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Tuesday, 15 March 2005
Page: 50

Senator MARK BISHOP (3:42 PM) —I withdraw general business notice of motion No. 98 standing in my name for today relating to the production of documents regarding roadworks near the Anzac commemorative site. I seek leave to make a very brief statement on this matter.

Leave granted.

Senator MARK BISHOP —Earlier today Minister Ellison offered a private briefing to the opposition on this matter. I thank the minister for that offer. As the Australian Democrats and Greens were supportive of the original motion, I would ask that the minister extend to those parties the offer of a briefing if they so desire it. In doing so, may I note very briefly that it is interesting that the government seeks to negate this motion. The motion would have required the government to table a letter. That letter was written last August by the former Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Mrs Vale, to the government of Turkey and, according to Foreign Minister Downer, the letter requested roadworks be undertaken near the Anzac commemorative site at Gallipoli. There is considerable concern in the Australian community that remains of Australian war dead at Gallipoli may have been disturbed by the roadworks. There is great concern that this government has not done enough to protect Gallipoli from the pressures of tourism. These concerns need to be urgently addressed and, whilst it is disappointing the government has indicated it would refuse to table the letter in question, I do acknowledge the government offered us a private briefing and thank the minister for the courtesy of that.