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Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Page: 4365

Senator LUDLAM (Western AustraliaCo-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (16:09): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 363, relating to Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen, be taken as a formal motion.

The PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal? Formality has been denied.

Senator LUDLAM: I seek leave to make a brief statement in lieu of moving to suspend standing orders.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator LUDLAM: I hope Senator McGrath will stand and give us one of his insulting little contributions, and I am assuming that it would involve the fact that this is a complex foreign policy matter—and I understand that it is. Australia is complicit in the horrific war that has been engaged in by Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen at the moment, in which more than 10,000 civilians have already been killed. The motion references the fact that in January of this year an expert panel reported to the UN Security Council that it was almost certain that the Saudi-led coalition had violated international humanitarian law and that some airstrikes may amount to war crimes. I would like to know why Minister Christopher Pyne is conducting arms deals with this regime on behalf of the Australian people. We can establish no information at all about why he is doing that, or what kind of material is being transferred to Saudi Arabia. The motion calls on the government to immediately suspend military exports to Saudi Arabia, and I will have more to say about this later tonight.