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Thursday, 20 August 2009
Page: 8560

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (3:41 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


The SPEAKER —Please proceed.

Ms JULIE BISHOP —In question time today, the Minister for Foreign Affairs referred to my criticism of the government’s bungling of the handling of the visa to the Uygur leader Rebiya Kadeer and said that it meant I would have refused that visa, that it was my view the visa should not be issued and therefore I did not believe in freedom of speech. That is not correct. I, in fact, referred to half a dozen examples of the government’s bungling of the handling of the whole relationship with China, which culminated in the situation where the government was unable to work effectively with the Chinese about the visit of Ms Kadeer and not further damage the relationship. I said, ‘Now, altogether this adds up to an incompetent handling of a relationship that in the past had been based on mutual respect.’