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Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Page: 6118

Senator BIRMINGHAM (South Australia) (15:53): Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator BIRMINGHAM: It seems that Senator Collins thinks that this motion is nothing short of a political stunt, and I can only assume that is the view of all of these Labor senators sitting around me at present. But I find it remarkable that a motion that makes a clearly stated commitment to the freedom of the media in this country should be regarded—

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Birmingham is entitled to be heard in silence.

Senator BIRMINGHAM: I find it remarkable that a motion that is clearly a principled motion making a principled statement in support of a free media and freedom of speech in Australia should not only be pilloried by those opposite, but also ridiculed by those on the crossbench and possibly the Labor Party in that they seem to propose voting 'yes' for one part stating a commitment to a free press and yet 'no' to a second part that would in fact enforce that commitment to a free press. Today it appears that the government is going to miss the opportunity to rule out the most heinous aspects of their proposed media reforms from being implemented.