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6       Senator Anning —Censure

The Minister for Finance and the Public Service (Senator Cormann) and also on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Wong), moved government business notice of motion no. 2—That the Senate—

               (a)       notes:

                                     (i)       Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes...freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance’,

                                    (ii)       religious persecution knows no geographic or sectarian boundaries and it afflicts religious believers of virtually every faith, on every continent,

                                  (iii)       the strong statements made across the nation, led by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, that violence such as that witnessed in Christchurch is an affront on our common humanity, and

                                  (iv)       in the face of attacks designed to sow division, our responses must bring us together, recognising an attack on any religion is an attack on all religions and that we all share a responsibility to unite, condemn and defeat such an attack on our common values and way of life;

               (b)       calls on all Australians to stand against hate and to publicly, and always, condemn actions and comments designed to incite fear and distrust;

                (c)       endorses the statement of the Imam Hasan Centre following the attacks in Christchurch that ‘It is times like this that we lose hope and doubt humanity. When people of faith come under attack in such a way it shows us how low humanity can fall. However it never ceases to amaze how far humanity can rise after such despicable events’; and

               (d)       censures Senator Anning for his inflammatory and divisive comments seeking to attribute blame to victims of a horrific crime and to vilify people on the basis of religion, which do not reflect the opinions of the Australian Senate or the Australian people.

Debate ensued.

The question was divided at the request of Senator Spender—

Question—That paragraphs (a) to (c) of the motion be agreed to—put and passed.

Question—That paragraph (d) of the motion be agreed to—put and passed.

Statements by leave : Senators Wong and Bernardi, by leave, made statements relating to the motion.