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Monday, 26 March 2018
Page: 2125

Senator DI NATALE (VictoriaLeader of the Australian Greens) (15:44): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 764, relating to human rights in Cambodia and Myanmar, be taken as a formal motion.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?

Senator McGrath: Yes.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: There is an objection.

Senator DI NATALE: In lieu of suspending standing orders, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator DI NATALE: Shameful. Shameful. Once again, we see the government blocking the will of the Senate and refusing to allow us a chance to vote on this important motion. Put yourself in the shoes of a Rohingya refugee living in squalid conditions in Bangladesh's refugee camps, or a member of Australia's Cambodian community who has had to endure threats of physical violence from Hun Sen. Put yourself in their shoes now, and think about what they'd be thinking about the response of the Australian government—the government's failure to criticise the leaders of Myanmar and Cambodia when they were on our soil. We have a responsibility here. Cambodia's democracy is crumbling before our very eyes. Myanmar has tried to wipe the Rohingya people off the map. What on earth is it going to take for this government to grow a spine and start to stand up for human rights in our region?