Decision Maker

Samantha Ratnam

  • Leader of the Victorian Greens

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Petitioning Daniel Andrews, James Merlino, Jenny Mikakos, Hon. Dan Tehan MP, Luke Donnellan, Tim Richardson, Harriet Shing, Sam Hibbins, Cindy McLeish, Bernie Finn, Tim Bull, Samantha Ratnam, Brett Sutton, Cor...

Urgent need for special schools to be afforded equal health rights as mainstream schools

As special needs educators, we have always instilled in our students that they have a voice and have the same rights as others in their community.  When Covid-19 hit Melbourne, Victoria in a bigger and stronger wave than the first, and stage 3 restrictions were reinstated, we watched the press conference headed by the HON Daniel Andrews, announcing the changes to term three schooling. Our expectation was that specialist settings would not be treated any differently to other educators and students in Melbourne, Victoria. To our disbelief, this was not the case. The HON Daniel Andrews announced that while mainstream students prep- 10 would be given a one week holiday extension, and staff would return for five days of pupil free planning days, before a possible return to remote learning, special education settings would return to school as normal.  All teachers regardless of their setting, teach to achieve equity through education. The health and safety of our students is paramount to them achieving this, as is the health and safety of the staff entrusted to deliver this education.   This decision to return special education students to school regardless of Covid-19 and regardless of their right to a safe education, will have a detrimental effect on students who are already vulnerable in so many ways.  We ask that you sign this petition to let the HON Daniel Andrews, James Merlino, Meredith Peace and any other bystander know, that the lives of students living with a disability matter, that their health and safety matters, and that so do that of the staff who support them. We ask that they protect us in the same way they are willing to protect mainstream staff and students, therefore, keeping them home in the first week of term 3, 2020. We also ask that any health and safety decisions made about mainstream students in the future, also be afforded to special needs students. Please sign to show your support for the health rights of special needs students in Melbourne.  

Concerned Special Education Staff Melbourne Victoria
6,143 supporters
Petitioning Samantha Ratnam

Free Montfort Park!

If you live in Brunswick, you may have noticed the fenced-off, concreted unused lot at the corner of Henkel St and Wendel St. It is a piece of land called “Montfort Park.” It was publicly accessible space that was enjoyed by the local community until 2003 when it, together with the adjacent community centre, was sold off by Moreland Council to the Dar al-Awda Community Centre. We arrived in Henkel Street after this took place. But from what we have been able to gather—from Council records and from news reports at the time—the sale was highly controversial. You can still read the faded graffiti on the wall that backs on to Montfort Park: “Council Betrayal: Our Land Sold Off.” In total there were 2,098 submissions to Council before the sale took place. Of these, 2,095 submissions were against the sale. Only three were in favour. There were significant public protests at the time. It appears to us that there was a clear conflict of interest surrounding the sale. The President of the Dar al-Awda Community Group was also a former Mayor of Moreland Council and a Moreland Councillor at the time of the sale. The land was sold for $100,000, which was only 19% of the land’s assessed value.  Perhaps because of the strength of sentiment against the sale, conditions were placed on the use of the land. The Dar al-Awda Centre is required to make this space reasonably accessible to the community—to the people who live here. We do not believe it is currently meeting this requirement. We think selling this park was manifestly wrong at the time, and remains wrong today. We also believe that this space is not reasonably accessible to local residents, as is required. What could have been a green public space at the end of our street is instead a fenced, unused concrete slab. We believe it’s not too late to free Montfort Park. With the coming Council election to be held on 22 October, we think there is an opportunity to lobby candidates to commit to returning Montfort Park to the community. What does this mean? We think:• The locked gate to needs to be unlocked immediately; and• The three metre fence needs to be removed within a reasonable timeframe; and• If these requests for reasonable access are refused, the Council should exercise its right to buy back the land, in accordance with the terms of the contract of sale, for 19 percent of its current market value. If you are interested in seeing Montfort Park returned to the community, please consider doing the following: 1. Signing this petition. This will let Moreland Council, current councillors, and candidates in the upcoming elections know that this in an issue the community cares about. 2. Liking our Facebook page here: Contacting election candidates. In the lead up to the forthcoming Moreland Council elections, contact candidates over the phone, in person, via email or social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) and ask them to commit to returning Montfort Park to the community. 4. ​Chaining yourself to the fence (just kidding) If you lived here at the time and you know anything about the sale or the campaign against it, we’d love to hear from you, please get in touch via Facebook. At the moment, Montfort Park is an empty and unused piece of concrete, locked behind steel gates three metres high.  If Montfort Park is again made accessible to the community, it will provide a public space for local community members--including local residents and employees of local businesses, adults and children--to meet, play, and enjoy. Free Montfort Park!

The Free Montfort Park Campaign
490 supporters

Thank you for signing this petition to ‘Ban the Whip’. It is an important step on getting our governments to act. Like you I can’t believe that deliberate cruelty to animals for sport, like allowing whipping, is still acceptable. The Victorian Greens have long advocated against cruelty to animals. We believe that the way we treat our animals reflects who we are. We’ve seen in recent media reports that racehorses are being subjected to unacceptable, inhumane and intolerable cruelty. Thousands of horses are being killed in knackeries and abattoirs and being subjected electric shocks and lashings. The lashings in particular are no secret, and don’t only take place behind closed doors. Each year we see jockeys whip racehorses as they compete in the Melbourne Cup and the other hundreds of races that take place around Australia. Behind the glossy façade of the festivities lies a cruel and inhumane underbelly, that sees these poor horses forced to run around the racetrack while being viciously whipped by the jockeys riding them. That’s why last week I introduced a motion to ban the whip in Victoria. Our state and federal governments play a critical role in ending cruelty to racehorses by banning the whip and it's time they act. We know the racing industry has a history of cruelty to animals and yet both the state Labor Government and the federal Liberal Government want to absolve themselves of any guilt by pretending they have no power to stop it. But we know that they can end this cruel practice. That’s why this petition holds so much power. The 100,000+ people that have signed it so far are sending a clear message that they won’t tolerate horse whipping anymore and want to see the government act to ban it immediately. It’s 2019 – the use of the whip in horse racing is an outdated and unnecessary form of animal cruelty and should be banned in Victoria. The Victorian Greens will continue to advocate for the protection and safety of animals including an end to greyhound racing, jumps racing, rodeos, the use of animals in circuses and of course, the use of whips in horse racing. Thank you all again for signing this important petition.

2 years ago