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Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Page: 6406

Senator DI NATALE (VictoriaLeader of the Australian Greens) (15:10): Pursuant to contingent notice of motion, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent me moving a motion to provide for the consideration of a matter, namely a motion to give precedence to a motion relating to parliamentary approval of the involvement of Australian forces in Syria.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Di Natale.

Senator Di Natale: I move that a motion relating to Australian forces in Syria may be moved immediately and have precedence over all other business this day until determined.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question before us is the suspension of standing orders.

Senator DI NATALE: Yes. I move directly to the issue at hand. It is that parliamentary approval should be required for Australian forces to be deployed to Syria. I do believe this is a matter of urgency. We have just had—right now, from Senator Abetz in question time—an accusation that is the most serious accusation that could be levelled at a member of the Australian parliament. It is an accusation stating that somebody who questions our involvement in a conflict is somehow questioning the commitment that we have to our service men and women.

That is the refuge of a scoundrel. To suggest that what we are doing by questioning our involvement in a war in Syria is somehow reflecting a lack of commitment to the troops engaged in conflict in that region is pathetic. The best thing we can do to safeguard our troops is to ensure that before we embark on a conflict of that nature we have a full, frank and open debate in this parliament to ensure that what we are doing is going to a war that is legal, going to have a war that is not based on the self-interest of a Prime Minister who is desperate to save his political hide. We need to have a debate in the Australian parliament—