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Thursday, 29 October 2009
Page: 7626

Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (2:19 PM) —My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and fast horses, Senator Carr. Is the minister aware that the British Horseracing Authority’s integrity department has in the past fortnight interviewed the British trainer Gary Moore, who has prepared Mourilyan and Bankable, two horses owned by the Chechen dictator Kadyrov, which are both now in Melbourne? What talks has the government had with Australian racing authorities about the entry by Mr Kadyrov of the two horses in the Melbourne Cup and potentially the Emirates cup, and what process is in place to vet the potential for winnings on the Australian circuit from people like Mr Kadyrov?

Opposition senator—Come on, you broken down old man!

Senator CARR (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) —What was that?

Opposition senators—Come on, you broken down old man!

Opposition senators—He is a stayer!

The PRESIDENT —Order! Let us keep the racing terms out of question time, even though the Melbourne Cup is due.

Senator CARR —It’s been a while since you backed a winner, Senator, so I suggest you keep quiet.

The PRESIDENT —Senator Carr, address the question.

Senator CARR —The Commonwealth, as Senator Brown knows full well, has no responsibility or authority over horseracing in Australia as these are matters that are managed by the states and by racing authorities. The Commonwealth’s role is to ensure that any imported horses for any purposes meet our biosecurity import conditions. I understand that there have been several imported horses registered for the upcoming spring carnival and that they are currently in quarantine. They are preparing for that spring racing carnival. I am not able to comment on any legal or policing matters as they do not relate in any way to the purview of the minister I am representing here this afternoon.

Senator BOB BROWN —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Will the Rudd government be content to see the Melbourne Cup and the attendant prize money go to Chechnyan dictator Kadyrov with the blood he has on his hands? Will the Commonwealth look, as the British Racing Authority is doing, at vetting the ownership of horses which are brought into Australia with the clear intent of taking home largesse from such lucrative races as those at the spring carnival in Melbourne to owners who have been involved in criminal or other activity?

Senator CARR (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) —I have no brief whatsoever on these matters, Senator Brown, as one would expect, given that the Commonwealth has no responsibility for or authority over horseracing in Australia. These are matters which are managed by the states and by the racing authorities. I cannot add any more to my answer than that, Senator.

Senator BOB BROWN —Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. A good many Australians will question the Commonwealth if Mr Kadyrov gets windfall gains from his horses running in the Melbourne Cup and, potentially, the Emirates Cup. I ask the minister: has the Commonwealth government looked at the record of Prime Minister Kadyrov of Chechnya—his involvement in torture, his involvement in domestic assassinations and his involvement in international assassinations—and is the government content that it has no due diligence role whatever in the import of horses which may benefit such a dictator?

Senator CARR (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) —I thank the senator. The government has the Department of Foreign Affairs to deal with issues relating to the Russian Federation and it is not a question that I can make comment upon. I have no information on what the government has done in regard to the Russian Federation—

Opposition senators interjecting—

Senator CARR —I suspect I know considerably more about the Russian Federation than you, Senator.

Opposition senators interjecting—

Senator CARR —I would say this to you, Senator: what I can assure the Senate—

Opposition senators interjecting—

The PRESIDENT —Order! When we have silence, we will proceed.

Senator CARR —What I can assure the Senate is that this is not a matter that is under the purview of the minister for agriculture. If you wish to ask further questions on this matter, I suggest you address them to the relevant minister.