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Thursday, 25 March 2004
Page: 27315

Mr CIOBO (4:35 PM) —I rise to talk about an issue of some concern to me—an issue that presented itself when I walked past the door of the member for Franklin, Mr Harry Quick. In particular, I was concerned about what I considered to be a highly offensive picture that was attached to the door of his office. This particular offensive picture equates George Bush with Osama bin Laden. It is in fact a photograph that has been digitally altered so that George W. Bush, the President of the United States, is portrayed to be Osama bin Laden. If you look closely at what is implicit in this particular picture on the door of the member for Franklin's office, you see that what the member for Franklin is saying is not simply that he does not like George W. Bush, which all in this chamber would know, but that he is attempting to portray a democratically elected president of the United States as being akin to a murderous leader of a terrorist organisation such as Osama bin Laden. It is an outright disgrace, and the member for Franklin ought to be condemned for having this type of outrageous and scandalous digital photograph on his office door in this, our nation's parliament.

We know that the member for Franklin does not like George Bush. He is on the record in this chamber as stating in the grievance debate of 10 January last year that he viewed George W. Bush as being:

... a Wild West gun-toting Texan bounty hunter masquerading as a US president and desperate for a rerun of the Gulf War.

In fact, last year the member for Franklin had to be chastised by the then Leader of the Opposition because he was threatening to not even be civil enough to show common decency when President Bush visited Australia. The member for Franklin has gone further. In the leadup to, during and now after the successful liberation of the people of Iraq by American, British and Australian forces, he has paraded about the country in various protests condemning the forces for their efforts to bring human rights and freedom to the Iraqi people. In fact, the member for Franklin has labelled coalition forces as `the coalition of the killing'. He called Australia, along with Britain and the United States, the `immoral minority'. In the grievance debate of 18 March last year, he said:

Why do we have to race to join the coalition of the willing—I call it `the coalition of the killing'—three Anglo-Saxon nations out of the 200-plus nations in the United Nations ... Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA are the immoral minority. History will long note the integrity of those who stand against this immoral war.

But let us look at this more closely. Let us look at the actual crux of this issue. Let us test the member for Franklin's belief in the moral equivalency of the democratically elected President of the United States with the self-appointed leader of a murderous underground terrorist organisation such as al-Qaeda. The Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism database lists on its web site that since 1 January 1997 there have been 10 terrorist attacks attributable to al-Qaeda; the number of people murdered by the al-Qaeda organisation totals 3,419, or nearly 3,500—and they were not killed innocently; and the number of people who have been injured by the al-Qaeda organisation led by Osama bin Laden totals 5,336. That makes a total number of fatalities and people who have been injured of some 8,755.

The member for Franklin deserves to be condemned for portraying President Bush, the leader of a democratic country, as the moral equivalent of Osama bin Laden. It is an absolute disgrace. The Leader of the Opposition owes it to the people of Australia to ensure that they understand that the Labor Party does not support the member for Franklin. The silence of the Leader of the Opposition will demonstrate that the Labor Party stands behind the member for Franklin in indicating that George Bush is the equivalent to Osama bin Laden. It is important to remember that the figures I have cited represent only the incidents that are directly attributable to al-Qaeda. They do not include figures from the groups al-Qaeda has trained and funded and from terrorist attacks that have been masterminded by, for example, Jemaah Islamiah. In short, the member for Franklin ought to be condemned for insinuating that a democratic country's leader, like George W. Bush, no matter what his politics, is the equivalent of Osama bin Laden. (Time expired)