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Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Page: 2113

Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (3:56 PM) —Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Leave is granted for two minutes.

Honourable senators interjecting—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! I remind senators that Senator Brown has the call.

Senator BOB BROWN —Thank you, Mr Deputy President. The Greens will support this motion because it is seeking information that the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy ought to be giving to the parliament. However, I want to point out that in the matter of seeking information relating to the Australian Federal Police raid on the Sea Shepherd ships in Hobart the opposition turned down the request for information. I am, with the Greens, fiercely supportive of the idea that when the government keeps under lock and key information that is important to making decisions for this nation it ought to bring forward that information.

But the opposition is being selective. There is no excuse for the opposition joining with the government to stop this parliament having information which it ought to have on the matter whaling in the Southern Ocean and about what action the government is or is not taking. Senator Parry, who is very new in this place and does not know the ropes, will complain that police matters should be left undiscovered. That is quite wrong and Senate advice has always been to the contrary. It is up to the government to sort out what matters are sub judice or might otherwise compromise police action. But it is not up to the opposition to determine that nothing shall be discovered whatsoever—that is the case in point here. The opposition is putting a blanket prohibition on the search for information which ought to be available and which would have been available were my motion to have gone ahead. Notwithstanding that, the principal of getting information in this place is more important than the opposition’s stubborn refusal to support my motion. (Time expired)