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- Start of Business
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Abbott, Tony, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Leigh, Andrew, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Moylan, Judi, MP, Bowen, Chris, MP)
(Owens, Julie, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Bishop, Julie, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Perrett, Graham, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Kelly, Craig, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Murphy, John, MP, Combet, Greg, MP)
National Education Standards
(Pyne, Chris, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
Australian Securities Exchange
(Symon, Mike, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Turnbull, Malcolm, MP, Albanese, Anthony, MP)
(Hall, Jill, MP, Roxon, Nicola, MP)
(Hartsuyker, Luke, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Mitchell, Rob, MP, Crean, Simon, MP)
(Windsor, Antony, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
Australia-United States Relationship
(Brodtmann, Gai, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Tudge, Alan, MP, Albanese, Anthony, MP)
(Melham, Daryl, MP, Smith, Stephen, MP)
(Pyne, Chris, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
Research and Innovation
(Georganas, Steve, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
SUPERANNUATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2010
INTERNATIONAL TAX AGREEMENTS AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 2) 2010
PROTECTION OF THE SEA LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- NATIONAL MEASUREMENT AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- SERVICE AND EXECUTION OF PROCESS AMENDMENT (INTERSTATE FINE ENFORCEMENT) BILL 2010
- WATER EFFICIENCY LABELLING AND STANDARDS AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- CORPORATIONS AMENDMENT (NO. 1) BILL 2010
- DEFENCE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (SECURITY OF DEFENCE PREMISES) BILL 2010
- FISHERIES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 2) 2010
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S SPEECH
- NATIONAL HEALTH AND HOSPITALS NETWORK BILL 2010
SOCIAL SECURITY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (CONNECTING PEOPLE WITH JOBS) BILL 2010
THERAPEUTIC GOODS AMENDMENT (2010 MEASURES NO. 1) BILL 2010
VETERANS’ AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (WEEKLY PAYMENTS) BILL 2010
- Mitchell Electorate: Road Funding
Holt Electorate: Eumemmerring and Chalcot Lodge Primary Schools
RoboCup Junior Australia
- Mr Carlo Salteri
- Welfare Reforms
- Wright Electorate: Coal Seam Gas
- Cunningham Electorate: Broadband
- Murray-Darling Basin
- Kingston Electorate: Roads
- Brisbane Electorate: Achievement Awards
- Robertson Electorate: Arts Community
- Franchise Sector
- McEwen Electorate: Lancefield
- Start of Business
- Brisbane Electorate: Home Insulation Program
- Fraser Electorate: West Belconnen Health Cooperative
- Murray Electorate: Mome Insulation Program
- Canberra Electorate: St Mary of the Cross
- Casey Electorate: Active After-school Communities Program
- Hindmarsh Electorate: Employment Conditions
- Cowan Electorate: St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School
- Lingiari Electorate: Uluru-Kata Juta
- Higgins Electorate: Education
- Deakin Electorate: Local Sporting Champions Grants
- AUTONOMOUS SANCTIONS BILL 2010
- Danby, Michael, MP
- Briggs, Jamie, MP
- Gibbons, Steve, MP
- Morrison, Scott, MP
- Perrett, Graham, MP
- Macfarlane, Ian, MP
- Leigh, Andrew, MP
- Neumann, Shayne, MP
- Fletcher, Paul, MP
- Burke, Anna, MP
- Bishop, Bronwyn, MP
- Owens, Julie, MP
- Washer, Dr Mal, MP
- Hayes, Chris, MP
- Prentice, Jane, MP
- Thomson, Kelvin, MP
- Baldwin, Robert, MP
- Saffin, Janelle, MP
- Schultz, Alby, MP
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Mr KELVIN THOMSON (4:43 PM) —The Autonomous Sanctions Bill 2010 provides a framework for the implementation in Australia of autonomous sanctions. Autonomous sanctions are punitive measures not involving the use of armed force which a government imposes as a matter of foreign policy, as opposed to an international obligation under a United Nations Security Council decision in situations of international concern. Such situations include the grave repression of the human rights or democratic freedoms of a population by a government or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery, or internal or international armed conflict. The purpose of the bill we are debating is to strengthen Australia’s autonomous sanctions regime by allowing greater flexibility in the range of measures it can implement, thus ensuring Australia’s autonomous sanctions match the scope and extent of measures implemented by like-minded countries.
