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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 10

Senator DI NATALE (VictoriaLeader of the Australian Greens) (13:06): Pursuant to contingent notice, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent him moving a motion to provide for the consideration of a matter, namely a motion relating to the Australia-US alliance.

Once again I stand here in the circus that has become the Senate, one of the lone voices in this chamber urging the coalition and the Labor Party to acknowledge that we have serious issues in front of us, and one of the most serious issues is the critical issue that faces our nation right now, and that is the danger that is posed by the US alliance.

I said in this chamber last year, during the US presidential election campaign—where President Trump referred to Mexicans as rapists, goaded China into a war over the South China Sea, mocked people with disabilities and went around boasting about abusing women—that this was a man whose judgement could not be trusted and that, if we put our faith in the US, we were compromising our own security. I said at the time that, no matter how tempered this man might be by his advisers—indeed, by the bureaucrats that surround him—this was a man who was unfit to be President and had the potential to lead Australia down a very, very dangerous path.

Sadly, it has come to pass, and the time is right for this chamber to at least have a debate on the future of the US alliance. Over the last 2½ weeks, we have seen that, rather than be tempered by those around him, he has ramped up his rhetoric. He has surrounded himself with key advisers who live in a world of fantasy and believe in a global war between the Judeo-Christian West and jihadist Islamic fascism. This is the world that Donald Trump now occupies, and this is the world that Australia is being drawn into. From the moment of his inauguration, he has sought to divide people—to use fear and division to turn people against each other. This is a man who is unleashing a wave of Islamophobia right across the world, and Australia is not immune to his hatred. We are talking about someone who, in the first few days of office, has suggested that the US send Army troops over the southern border, into Mexico, and whose administration has dangerously upped its rhetoric against China, again goading China further into conflict over the South China Sea. He has done much more. He has gagged scientists in the Environmental Protection Agency because he does not like what they have to say—what the science says on global warming. The list goes on and on and on. The bottom line is that a Trump presidency has dangerous consequences in Australia, and they are especially dangerous because we have in the US alliance a one-way relationship with that nation that is a millstone around our neck and endangers the lives of Australian people and people right across the world.

Again you have to ask yourself: what has our Prime Minister done? The coalition, and indeed the Labor Party, have sat on the sidelines, but particularly this Prime Minister, who has so utterly and completely abandoned the values that he once held that he cannot bring himself to do what any other civilised leader has done: to pick up the phone and say, 'You cannot, as somebody who espouses values of democracy and freedom, prevent people from coming to your country on the basis of their race and religion.' Just today we have seen the Speaker of the British parliament refuse to give Donald Trump an audience in that parliament, yet here in Australia it is all the way with Donald Trump.

I look at those opposite. I see the sycophants and the toadies, within both the government and, indeed, the opposition—the doormats over there who are lickspittles and sycophants to the US and refuse to stand up and say, 'This is a relationship that needs to be renegotiated because it is no longer in our national interest.' Now is not the time for appeasement. Now is the time for this country to take a stand. The Greens have long argued, well before the election of President Trump, that we need to review the US alliance, but there has been no more important time to do it than since the election of this dangerous, unhinged, divisive and hateful President. It is time we had this debate in this parliament.