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Monday, 12 November 2018
Page: 7770

Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific) (16:45): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator RUSTON: The coalition government strongly supports the Australian national flag as a symbol of national identity, and encourages all Australians to do likewise. However, we ask that the question on parts (a) and (b) be put separately from the question on part (c). The government believes that the overwhelming majority of Australians deplore the actions of those who desecrate the flag. The government acknowledges that the Constitution guarantees freedom of political communication; however, the government believes there are more appropriate and respectful ways for Australians to express their political views. While there are no penalties regarding the desecration of the Australian national flag under the Flags Act 1953, the criminal law provides a basis for action against persons abusing the flag in certain circumstances, including where a breach of the peace occurs or property is destroyed. The government is satisfied that the community will make its own judgement against those who dishonour the flag in this way.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: So that there is less confusion, there are three parts to this motion—(a), (b) and (c). The question is that parts (a) and (b) of motion No. 1161 be agreed to.

Question agreed to.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question now is that part (c) of motion 1161 standing in the name of Senator Anning be agreed to.

Question negatived.

Government senators interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I do remind senators that if you are calling a point of order then you must stand. I've called the vote.