Archive for: August 2015

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale Promises To Fight Educational Injustices

According to new Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, her college life was not easy. Born to a working-class family, she could not compete with privately-educated students during her time in Aberdeen University. She believed that social disadvantage “follows young people throughout their education”.

Pledging to “change the system” in her speech at Edinburgh College, she said:

“I first felt the unfairness of inequality when I moved from primary school in leafy Elgin to secondary school in urban Dundee.

“Expansive sports fields replaced by playground concrete. An average pupil in prosperous Elgin, I was suddenly near top of the class in my new secondary in Dundee.

“When I went to study law at Aberdeen University, I found the wheel had turned again and I was surrounded by privately-educated pupils whose backgrounds I couldn’t relate to and whose achievements I couldn’t compete with.

“They would spend holidays at their parents’ law firms, I would work preparing food containers for oil rigs.

“My family wasn’t rich but we weren’t in poverty either, and it just seemed wrong that advantage and disadvantage followed young people throughout their education.

“After university I worked as a welfare-rights adviser, helping disadvantaged students to get the support they need.

“The frustrating struggle to help my clients to work the system made me realise that what I really needed to do was to change the system.”

“Government, when it responds to what people need, working with them not just for them, can transform lives beyond recognition, and when government fails it can have a devastating impact on vulnerable lives.

“Above all it has reinforced my belief that the fortunate have a responsibility to use our power to help those who don’t have the same opportunities.

“And as a parliamentarian, the campaigns I have led with extraordinary men and women, like Debtbusters, made me angry at the injustices working-class people face but also inspired me as people came together to challenge power.”

Carmichael Coalmine Overturned By Federal Court

Due to disregard for conservation advice for two endangered species, a case is brought against environment minister Greg Hunt for approving the Carmichael Coalmine.

The court has ruled that the environment minister, Greg Hunt, had ignored his own department’s advice about the coal mine’s impact on the Yakka Skink and the Ornamental Snake, two of the most vulnerable snake species in Australia.

Adani, who intends to set up the Carmichael Coalmine, is yet to have enough financial backing for the new coalmine. The company recently reduced its workforce on the project because it lacked the legal authority to start building.

Principal Solicitor at the Environmental Defenders Office Sue Higginson said:

“This kind of error in the decision-making process is legally fatal to the minister’s decision.

“The conservation advices were approved by the minister in April last year, and describe the threats to the survival of these threatened species, which are found only in Queensland,” she said.

“The law requires that the minister consider these conservation advices so that he understands the impacts of the decision that he is making on matters of national environmental significance, in this case the threatened species.”

“We now call on minister Hunt to see sense, honour his obligations, and take the opportunity he has been handed by the federal court to reject this disastrous project once and for all.”