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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2487

Ms O'NEIL (Hotham) (13:37): I rise today to express my deep concern and anger—speaking also on behalf of the member for Werriwa—about the statements that were made by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is due to arrive in Australia in mid-March for the ASEAN summit. We welcome Asian leaders coming to Australia for these important discussions, but we have to acknowledge also that Hun Sen's regime has a long history of human rights abuses during his 33-year rule of Cambodia. Hun Sen has now threatened to bring these violent actions to our shores. Hun Sen has stated that, if there are demonstrations against his regime during his visit to Australia, he will pursue the demonstrators to their homes and beat them up. A foreign leader is threatening violence against Australians who will be merely exercising their democratic rights. These are outrageous statements, and the Turnbull government is doing nothing about it.

They are not empty threats, because this regime does have a history of violence. Unionists have been shot in the street, Kem Ley was assassinated in broad daylight in Phnom Penh, and the opposition leader in Cambodia has been put in jail for a speech he made in Melbourne, in my electorate. We cannot pretend that we have no responsibilities here. We are living in this beautiful democratic country. Those rights need to be extended to all Australians, including those of Cambodian descent.