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Thursday, 4 February 2021
Page: 421

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Senator ABETZ (Tasmania) (15:48): We need to continue to celebrate and acknowledge the wonderful contribution that our various ethnic diasporas have made in the creation of the modern nation Australia and what she is today—economically strong, democratic, freedom-loving, engaged in world affairs on the side of liberty and opposed to totalitarianism. The diaspora have enriched our culture.

It stands to reason that as the various ethnic groups have come to Australia there have been misunderstandings as to language and cultural norms and expectations. There has been ugliness, but that is where English language skills are so vitally important in giving our various new arrivals a full entry into our society and protecting them from exploitation. Overall, I believe Australia has done exceptionally well, and the benchmark has to be the other countries in the world. The report which is being considered by the Senate has been an excellent exercise. I appreciate the chair's and the secretariat's substantial contributions to its preparation, along with those of my colleagues and the providers of evidence to the committee. I'll also take the opportunity to associate myself with the remarks of the chair.

It is a matter of regret that some submitters found it necessary to submit in confidence because of fear of retaliation from some within their own diaspora grouping doing the bidding of a foreign country and because of reprisals in their country of origin towards their extended families. During the hearing, some inappropriate allegations were made suggesting that witnesses appearing as experts, thought leaders or think tank contributors on China and its impact on the Chinese diaspora shouldn't be asked if they condemn the CCP dictatorship, which is brutalising its citizens. Let's be very clear: one million of their own people in concentration camps; forced» sterilisations; rape; «forced» «organ» «harvesting» from prisoners of conscience; imprisonment of home Christians, imprisonment of Falun Gong practitioners; imprisonment of pro-democracy activists—not to mention the Tibetans, the Mongolians and that country's illegal land acquisitions. To not condemn such a heinous regime is in itself heinous.

We now have the BBC doing a full expose of the plight of the Uighurs at the hands of this barbaric regime. We have had the China Tribunal, headed by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, finding beyond reasonable doubt that «forced» «organ» «harvesting occurs. We've had the findings of the US Congress and of the Canadian parliament—and the list goes on. Professor Clive Hamilton, in his books Silent Invasion and Hidden Hand, has outlined the barbarism of this regime. ASPI, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, has done a report, Uyghurs for sale, outlining the slavery to which these people are submitted.

Despite this overwhelming list of substantiated reports, books and inquiries by exceptionally eminent persons, the apologists seek disingenuously to dismiss these sorts of damning findings. There's a professor from the University of Adelaide who, incredibly, asserts there is no evidence. Really? Professor Hamilton's got it wrong, ASPI's got it wrong, the BBC's got it wrong, Sir Geoffrey Nice has got it wrong—or is this professor simply an apologist for an evil regime? Then, somewhat coincidentally, one of the submitters to our committee, a Mr Osmond Chiu, ignorantly dismissed Professor Clive Hamilton's seminal work, which contained over 50 pages of evidentiary footnotes, as unsubstantiated. What more evidence could be gathered than was contained in that seminal document and book by Professor Clive Hamilton—who, might I add, was a former Greens candidate at an election, so hardly somebody from my side of politics, but is somebody who has the integrity and willingness to call out an evil regime for what it is: namely, evil? The apologists cannot bring themselves to condemn the evil Chinese dictatorship.

I've unhesitatingly sought to stand in solidarity with those who have been oppressed by the Chinese dictatorship. Within my own party, I recall being the only one in the party room to stand against a proposal put forward by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs for an extradition treaty with China. I know there were some others, like Senator Fierravanti-Wells, who would have liked to have joined me, but she was on the frontbench at the time. I had previously been politically assassinated by that group, so I was free to speak. But I have had a longstanding interest in this area and have stood firmly and strongly with the oppressed, and I'm happy the extradition treaty never came into being and is now completely off the agenda. Indeed, we have now suspended our extradition treaty with Hong Kong because of this dictatorship's behaviour.

You ask thought leaders and self-described experts to condemn the brutal dictatorship, and what do apologists do? As Professor Clive Hamilton predicted in his book, they immediately condemn you as racist and then offer sufficient criticism of the regime to retain credibility, but they will never condemn it. That might be one of the reasons why I invited some people to actually condemn the regime, and they failed to do so. I know what the Uighurs would have wanted them to do. I know what the Falun Gong practitioners would have wanted them to do. I know what the house Christians would have wanted them to do. The women that are being forcibly sterilised and raped as we speak would be wanting us in Australia to stand in solidarity with them.

But no. We had our national broadcaster, only a couple of days ago, again seeking to condemn me for my questioning but not being able to bring themselves to do what at least the BBC has been able to do, and that is expose this evil regime, this barbarism—the Uighurs that are being raped, sterilised, put into concentration camps. The Chinese diaspora in Australia fear for their relatives and fear for themselves as to the consequences if they speak out.

Despite the attacks that came from certain quarters, I have been heartened by overwhelming support, including from a local Australian Chinese newspaper that has a circulation of tens of thousands in this country. It had a front-page heading 'Chinese Aussies support Tassie senator's push to distinguish Chinese regime from Chinese people'. They were fully in support. We had letters and emails flooding into the office and we had a YouTube channel with 100,000 followers offering support. A former Chinese diplomat, a defector from China who knew exactly what was going on, tweeted:

Don't let patriotic @SenatorAbetz feel ashamed for his courage against the CCP influence! The Australian Values Alliance—

which is a Chinese organisation in Australia—

stood up to support him.

China Uncensored, a YouTube program from the United States, with hundreds of thousands of viewers, is overwhelmingly supporting me. Our diaspora need protection from the malignant forces in Australia and from overseas that seek to intimidate and silence their fellow diaspora into noncriticism of the evilness of their regimes.