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Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Page: 5204

Senator BOB BROWN (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (15:47): by leave—What we are discussing here is ensuring that consumers have the right to ethically make decisions on their own. 'Boycotting' is the word at the heart of this motion, and that is in response to a motion from Senator Boswell last week. If we start to ban unauthorised boycotts, do we end up telling vegetarians that they must go to butcher shops? There are a million or so of them who do not. Does that have to be required?

Where do you end up in this process of trying to proscribe what people shall or shall not buy? This comes out of the original proposal that we should be able not to buy goods coming from, amongst others, the illegal settlements of the West Bank in occupied Palestine. Are we to say that Aust­ralians who want not to buy those products should not be able to make that choice? That is what Senator Boswell is about. We in this free country should not be proscribing these things. If people want to boycott or organise for others to boycott, that is part of the free and open democracy we have. I do thank Senator Cash for saying that the Greens are subtle—we do not want to take a sledgehammer approach like that taken by the Nationals last week or proscribe the rights of Australians. We are here to enhance them, and that is what this motion is about.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion moved by Senator Brown as amended by Senator Boswell be agreed to.

Question agreed to.