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Monday, 4 December 2017
Page: 9537


Senator McGRATH (QueenslandAssistant Minister to the Prime Minister) (17:03): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator McGRATH: In line with the longstanding view of successive governments, given that formal motions cannot be debated or amended, they should not deal with complex and contested foreign policy matters, particularly where the motion has the potential to damage Australia's relations with other nations. Senator Di Natale knows well that this is a complex and contested foreign policy matter and, as such, would be denied formality. The Senate should not consider a vote on foreign policy motions of this kind without the ability to have a full debate, given that they involve serious and substantial issues.

Australia has long recognised Indonesia's sovereignty over the provinces of Papua and West Papua. This is a bipartisan position in Australia, underlined by the 2006 Lombok treaty between Australia and Indonesia. Indonesian sovereignty is also widely recognised by the international community. In May 2017, during Indonesia's United Nations Human Rights Council universal periodic review in Geneva, Australia made a number of recommendations, including that Indonesia finalise investigations on all human rights cases in Papua. In September 2017, Indonesia accepted this recommendation. (Time expired)