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Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Page: 1509

Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (5:15 PM) —Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator BOB BROWN —There is enormous discussion around the world about official representation at the ceremony. I can only think that if the Australian government does not have an invitation from Oslo to attend this prize-giving ceremony, it is for want of trying. I will draw to the Norwegian embassy’s notice that there has not been an invitation. I think it would be no trouble at all for Australia to have official representation if it wanted to and that the government should make that attempt. However, I will do that on its behalf.

On the subject of the incarceration of Liu Xiaobo, who is one of the greatest exponents of democracy and human, political, civil and religious rights on the face of the planet, he not only should not be in jail but should be celebrated. The Chinese government should be taken on for its unreasonable and cruel repression by putting this man into jail along with many, many other supporters of democracy. The Australian government ought to be doing much more.

This is a simple motion calling for official representation and for Australia to be at the prize-giving ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize. The government has now revealed it is not going to be there. That adds a new question before the chamber and before this parliament as to why not. I will seek information from the Norwegian embassy and report back to the chamber on that matter.

Question put:

That the motion (Senator Bob Brown’s) be agreed to.