Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 1 December 2004
Page: 81

Senator Lees to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate—

(a) acknowledges the threats facing the endangered Asian elephant throughout its natural range, including live trade, human-elephant conflict and poaching for ivory tusks, hide and meat;

(b) notes that:

(i) the Asian elephant is listed as an Appendix I species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),

(ii) Appendix I species are those whose trade must be subject to particularly strict regulation, and only authorised in exceptional circumstances,

(iii) Australia has been a party to CITES since 1976,

(iv) implementation of the CommonwealthEnvironmentProtectionandBiodiversityConservationAct1999 serves as Australia's way of meeting its international obligations as a CITES party,

(v) under the Act, CITES Appendix I species cannot be imported for the purpose of exhibition, and zoos must prove that they are able to meet the biological and behavioural needs of the animals if importation is for reasons such as conservation breeding,

(vi) Australian zoos have requested permission from the Australian Government to import nine Asian elephants from Thailand as part of a captive breeding program,

(vii) research undertaken by Oxford University in 2002 and supported by peers has identified that zoos are unable to meet the biological and behavioural needs of elephants in captivity, as elephants in captivity suffer from stress and boredom leading to abnormal behaviours and have a greater incidence of infant mortality and early death, and

(viii) the proposed captive breeding program offers no conservation benefit to the Asian elephant species as no offspring will ever be returned to the wild and elephants do not breed successfully in captivity; and

(c) calls on the Government to:

(i) reject the proposal that would allow the impending and any future importation of elephants from Thailand to Australian zoos,

(ii) work with the zoo association and non-government organisations to undertake an assessment of welfare conditions for elephants currently held in Australian zoos, and

(iii) earmark funding from the Regional Natural Heritage Programme addressing biodiversity hotspots in the Asia Pacific region, for in situ conservation projects that will help to address the threats facing the Asian elephant in Thailand and other range states.

Senator Greig to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that Friday, 3 December 2004, is International Day of People with a DisAbility;

(b) further notes:

(i) the valuable and willing contribution made by people with disabilities to the development, strength and diversity of the Australian community,

(ii) that people with disabilities continue to experience barriers to employment, education, premises, technology, transport, accommodation, support and services that diminish their access to full participation in the community, and

(iii) that many people with disabilities and their carers live in poverty with increasing concern about the adequacy of future income and social support; and

(c) calls on the Government to address barriers to participation by leading an active response to unmet need, reviewing funding arrangements through the Commonwealth-State/Territory Disability Agreement, providing increased access to education, employment and training options, reinstating a permanent Disability Discrimination Commissioner, and expediting the completion of standards under the DisabilityDiscriminationAct1992.

Senator Allison to move on the next day of sitting:

That there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, no later than 5 pm on 6 December 2004, any determinations made by the Minister under subsections 22(1) and (2) of the AirPassengerTicketLevy(Collection)Act2001.

Senator Allison to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate—

(a) notes the release of the report The enduring effects of war: health in Iraq 2004;

(b) notes that the report finds:

(i) that the risk of death from violence in the 18 months after the invasion was 58 times higher than in the 15 months before the invasion, while the risk of death from all causes was 2.5 times higher,

(ii) 32 per cent of children are chronically malnourished and 17 per cent are underweight,

(iii) since April 2003, at least 400 women and girls, some as young as eight, have been raped during or after the war, and

(iv) in 2003 over a quarter of primary care centres closed, over half of primary care facilities no longer provide family planning services and between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of women deliver their babies without qualified help; and

(c) calls on the Government to:

(i) support a comprehensive, independent investigation of casualties and the state of health in Iraq, and

(ii) increase humanitarian aid to Iraq to address health needs, in particular the re-establishment of safe, accessible primary health facilities.

Senator Nettle to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) ongoing concern about the political situation in Burma,

(ii) the continued detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and reports that this detention has been extended by the military regime in Burma, and

(iii) the recent release of student leader Minko Naing and his call for urgent action to pursue democratic reform and national reconciliation; and

(b) calls on the Government:

(i) to urge the Burmese junta to fully engage with the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan and the UN Special Envoy Tan Sri Razali Ismail in their work to find a political solution to Burma's problems,

(ii) to reiterate Australian demands for the release of the National League for Democracy's Vice-Chairman, U Tin Oo, and all the remaining political prisoners, and for the immediate and unconditional release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,

(iii) to support the Committee Representing People's Parliament mandate as the legitimate body to convene a democratic Parliament in Burma, according to the 1990 election result, and

(iv) support the Burmese National League for Democracy's call for the UN Security Council to convene a special session to consider what further measures the UN can take to encourage democratic reform and respect for human rights in Burma.

