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Australians' human rights tampered with



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SENATOR ROM BOSWELL NATIONAL PARTY LEADER IN THE SENATE SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND SHADOW MINISTER FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND EXTERNAL TERRITORIES

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AUSTRALIANS* HUMAN RIGHTS TAMPERED WITH

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The National Party Senate Leader, Senator Ron Boswell, said todayz "If the Sydney 2000 Olympic organisers have dummy spitting included as a sport, then Australia will be assured of a gold medal performance by Mr Keating."

Senator Boswell said the Prime Minister was treating the human rights of the Australian people with contempt and had

demonstrated that as a dummy spitter he had no equal.

Senator Boswell had asked Senator Evans, the Minister

representing the Prime Minister in the Senate, if he was

concerned that the human rights of the Australian public were being tampered with by the Prime Minister's suspension of what he described as "traditional rights under our Parliamentary system for the Government to be questioned for its actions."

Outside the House he saidt "Hundreds of thousands of Australians have had the questions "blowtorch" applied to their bellies in corporate boardrooms and voluntary organisations around the country and have had the guts to go the distance.

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"They must have been dismayed yesterday to see their national leader take hie bat and ball and go home because he didn’t like being questioned."

Senator Boswell said the Prime Minister in the past few weeks had suspended matters of public importance debates and censure motions before cutting question time yesterday to three questions.

"Senator Evans has shown particular interest in international human rights and fancied himself as a major international contributor on the subject but he now aids his Prime Minister in trampling on those same rights for the people of Australia.

"Senator Evans, predictably, faithfully following in his leader's footsteps, had attempted in his answer in the Senate to blame everyone but the man responsible, Prime Minister Keating,"

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

Enquiries - Canberra Tel. (06) 2 7 7 3244 Brisbane Tel. (07) 8 6 4 8 8 8 0

The current sittings had been marked by an unprecedented series of attacks on the rights of the Parliament when the Prime

Minister:

Halted question time after 23 minutes and walked out;

Defied convention by denying Opposition rights to question the Government;

Accused the Opposition of breaking conventions;

Condemned the Speaker to the future role of onlooker by stepping into an area conventionally under his control;

Prevented Matters of Public Importance debates;

Prevented censure motions.

Senator Boswell said the Prime Minister had previously shown his contempt for the Parliament by declaring that question time was "a courtesy extended by the Executive to the Parliament".

"He clearly at that time did not understand that question time is a right established over the course of the past 100 years, respected by successive Governments and Oppositions alike.

"The Prime Minister demonstrated yesterday he holds to his original mistaken belief."

Senator Boswell said Senator Evans must be looking forward to the day he could escape to the safety of the united Nations'

Secretary-General's office where he would no longer be forced to defend the indefensible - namely, his Prime Minister’s total lack of respect for national institutions and due parliamentary

processes.

6 October, 1993

FURTHER INFORMATION: (06) 277 3244 (07) 864 8880