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Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Page: 5917

Senator MILNE (TasmaniaDeputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (16:26): I rise today to note what is one of the lowest points of Senate debate since I took my Senate seat in 2005. I say it is one of the lowest moments because those of us who do have a memory of history, those of us who do know what happened in 1939, those of us who do know what happened with the Nazi atrocities in 1939 and thereafter during the Second World War find it absolutely despicable that people can stand up and barter that as if it were an appropriate way of condemning or commenting on another political party. I have stood in Pere-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and I have seen where the Resistance were shot against a wall. I taught at Devonport High School with an elderly gentleman who lived through the Crystal Night. I have known those people and I have spoken with those people and looked at that over the years. I know precisely about the cruelty of the Nazis to the Jews in the Second World War. I have witnessed and listened to those stories and I find it despicable in the extreme that every last one of you stand over there and try to point fingers about people in this parliament in this day and age, when the issue we should be debating is the question of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution in the Middle East. That is the debate.

I am glad to hear that the coalition supports the two-state solution, because it is not in their policy platform. They have got a chance to prove it, as has the government, because there is a vote coming up in the United Nations next month on Palestinian statehood. If you believe in a two-state solution, you would be standing up saying yes. We have an opportunity as a nation in the United Nations to stand up and support that statehood next month. That is the debate we should be having right now, not the despicable behaviour we have witnessed from the Liberal Party.

The words 'boycott' and 'secondary boycott' have been thrown around here as if it is a matter of fact. I wish to remind the Senate that the letter from the ACCC states the absolute contrary. You might not like what the ACCC has to say, but the ACCC has come out with a very strong judgment saying it is not the boycott—

Senator Boswell interjecting

Senator MILNE: and that is why Senator Boswell is disappointed and that is why he has spoken so disparagingly of the new Chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims, because he does not like what the ACC has had to say. But the letter of the ACCC says:

Section 45D of the Act relevantly prohibits a person in concert with a second person from engaging in conduct that hinders or prevents a third person from acquiring goods or services from a fourth person and that is engaged in for the purpose, and would have or be likely to have the effect, of causing substantial loss or damage to the business of the fourth person.

This is the relevant paragraph:

After a careful assessment the ACCC considers that th e protest activity, while it may have physically hindered or prevented potential customers from entering a Max Brenner store and acquiring goods during the protest, is unlikely to have had the effect of causing substantial loss or damage to the business of Max Brenner such as to constitute a contravention of section 45D of the A ct.

There is no secondary boycott. There is no boycott. There is an opportunity for the coalition to join with the Greens and urge the government to vote for statehood for the Palestinian people in the vote in the United Nations next month.

Senator Abetz interjecting

Senator MILNE: I urge the coalition to abandon this depth that they have sunk to in trying to suggest that anybody in this parliament—anybody in this parliament, Senator Abetz—has any sympathy with the Nazis, because that is not the case and it is a grossly offensive way to treat the Senate chamber and the Australian people who elected us and who expect us to behave in a responsible manner. This is a very low point in the Senate.(Time expired)

Question put:

That the motion ( Senator Abetz's ) be agreed to.

The Senate divided [16:36]

(The President: Senator the Hon. John Hogg)

Senator Carr did not vote, to compensate for the vacancy caused by the Resignation of Senator Coonan.

Question negatived.