Senator Chapman to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) international observers, including the International Election Monitoring Mission of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe have reported that the recent presidential election in Ukraine has fallen well short of international standards,

(ii) reported irregularities include suspiciously high voter turnout in several regions, the fraudulent use of absentee voting, intimidation of voters at some polling stations, abuse of state resources and overt media bias,

(iii) in such circumstances the officially declared results of the election cannot be taken to properly represent the will of the Ukrainian people, and

(iv) a resolution to the current political crisis in Ukraine can only be achieved through a new election, which is conducted in a transparent manner that meets international standards;

(b) calls on the Government of Ukraine to:

(i) ensure the safety and welfare of all its citizens, including those taking part in peaceful demonstrations as part of the exercise of their democratic rights,

(ii) hold a new presidential election based on democratic principles that:

(a) ensures absentee ballots are cast in a free and democratic manner, and are not subject to abuse,

(b) allows both presidential candidates equal and unbiased access to the mass media of Ukraine in the period leading up to the new election date, and

(c) ensures that international observers participate at all levels of the election process to achieve a result that is acceptable to all parties;

(c) requests the President of the Senate to transmit this resolution to the outgoing President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, the Parliament of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia; and

(d) urges the Australian Government to make further representations to the above effect.

Senator CHRIS EVANS (Western Australia—Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (3.39 p.m.)—I, and also on behalf of Senators Bartlett, Brown and Lees, give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the following matters be referred to the Finance and Public Administration References Committee for inquiry and report by 15 August 2005:

(1) The administration of the Regional Partnerships program and the Sustainable Regions program, with particular reference to the process by which projects are proposed, considered and approved for funding, including:

(a) decisions to fund or not to fund particular projects;

(b) the recommendations of area consultative committees;

(c) the recommendations of departmental officers and recommendations from any other sources including from other agencies or other levels of government;

(d) the nature and extent of the respective roles of the administering department, minister and parliamentary secretary, other ministers and parliamentary secretaries, other senators or members and their advisers and staff in the process of selection of successful applications;

(e) the criteria used to take the decision to fund projects;

(f) the transparency and accountability of the process and outcomes;

(g) the mechanism for authorising the funding of projects;

(h) the constitutionality, legality and propriety of any practices whereby any members of either House of Parliament are excluded from committees, boards or other bodies involved in the consideration of proposed projects, or coerced or threatened in an effort to prevent them from freely communicating with their constituents; and

(i) whether the operation of the program is consistent with the Auditor-General's `Better Practice Guide for the Administration of Grants', and is subject to sufficient independent audit.

(2) With respect to the future administration of similar programs, any safeguards or guidelines which might be put in place to ensure proper accountability for the expenditure of public money, particularly the appropriate arrangements for independent audit of the funding of projects.

(3) Any related matters.

Senator Brown to move on 7 December 2004:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that Colombian Greens' politician and former presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt, together with her campaign manager, Clara Rojas, were kidnapped by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in February 2002 and remain in captivity in the jungle;

(b) considers that political violence in Colombia will only be stopped if real negotiations take place and all hostages, including Ms Betancourt and Ms Rojas, are freed; and

(c) calls on the Government to pressure the Uribe Government and FARC to negotiate now for a humanitarian agreement to release the hostages.

Senator Crossin to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate—

(a) congratulates the Alice Springs Aboriginal Housing Organisation, Tangentyere Council, on celebrating 25 years since its incorporation;

(b) notes that Tangentyere Council is one of the largest Aboriginal organisations in Central Australia, incorporating 18 Aboriginal housing associations;

(c) acknowledges the organisation was formed in the 1970s by Aboriginal people like Geoff Shaw and Eli and Wenten Rubuntja;

(d) recognises that Tangentyere Council has played a key role in providing basic services, such as running water and shelter, to Aboriginal people living on the fringes of Alice Springs and has ensured that there are now special purpose leases and permanent housing for their members; and

(e) congratulates the members and executive of Tangentyere Council, its Executive Director, William Tilmouth, and staff for their ongoing commitment, dedication and work.

Senator Nettle to move on the next day of sitting:

That there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, no later than 4 pm on Tuesday, 7 December 2004, the final letters and any attachments and annexures exchanged between the governments of Australia and the United States (US) of America to finalise the free trade agreement between the Australia and the US.

Senator Brown to move on 6 December 2004:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Murray River is in crisis and urgently needs water to prevent irreversible loss of red gums, waterbirds and wetlands, and

(ii) disagreement between the Commonwealth and state governments has stymied implementation of their November 2003 commitment to return 500 gigalitres of water to the Murray River within 5 years;

(b) urges the Commonwealth and state governments to act immediately to break the impasse; and

(c) requests the Government to report to the Senate, on or before 8 December 2004, on when water will actually be returned to the Murray River.

Senator NETTLE (New South Wales) (3.44 p.m.)—I, and also on behalf of Senator Brown, give notice that on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes the report of the International Red Cross into the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the report's conclusion that interrogation techniques amounted to torture;

(b) expresses concern that such techniques, which contravene international standards, may have been used on Australian prisoners, David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, who are being held at Guantanamo Bay; and

(c) calls on the Government to act immediately to return David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib to Australia.

Senator Brown to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that 1 December 2004 was West Papuan National Day, the 43rd anniversary of the 1961 West Papuan Declaration of Independence from Dutch colonial rule; and

(b) calls on the Australian Government to urge the Indonesian Government to lift the ban on the flying of the Papuans' morning star flag.

Senator Nettle to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Private Health Insurance Incentives Amendment Bill 2004 be referred to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 9 February 2005.