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Monday, 29 August 1994
Page: 494


Senator CHAMARETTE (4.23 p.m.) —I rise to support the suspension of standing orders to enable the motion to be put to a vote. It is regrettable that the motion cannot be passed as an unanimous position of the Senate. The Greens (WA) certainly supported the notice of motion being declared formal. We also support the suspension of standing orders which allows people at least to express their reservations and reasons for not being able to give the motion unequivocal support.

  Senator Campbell's comments are a good example of this. I am very pleased that he has had the opportunity to state his position and say that his inability to support the motion does not indicate a lack of appreciation of Cathy's achievement. I commend his comments about the motion.

  Cathy Freeman's action was a beautiful, spontaneous gesture which enriches all Australians and which only became political afterwards in the minds of those for whom it was already political. Occasionally there is a direct moment of truth that is communicated vividly to people around the world as they watch an action on television or hear it discussed. Certainly, Cathy's gesture of pride for and in her people has touched a community nerve. It has also raised mixed feelings in this chamber and the community. The Greens support the motion to suspend standing orders to allow the notice of motion to be debated and voted on because in the end it will say much more about the members of this Senate than about Cathy or her actions.