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Tuesday, 10 September 1996
Page: 3137

Senator HILL (Minister for the Environment)(4.07 p.m) —The government opposes the motion in terms that it opposes the debate taking place at the moment. The substance of the debate, which should take place on Thursday, is not a laughing matter, as Senator Bourne indicates. It is a serious matter concerning internal stability.

The behaviour and the role of the responsible international community in curbing the actions of violent dictators is an important issue. The security and human rights of the Kurds are important issues. No doubt the Greens and the Australian Democrats will choose it as their subject of general business to be debated on Thursday.

Alternatively, if Senator Bourne had believed that this was of the urgency that she had sought to impress upon the Senate a minute ago, then I would not have been surprised had she put it down as an MPI either yesterday or today. But she has apparently overlooked that potential for debate within the standing orders of the Senate on matters that are regarded as—

Senator Bourne —I will tomorrow, don't worry. You can look forward to it tomorrow.

Senator HILL —You choose your time. I might abuse the rule that I sought to draw to the attention of the previous occupant of that chair, the Deputy President, by simply putting on the record that the government believes that the action taken by the US was justified and appropriate in all the circumstances. The Prime Minister (Mr Howard) described that action as a proper response to a clear breach by Iraq of the broad conditions of UN Security Council resolution 688, which interdicts the repression of civilian populations. When this debate is ultimately called upon at the proper time, Senator MacGibbon has quite a lot that he wishes to add.

Question resolved in the negative.