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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5422

Senator HANSON-YOUNG (3:54 PM) —Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG —As somebody who has been in this chamber for 12 months, I look forward to the day that we have both the government and the opposition proud enough to stand on the strength of the spine of the Australian democracy and able to urge countries to do things that we feel are right. The motion that was passed in 2007 was not the motion that the comfort women would have liked; it was not the motion that other countries around the world would have passed. In fact, the motion that is before you today is almost word for word the same motion that was passed by the United States of America, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union—which, of course, includes 27 member countries—South Korea, Taiwan and three city councils in Japan alone.

I point out that, in my time here thus far, every time an issue of international importance urging freedom, democracy, help or assistance to people in other places is raised, the opposition and the government have continued to hide behind the complex nature of issues rather than standing on the strength of the spine of our democracy.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I would just remind senators of the standing order that provides for formal motions. It says that motions should be put without amendment or debate. It seems as though we are getting into lengthy debates, and perhaps whips and others should take that into consideration.

Question put.