The bill before the House will assist the administration of, and compliance with, sanctions measures by removing distinctions between the scope and extent of autonomous sanctions and United Nations sanction laws. The bill is modelled on the legislation with which Australia implements United Nations Security Council sanctions, the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945, and is intended to be a framework under which regulations are made. Each set of regulations would contain the specific measures to be imposed in response to a particular situation of international concerns.
Autonomous sanctions, either supplementary to or independent of United Nations Security Council sanctions, are likely to play an increasing part in responses of like-minded countries to situations of international concern. Autonomous sanctions measures are intended to achieve three objectives: to limit the adverse consequences of a situation of international concern—for example, by denying access to military or paramilitary goods—to seek to influence those responsible for giving rise to a situation of concern to modify their behaviour to remove the concern; and to penalise those responsible—for example, by denying access to international travel or to the international financial system. They are highly targeted measures, applied only to the specific governments, individuals or entities, in the form of targeted financial sanctions and travel bans, or to the specific goods and services, such as military goods or goods with a weapons of mass destruction dual use, that are responsible for, or have a nexus to, the situation of international concern. They are applied so as to minimise, to the extent possible, the impact on the general populations of the affected countries. I think it is important that in the national parliament we discuss issues of human rights, and this bill provides that opportunity.
In the area of human rights I would like to focus on two areas of concern: firstly, China, particularly its treatment of Tibet, and, secondly, Iran. I might say something about Burma if time permits. In November 2009 the Fifth World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet took place in Rome. It was attended by representatives of 30 parliaments around the world. The Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, of which I am a member—and Mr Deputy Speaker Slipper, I know you are also a member—was represented at the convention, which at the end adopted the Rome Declaration. This declaration defines the right of the Tibetan people to their own identity, culture and way of life; reaffirms a strong commitment to the people of Tibet and to the non-violent path they have chosen under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama; seeks a resolution for Tibet that guarantees genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the framework of the Constitution of the Peoples Republic of China; proclaims that the message is not anti Chinese but a statement of support for justice and truth with a sincere conviction that the Tibetan and Chinese peoples can find a way to coexist with mutual respect; and finds that, since 2005, the situation in Tibet has deteriorated due to the government of the Peoples Republic of China’s imposition of harsh measures on Tibetans and its harder line taken toward the Dalai Lama and his pursuit of autonomy.
The convention resolved to express support for substantive negotiations between the Chinese government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama towards a meaningful resolution of the Tibet issues with the memorandum on genuine autonomy as a realistic and constructive basis for such negotiations. It resolved to call on governments to urge the Peoples Republic of China to fully respect the Tibetan people’s fundamental human rights and freedoms and to commit to engage relevant governments and institutions to ensure that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is welcomed appropriately when meeting with various government leaders and officials. I fully support the Rome Declaration.
The result of the climate change talks in Copenhagen in December also had adverse implications for Tibet and the welfare of its people. The climate change issue is very significant for Tibet. Tibet contains the largest icefields outside of the Arctic and Antarctic and is sometimes referred to as earth’s ‘third pole’. Melting glaciers are threatening Tibetan villages and damaging a resource depended on by at least a billion people in Asia. The parliamentarians believe that, just as China is essential to successful implementation of global climate change solutions, Tibet is indispensable to China’s ability to implement them successfully. China has a lot of power in the modern world, but with power comes responsibility, and I believe China must exercise its new-found power responsibly and act as a good international citizen.
Amnesty International Report 2010: The State of the World’s Human Rights, has criticised China as responding to dissent and protest with unfair trials and death sentences. Although the statistics are clothed in secrecy, China is still the world’s leading executioner. Amnesty International has also previously documented a pattern of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees in Tibet by China’s security forces, especially those accused by the Chinese authorities of separatist activities. Moreover, China has long banned independent human rights monitors from Tibet. Amnesty International has in the past called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to urge the Chinese authorities to address Tibetans’ long-term grievances, including restrictions on religious practice; persecution for exercising their freedoms of expression, association and assembly; government policies that have weakened their culture and ethnic identity; and their perceived exclusion from the benefits of economic development. I think they are very important concerns.
Human rights abuses in Iran are also a source of great concern. After the presidential election last year in July, Amnesty International reported on the comments at the time by Irene Khan, Amnesty International Secretary General, and the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi. The report said:
“Three days ago, thousands of people in over 100 cities across the world joined in a Global Day of Action in protest at the numerous arrests, beatings and killings that have accompanied the Iranian authorities’ attempt to force through the declared election result, which is so widely disputed,” said Irene Khan.
