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Wednesday, 2 March 2016
Page: 1650


Senator LUDLAM (Western AustraliaCo-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (16:39): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 1061, standing in my name and in the name of Senator Rhiannon for today concerning Israel and the visit of the Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, be taken as a formal motion.

The PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?

Senator Ryan: Yes.

The PRESIDENT: There is an objection.

Senator LUDLAM: I seek leave to make a brief statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator LUDLAM: I thank Senator Ryan for giving notice that he was going to do that. This, I guess, comes as a long line of—

Senator Seselja: Anti-Semitic, anti-Israel rubbish.

Government senators interjecting

Senator LUDLAM: instances in which the government refuses formality. These people have sparked up without even knowing what I am going to say. It is amazing. They are denying formality on a fairly simple statement that the retired commander-in-chief of the Israeli army, Lieutenant Colonel Benny Gantz, is in Australia this week. This is the individual who was in charge of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development late last year identified that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020 as a result of the serial assaults by the Israel Defense Forces on the people of Gaza City. The very least that the Australian government could do would be to make some comments, or allow a vote in this chamber, on the visit of this individual to Australia, should they have seen fit to issue him with a visa. It is very disappointing that the Australian government would not— (Time expired)