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Monday, 17 August 2009
Page: 8101


Mr SIMPKINS (8:20 PM) —I would like to begin by congratulating the member for Wills for bringing this motion before the chamber. I have always thought that he walks in no former member’s shadow. Well done, mate. I also congratulate my colleagues on both sides who have chosen to speak on Aung San Suu Kyi tonight. She was born in 1945, the daughter of the famous revolutionary Aung San, who is credited with being one of main people in unifying Burma and taking Burma away from the colonial days into nationhood. Unfortunately, he met his death by way of assassination just six months before Burma officially became a union and a nation. That occurred when Aung San Suu Kyi was just two years old.

Given that background, given that she was the daughter of someone who was widely credited with bringing the nation away from the colonial past, it seems almost natural that she should rise to this position, a great leader, a great icon for freedom in South-East Asia. It has not come at no cost; it has been a difficult road that she has chosen to take, a road of great sacrifice. She met her husband, Michael Aris, I believe in the 1970s, and whilst married to him she was called back to Burma in 1988 when her mother became sick. From 1988 to 1990 she took up the gauntlet for the NLD, the National League for Democracy, and became their leader for the free election in 1990. Unfortunately, that was the election that the military junta overturned and imposed their will on the nation, becoming an autocratic regime rejecting democracy. Sadly, that has been the history of Burma ever since. Obviously we live for the day when democracy returns to Burma and the result of the 1990 election is honoured.

I mentioned before that Aung San Suu Kyi’s path has been a difficult one and one of sacrifice. She has chosen to remain in that country as a leader, as the symbol of democracy, at great personal cost. I believe it was in 1999 that her husband was dying of cancer and he petitioned the regime to allow him to return to Burma. Of course, they refused. Aung San Suu Kyi chose to sacrifice those last days of time with her husband by remaining in Burma because she knew that they would never let her back in. She sacrificed that time with her husband for the sake of democracy, to remain there as that symbol for people who continue to resist until this day.

With the death of her husband and almost permanent house arrest ever since, it has come to this point that the military junta has managed to create the circumstances with their autocratic laws which have ensured that she has been found guilty of pathetic charges by a pathetic corrupt government. They have created the circumstances whereby it will be impossible for her to stand in the next elections. This is a government with no legitimacy. It is corrupt. It stands against democracy in every respect. It stands only for the individuals, the powerful elites, of a country that has no commitment to the people and has no interest apart from oppression and maintenance of their power. The sooner they fall, it will be a great day and the sooner Aung San Suu Kyi is released and becomes the true leader of that country, it will be better.