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Political veto cloud over Order of Australia.

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Senator Bob Brown Senator for Tasmania

Political veto cloud over Order of Australia

Senator Brown, 12th February 2007

There is a cloud of political interference over the awarding of the Order of Australia, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

In the Senate Committee on Finance and Administration, Senator Brown asked the Secretary of the Governor-General, Mr Hazell, who is also the secretary to the council which decides who gets the Order of Australia, whether state governments could veto nominees from their state.

Mr Hazell said he had never known a nomination to succeed where a state government delegate objected.

"My concern was raised by the rejection of the nomination of Christine Milne in 2000," Senator Brown said.

"Christine had been the first female leader of a parliamentary political party in Tasmania, had spearheaded gay law reform, gun control laws and Aboriginal reconciliation in the Parliament and, in 1987-9, led the successful campaign to save the Wesley Vale farmlands from a polluting pulp mill proposal."

With calls for more female nominees for the Order, her rejection was incongruous. She was no longer in parliament. The question arose whether Tasmania's Labor government had been able to veto the nomination. Appeals were unsuccessful.

Today, Senator Brown asked Mr Hazell to produce figures on how many nominations were unsuccessful and, of them, how many had failed following state government objections.

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