Greens hope for two more seats in Senate

THE Greens will make a bid for votes today at their campaign launch, saying they are the only party offering stable leadership and a vision for the future.Leader Bob Brown will also warn that the Coalition needs to pick up only one more Senate spot to have the power to block legislation in its own right.”The electoral ogre waiting in the wings is like the Senate in 2004 when [former prime minister] John Howard gained control,” Senator Brown said. ”No one listened to me then. If there was a push to Tony Abbott [on August 21] and he picked up one more extra seat he would have control.”If the Coalition gained one more seat in the Senate it would have 38 – out of 76 – spots. That would mean it could block legislation because tied votes are resolved in the negative.The Greens’s campaign launch will be held in Canberra and comes at the start of the third week of campaigning.Labor will not launch its campaign for another two weeks and the Coalition is likely to wait at least another week as well.The Greens are confident both the Senators that are up for re-election – Christine Milne and Rachel Siewert – will be returned.In addition they are hopeful of at least another two Senators being elected to their ranks.Senator Brown said disillusionment with Labor and the Coalition would play to the Greens’ advantage.”People are very undecided,” he said.”There’s a lack of real choice but there’s also no vision.”It’s no good saying you’re moving forward if you can’t say where you’re moving forward to.”At today’s launch the Greens will renew their bid for a high-speed rail link between major capital cities.They want a one-year, $10 million feasibility study to be commissioned to examine the proposal and will release a Galaxy poll showing that 74 per cent of people are in favour of the project.The Greens will also announce plans to push for more marine reserves, saying 30 per cent of Australia’s ocean waters should be protected from fishing and resource extraction and exploration.This puts them in direct contrast with the Coalition which said last week it would stop the government’s work on expanding marine parks.The third announcement to be made at the launch will be pitched at carers and will push for the Fair Work Act to be amended so carers are given the right to request flexible work arrangements.At the moment only parents of preschool-age children and carers of children with disabilities are covered but the Greens want to include parents caring for adult children with disabilities and people caring for elderly parents.
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