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Give Parents Choice on Ethics Classes

Today we called on the Liberal Government to stop pushing religious education onto our kids and to make parents aware of all alternative options available, including ethics classes.   

Terra Nullius lives on as the Supreme Court finds against Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Media release24 August 2015 Local Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP, and Greens NSW spokesperson for Aboriginal Justice, David Shoebridge, are calling on all levels of government to step up and ensure Aboriginal housing is funded on The Block. This follows the decision of the NSW Supreme Court which ruled against the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy, finding the Embassy was “trespassing” on Aboriginal land at The Block. Greens NSW MP and Spokesperson for Aboriginal Justice David Shoebridge said: “Jenny Munro, a proud Aboriginal Waradjuri elder  and the Tent Embassy have been engaging in good faith negotiations with the Federal Minister and the Aboriginal Housing Corporation (AHC), and believed they had reached a final agreement last week on Aboriginal housing in The Block.   “Ms Munro made it clear to the Court that she does not accept that the Aboriginal people ever ceded sovereignty of this land to the English crown. In response the Court held: The Defendant’s aboriginality, and her contention that the Aboriginal people have never ceded sovereignty to the English Crown does not help her.  “The fact that the law can so readily dismiss our first people’s prior occupation and custodianship of this land is proof positive of a fundamental flaw in our legal system. “When it comes to symbolic Aboriginal land like The Block, Aboriginality and more than 40,000 years of Aboriginal custody and possession, should never be dismissed so lightly by our Courts. “This is far from the end of the struggle for Aboriginal housing on The Block, which is supported by a cross section of the Redfern community,” Mr Shoebridge said. Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong said: “This community – and the significance of maintaining Aboriginal housing and community on Gadigal country in Redfern is too important to be ignored.” “Our neighbourhood is awash with plans to develop and invest in infrastructure projects – with billions for Urban Growth’s development of the Central to Eveleigh site and constant construction by the University of Sydney. And yet there is no money for Aboriginal housing. “Successive governments have been a part of creating this mess – it’s time for them to step up and help resolve it.  “While it may seem that there is currently an unresolvable conflict – in reality all parties agree that we need to see the funding secured to build Aboriginal housing,” Ms Leong said.     Background The Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy were established on ‘The Block’ on National Sorry Day last year, May 26, after the Aboriginal Housing Company put forward a planning proposal for a $70 million commercial development on the site. The Block in Redfern was one of the first parts of urban Australia to be formally returned to Aboriginal people.

Community Recognition: One Sydney Fundraising Event

Today we acknowledged the amazing collaborative efforts of The Equal Project, Create or Die art gallery in Marrickville, and Art Party for their work in organising the One Sydney event, which was held last weekend in support of the Asylum Seekers Centre.  

Government Blocks Transparency on WestConnex

Today the NSW Legislative Assembly debated a motion to stop all activity on the WestConnex project until the Business Case and the Environmental Impact Statements are released. The Government blocked this attempt to introduce some transparency into the project. “Today the Baird Government refused to act in the interest of good governance or financial accountability. This Government is going to great lengths to stop any public scrutiny on this $15.4 billion dollar project,” said the Greens MP for Newtown and Spokesperson on WestConnex. Thirty community activists attended the debate and demonstrated the community opposition to the WestConnex project.   Community Activists join Jenny Leong and Jamie Parker outside Parliament House

WestConnex EIS periods must be extended

During Question Time on Thursday 6 August 2015, the Greens MP for Newtown and Spokesperson for WestConnex Jenny Leong called on Minister for Planning Rob Stokes to extend the WestConnex Environmental Impact Statement exhibition periods to no less than 60 days. She asked a Question without Notice to the Minister for Planning. It read: Given the size and scale of the WestConnex project, as well as the high level of public interest, will the Minister give a commitment to the community that the exhibition period for all future Environmental Impact Statements related to WestConnex will be no less than 60 days?  

Newtown Vibe Worth Protecting

This opinion piece by Jenny Leong appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on August 5th 2015.   Some of my first experiences of Sydney, as a newly arrived teenager from Adelaide, came in the early hours of the morning. As a waiter in Circular Quay, our nights out began when others were starting to wind down. Dancing in the Cross, playing pool at the Oxford, walking out of the Imperial to see the sunrise over Erskineville - these are all part of why I love this city. These days my late-night struggle for a cab tends to start after long parliamentary sittings rather than nights out. But I love the late-night culture of Sydney, and Newtown in particular. I don't want to shut it down and lock it up. That said, it must be acknowledged that the "vibe" in Newtown is changing. It's clear the law and order response that imposed lockouts on Kings Cross has had a significant impact on the area and on Sydney's nightlife.

Question to the Planning Minister: Commit to 60 Day Feedback Period for Westconnex EIS

Today I asked whether the Planning Minister will give a commitment that the exhibition periods for all future environmental impact statements related to WestConnex will be not less than 60 days?  

Community Recognition: NAIDOC Week

Today we acknowledged the fantastic National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee [NAIDOC] celebrations that were held in the Newtown electorate.  

Tribute to Adam Goodes

The Greens stand in solidarity and support of Adam Goodes. We add our voice to more than 150 organisations and major newspaper outlets in a growing community response to say that the appalling treatment of Adam Goodes is not ok.   

