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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Page: 5831


Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (15:31): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Attorney-General (Senator Brandis) to a question without notice asked by the Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Di Natale) today relating to the qualification of members of Parliament.

I would like to make some comments about Minister Brandis's response to Senator Di Natale's question, which is also on citizenship. I want to reiterate, on behalf of the Australian Greens—we have been very consistent this week—we want to see an audit of every MP's and every senator's citizenship status. This will clear this issue up. This will put it behind us. This will give the public confidence in the institution of parliament that's so important to the Australian people. This will make it look like we're not in here being self-serving or doing this as a political party, which, of course, the Australian people are well and truly fed up and sick and tired with. It's an easy solution—as would be, by the way, amending the Australian Electoral Act to make it a requirement that, before you're sworn in to parliament, all this stuff be sorted out with the AEC and that they audit it as well, so that we don't have any future uncertainties.

I want to make a very quick comment about Senator Paterson, who was very vocal when my ex-colleagues Senator Waters and Senator Ludlam resigned. He was tweeting things on section 44 such as:

It's an entirely reasonable prohibition which is extremely straightforward to comply with.

I'd say to Senator Paterson: how's that cold breeze blowing through your glass house in the last week? Do you need a dressing gown and slippers to avoid those rocks and that broken glass? People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks—very, very embarrassing. But, to his credit, he wasn't the only one. There were a lot of other people having a poke, but we need to sort this issue out. My last comment is: seriously, if this country is going to pick a fight with New Zealand, there are much more important things we should be focusing on, like who invented the Pavlova, where Phar Lap's heart is, and why Split Enz haven't had a comeback tour. I will now sit down.