition to the super trawler and if he would rule out allowing such vessels in Australian waters.

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott said “it [the super trawler] was banned, it will stay banned”. The full answer is available at: http://www.andrewwilkie.org/content/index.php/awmp/home_news_extended/ abbott_confirms_super_trawler_will_stay_banned.

“The Prime Minister’s unambiguous statement in the Parliament today that the super trawler is banned, and will stay banned, is a real breakthrough”, Mr Wilkie said.

“Since the federal election some six months ago the Liberal Party has shown itself to be open to the possibility of allowing the super trawler into Australian waters after the two year ban expires in November.

“The Prime Minister’s answer unambiguously quashes that possibility and should hearten the great many Australians, and Tasmanians in particular, who understand the extreme environmental and economic damage these factory ships have done elsewhere in the world.

“Today’s announcement relies on the Prime Minister keeping his word. Those of us who oppose the super trawler would be wise to keep the pressure on the Federal Government on this issue and to ensure it well understands the backlash that will await it at the next election if it reneges on today’s very important commitment.”

February 24 2014

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has introduced into the Federal Parliament the Live Animal Export Prohibition (Ending Cruelty) Bill 2014.

The Bill would put an end to live animal exports from Australia from 1 July 2017 and put in place improved animal welfare safeguards in the interim. 

This is Mr Wilkie’s fourth legislative attempt to restrict live exports but up until now the Liberal and Labor parties have insisted on supporting the cruel trade.

``The only explanation is the major parties simply don’t care that the trade is systematically cruel, not in Australia’s economic self-interest and that the trade lacks public support,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

``It seems each week shocking new evidence of cruelty emerges from Australia’s live export industry.  It’s beyond time to act to end the cruelty.’’

To watch proceedings live please visit http://www.aph.gov.au/News_and_Events/Watch_Parliament

February 21 2014

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will join Glenorchy Alderman Kristie Johnston to preview a massive letterbox blitz to pressure the major parties to restore passenger rail. More than 20,000 leaflets are being distributed in Hobart’s northern suburbs.

``The Labor and Liberal parties have been all talk when it comes to restoring passenger rail in the greater Hobart area,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

``Before the 2010 state election their candidates promised the world; but since then they’ve delivered nothing except more reviews and glossy promises in the media.

``This campaign will put the pressure on Lara Giddings and Will Hodgman to finally act, starting with an iron-clad commitment to deliver if elected Premier on 15 March.’’

Alderman Kristie Johnston has been campaigning for 10 years for the Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway. She and her husband Ben founded the Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group which, with Andrew Wilkie’s support, is seeking a commitment from Lara Giddings and Will Hodgman to restore passenger rail (not just talk about it) if they are elected Premier at next month’s state election.

Restoring passenger rail will be a catalyst for economic development and urban renewal. It would feature modern electric rail vehicles on the existing rail corridor between Hobart, Glenorchy and Bridgewater. Travel time between Bridgewater and Hobart would be less than 30 minutes.

Please find attached a copy of the leaflet that will be distributed from today to 20,400 postal addresses in the northern suburbs.


February 18 2014

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, discussed the crisis engulfing Australia’s irregular immigration policy.

“The Abbott Government’s response to asylum seekers is madness,” Mr Wilkie said.

“Refusing to take in people claiming to flee other countries for their lives is cruel and entirely at odds with Australia’s legal obligation as a signatory to the Refugee Convention.

“Towing boats back to Indonesia, and even supplying new boats for the journey, is an especially gross abuse of our obligations as a rich and civilised country.

“Moreover breaching Indonesian sovereignty is just the sort of recklessness that causes accidents and even armed conflict.

“And now we have the news that the situation on Manus Island in PNG has degenerated into widespread violence, mass casualties and at least one death.

“The Abbott Government wants to keep all this secret, but the secret’s out and the Government should be ashamed of itself for doing this in our name.”

February 13 2014

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, joined his parliamentary colleagues to discuss a Bill for the establishment of an Australia Fund.

“Australia continues to experience crises ranging from natural disasters, such as bushfires, to the withdrawal of major employers like Holden and Toyota,” Mr Wilkie said.

“Inevitably governments respond to such episodes on an ad hoc basis, when what is really needed is a systemic solution like a standing fund.

“The Bill being co-sponsored by members from all sides of politics would set up a parliamentary committee to examine whether a special fund to assist with these crises would be a better system to help businesses and communities.

“It’s clear that the current ad hoc response to crises cannot adequately support manufacturing and jobs when big foreign-owned corporations are inclined to leave Australia.

“Just as clear is that those in flood, drought or bushfire affected areas need more and more certain support than they currently receive.

“We owe it to the Australian people to at least investigate alternative ways to support communities in times of crisis.”

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