WestConnex Threatens Endangered Species' Habitat

Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong and Senator Larissa Waters are calling for the Department of Environment to protect Green and Golden Bell Frog habitats from WestConnex. A Roads and Maritime Services NSW (RMS) referral of proposed action to the Federal Department of Environment seeks to gain permission to use a significant portion of Kogarah Golf Club in Arncliffe for construction and tunneling for at least three years, despite including the habitat of a threatened species.

Alexandria Hotel DA Submission

The City of Sydney has listed the Development Application to demolish the Alexandria Hotel as 'deemed refused'. We understand that the developer is appealing to the Land and Environment Court. You can read our submission to the council here. Local activists with the Alexandria Residents Action Group and other community organisations are pushing for the Alexandria Hotel to be protected with an Interim Heritage Order. We will keep you updated with any new information.

Alice St Developer must respect council and community

Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong has criticised developer El Maha for their complete lack of respect for the local community and council when it comes to the proposed development at Alice St Newtown. “The arrogance and lack of regard for the community which is being exhibited by this developer is staggering,” Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong said.

Meeting at Marrickville Council on Alice St Development

Last Monday I met with Marrickville Councillor Victor Macri and a staff representative from the council to discuss the Alice St development and community opposition to the development. Councillor Macri went through the DA process in detail from the Council's perspective. As we know, the DA to increase the height of the Alice St development to seven stories is now in front of the Land and Environment Court. Councillor Macri made assurances that the Council will do everything they can as part of that process to represent the interest of the community.

An Open Letter on transphobia

An Open Letter on transphobia, violence against transgender people and discrimination in our laws From Jenny Leong MP with a contribution from Anna   Dear friend,   I am writing because I want you to know that any form of transphobia, violence against transgender people or discrimination against the transgender community in our laws disgusts and angers me. It is unacceptable and something that I am committed to working with you to eliminate.   While the tragic issue of transphobia and violence faced by transgender people, particularly transgender women, in our community is not new – it has been getting a lot more media coverage of late.   I felt the seriousness of this situation would not be helped by me politicising the issue in the media. As such, I purposely chose to not put out public statements nor insert myself into the centre of specific incidents as I didn’t – and still don’t - want this to become all about me. Nor do I feel comfortable making comments about specific incidents without having the consent of those involved.   I now realise that it’s possible that this approach has meant that some in the community feel that I am ignoring the situation or not taking it seriously – and to those people who have felt that way I am sorry. I wish to reassure you that I am taking it seriously – and that I and the Greens stand with you in your struggle for equal treatment under the law and the ability to live in the community free from violence.   That said, I still don’t think it should be me at the centre of this, so I wanted to use my position to share with you some thoughts from Anna – an young woman and activist who I spoke to earlier today and provided me with the advice and guidance that resulted in this letter. For me Transphobia and transmisogyny are everyday parts of my life, but this shouldn’t be so. The only way for the community to move beyond attacking, harassing and abusing transgender people is if the discriminatory laws against transgender people are removed, if Parliament took us and our well being seriously, if we were given platforms like this one that Jenny has given me so that we may speak, have our voices heard and hopefully that will help combat transphobic violence and transmisogyny. I have been the victim of transphobic hate, and transmisogyny from members of the public and the police, I’ve been threatened, called all sorts of horrible things, I’ve been spat at, I’ve been given move on orders when I’ve tried to use the toilet that aligns with my gender. Transphobia isn’t just happening in Newtown which has usually been a safe haven for people like me, it happens on the trains, in toilets, on buses, in shops, in pubs, in parks and many other places.  The only way that we can change this is by engaging the public, by campaigning, by having MPs by our side and fighting for legal equality in Parliament and most of all by saying enough, this cannot go on any more.   It is for these reasons that we must continue to work towards equality and an end to discrimination in our laws – because it has a real impact, a dangerous and threatening impact on people’s lives.   On a more personal and specific note, I want to let you know that I have been in contact with Stephanie McCarthy who was violently attacked at the Town Hall Hotel in Newtown and suffered increased injustice and violence at the court hearing of her attackers yesterday. Stephanie gave me permission to mention that we had spoken and were in touch in this letter. For the record, let me make it clear that it is unacceptable that Stephanie was attacked in the way that she was – and it is even more outrageous that she suffered further abuse during the court hearing yesterday. I am so sorry at the violence and injustice that Stephanie has suffered and have offered to do whatever we can to assist her.   Finally, let me say that this is the phone number of our office 9517 2800 – and our email is If you have concerns that you wish to raise with me – or issues that we can assist with – or frustrations about what we are doing please don’t ever hesitate to get in touch.   Being a Member of Parliament is something that I am new to – so I encourage you to provide me with feedback and input on ensuring I do it in a way that meets your needs and expectations.   In return, I can commit to you that I will strive to be open and honest in my dealings with you, always willing to apologise and will listen to your advice if you think I could do things another way – and above all to work tirelessly every day to end discrimination and injustice.   Thank you to Anna, Stephanie, Teddy and the others in the community for talking with me and being a part of shaping this response.   Yours sincerely,   Jenny Leong MP Member for Newtown NSW Greens Sexuality and Gender Spokesperson          

New Sydney rent data shows action needed

New data regarding rent prices in Sydney is alarming and requires serious action by the state government to protect renters in Sydney, according to Jenny Leong MP, The Greens NSW Rental Housing spokesperson and Member for Newtown. Article from page 2-3 of today's SMH.

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