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Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Page: 9138


Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (15:03): Pursuant to standing order 74(5) I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister Conroy, for an explanation as to why answers have not yet been provided to question on notice 1282. It has been just over 30 days since I asked this question. I recognise that it is only a couple of days overdue, so I am not critical because I realise some of these things sometimes come in a few days late. I want to put very firmly on the record that this question pertains to matters that are urgently relevant and time sensitive and will not wait until 2012.

The consular and legal rights of an Australian citizen, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Mr Julian Assange, are the focus of my questions. It is the responsibility of this government to insist on fair and due process and the rule of law if he is extradited to Sweden to face charges there. But what is of very grave concern to me and what is of grave concern to many people around the world is the potential that he will then be rendered from Sweden to the United States, where he has broken no law.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Ludlam, you are entitled to ask a question, and it is a very detailed question. Would you like the minister to respond?

Senator LUDLAM: I would like to put a few comments on the record and then I will indeed seek a response from the minister.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: You can only ask a question of the minister and I have given you a fair bit of latitude. I will call the minister.