… … …
Irene Khan and Shirin Ebadi cautioned that international attention and efforts must not fade, however intransigent the authorities in Tehran appear.
“People in Iran need international support now more than ever as the political divisions in Tehran play themselves out,” said Shirin Ebadi. “International attention and pressure must be sustained and intensified if it is to have impact on those calling the shots in Tehran.”
“In particular, the UN needs to play a more determined and decisive role,” said Irene Khan. “Through its human rights and other mechanisms, the UN must investigate the violations taking place in Iran and compile evidence that can be used, one day, to bring those responsible to account.”
Widespread arbitrary arrest of university students, women, former political prisoners and family members of Iranian dissidents living in Camp Ashraf, situated in Iraq, continues every day. The reports of human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and United Nations bodies about brutal repression by the regime and systematic use of violent torture against women and other political prisoners are shocking and abhorrent and must be strongly condemned by the international community. These things show the regime’s fear of its own people. We must work through the United Nations Security Council to encourage the necessary steps that will curtail the Iranian regime. I believe we should also support the Iranian opposition in Camp Ashraf in Iraq. They have been the pioneers of the struggle for human rights, democracy and equality for the past three decades in Iran, and that deadly and violent attack of the Iraqi armed forces against defenceless residents at this camp at the behest of the Iranian regime in late July 2009 is a major concern to the Iranian community here in Australia.
Just as worryingly, the Iranian regime has also been engaged in nuclear and ballistic missile activity. It has locked out the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose job it is to make sure countries producing nuclear power to generate electricity are not also trying to produce nuclear weapons. In November last year, the IAEA board of governors adopted a resolution which noted that Iran continued to defy relevant IAEA and UN Security Council resolutions; had constructed an enrichment facility ‘in breach of its obligation to suspend all enrichment related activities’ and had failed to notify the IAEA of the facility until September 2009; and had not implemented the additional protocol or cooperated with the IAEA in connection with remaining issues of concern. The board of governors also noted that the Director General continued to be unable to verify that Iran’s program is for exclusively peaceful purposes and called on Iran to fully comply with its obligations and engage with the agency.
In February this year, Iran announced that it had resumed uranium enrichment. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is seeking United Nations sanctions on Iran to force it to rein in its nuclear program. I support economic sanctions. They were successful in South Africa and helpful in Libya. I note reports that China, which is a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, has resisted pressure from the US and other members to back tougher penalties against Iran, apparently because Iran is China’s third largest source of crude oil. This is not good enough and I believe, as I have mentioned earlier, that China needs to be a responsible international citizen in its handling of nuclear nonproliferation, climate change and human rights issues. The international community should support moves within Iran towards democracy, human rights and women’s rights. It should not turn a blind eye to religious fundamentalism, regular abuses of human rights and barbaric practices such as public executions and moves to obtain nuclear weapons.
In February, Gareth Evans expressed support for financial sanctions against Iran. Such sanctions inhibit the flow of capital and hamper both trade financing and investment. Gareth Evans also called for targeted sanctions against key individuals, and I support such action. The issue of human rights violations around the world is a growing concern, and it is important that emerging powers respect human rights rather than seeking only an economic dividend or opportunistic political influence from their international relations.
In the time remaining to me, I want to make a few remarks about the situation in Burma as well, and I note that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has also done so. Burma is a country with a very poor track record in relation to human rights and human rights abuses. It has been said that Burma’s oil and gas industry is linked to human rights abuses. This has been said by the ILO—the International Labour Organisation—the UN special rapporteur on human rights abuses in Burma and the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma. There are Australian companies—certainly Australia’s Twinza Oil—currently doing exploration for oil and gas in Burma, and concern has been expressed to me that, should Twinza Oil’s project move forward, it is likely that this would be accompanied by a pipeline which will cause more Burmese soldiers to be deployed along the pipeline, resulting in increased human rights violations against villagers. It is also estimated that the project would earn something like US$2½ billion over its lifetime, money which would help fund Burma’s military dictatorship, one of the worst military regimes and violators of human rights in the world. At present there is nothing to stop Australian companies like Twinza Oil investing in Burma despite the severe negative impacts and direct links to human rights violations that these projects have. Targeted sanctions would stop companies like Twinza Oil profiting from the oppression of others. I believe that we need to do everything that we can to prevent human rights violations in Burma and to encourage that regime to move down a democratic and pluralist path. I believe that this is a good piece of legislation; it has my support and I commend the bill to the House.