AUSTRALIAN SENATE DEBATE re BDS campaign against Max Brenner 14Sep11 September 14, 2011

SENATE

Hansard

TUESDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2011

Israel

Senator BOSWELL (Queensland) (15:53): I seek  leave to amend general business notice of motion No.  400 standing in my name for today by omitting  paragraph (c) and substituting the following revised  paragraph:

(c) agrees with the New South Wales Greens MP Jeremy ¬†Buckingham’s assertion ‘that the tone and the public ¬†perception of the Max Brenner protests may be counter- productive to the cause of peace and human rights in the ¬†Middle East’.

Leave granted.

Senator BOB BROWN (Tasmania‚ÄĒLeader of the ¬†Australian Greens) (15:54): I seek leave to amend the ¬†motion by replacing the words after ‘condemns’ with:

(i) Senator Boswell’s unwarranted and cowardly ¬†comparison of the trade practices commissioner, Mr Rod ¬†Sims, with Pontius Pilate,

(ii) Senator Boswell’s rejection of the Victoria Police as ¬†doing their job,

(iii) Senator Boswell’s repugnant association of the ¬†Greens with events in Germany in 1939.

Leave not granted.

Senator BOSWELL (Queensland) (15:55): I move  the motion as amended:

That the Senate‚ÄĒ

(a) condemns the intensification of the Global Boycott  Divestments and Sanctions campaign being conducted  against Max Brenner chocolate cafes;

(b) rejects this tactic as a way of promoting Palestinian  rights; and

(c) agrees with the New South Wales Greens MP Mr ¬†Jeremy Buckingham’s assertion ‘that the tone and the public ¬†perception of the Max Brenner protests may be counter- productive to the cause of peace and human rights in the ¬†Middle East’.

Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a one- minute statement.

Leave not granted.

Question put.

The Senate divided. [15:56]

(The Deputy President‚ÄĒSenator Parry)

Ayes …………………. 40

Noes …………………. 9

Majority ……………. 31

AYES

Abetz, E

Back, CJ

Bernardi, C

Bilyk, CL

Birmingham, SJ

Bishop, TM

Boswell, RLD

Boyce, SK

Brown, CL

Cameron, DN

Cash, MC

Colbeck, R

Cormann, M

Edwards, S

Farrell, D

Fawcett, DJ

Fifield, MP

Gallacher, AM

Johnston, D

Joyce, B

Kroger, H

Ludwig, JW

Lundy, KA

Macdonald, ID

Madigan, JJ

McEwen, A (teller)

McKenzie, B

McLucas, J

Moore, CM

Nash, F

Parry, S

Polley, H

Pratt, LC

Ryan, SM

Scullion, NG

Singh, LM

Stephens, U

Thistlethwaite, M

Urquhart, AE

Williams, JR

 

NOES

Brown, RJ

Di Natale, R

Hanson-Young, SC

Ludlam, S

Milne, C

Rhiannon, L

Siewert, R (teller)

Waters, LJ

Wright, PL

Question agreed to.

Senator ABETZ (Tasmania‚ÄĒLeader of the ¬†Opposition in the Senate) (15:59): I seek leave to ¬†move a motion condemning the Australian Greens and ¬†their leader for failing to condemn the vile boycott, ¬†divestment and sanctions, or BDS, campaign against ¬†Israel.

Leave not granted.

Suspension of Standing Orders

Senator ABETZ (Tasmania‚ÄĒLeader of the ¬†Opposition in the Senate) (14:36): Pursuant to ¬†contingent notice of motion, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as ¬†would prevent me moving a motion to provide for the ¬†consideration of a matter‚ÄĒnamely, a motion to give ¬†precedence to a motion condemning the Australian Greens ¬†and their leader for failing to condemn the vile boycott, ¬†divestment and sanctions, or BDS, campaign against Israel.

Australia rightly celebrates a robust and diverse ¬†democracy. That is healthy. What is not healthy and is ¬†indeed destructive for our democracy is when leaders ¬†failed to condemn that which is vile and detestable, ¬†when they fail to call that which is vile and detestable ¬†what it is‚ÄĒnamely, vile and detestable. There is no ¬†description other than ‘vile and detestable’ for the BDS ¬†campaign against Israel, a campaign shamefully aided ¬†and abetted by the Australian Greens. That is why this ¬†Senate needs to bring the Australian Greens to account.

It is heart-warming to note that at least one Green in ¬†New South Wales has reservations about this vile and ¬†detestable campaign‚ÄĒand, if you were to believe ¬†Senator Bob Brown’s public utterances, you would ¬†believe that he does too. Indeed, Senator Brown is on ¬†record as saying he and his party do not support BDS. ¬†When asked by Ali Moore on Lateline:

Do you support the policy that New South Wales Greens ¬†have for a boycott‚ÄĒ

referring to the BDS‚ÄĒSenator Brown replied:

No, I don’t, and I’ve said this before publicly, Ali, that it was ¬†rejected by the Australian Greens Council last year.

A great answer but for one fact: alas, it was false on ¬†both counts. Today’s motion was as clear cut as any. It ¬†was a clear-cut invitation for Senator Brown and the ¬†Greens to be as good as his word in that interview‚ÄĒ that you condemn the BDS. You see, Senator Brown ¬†has in his party senators willing to address rallies ¬†where the flag of Israel is disfigured; the Star of David ¬†is taken out and replaced by a swastika. He has ¬†senators that support the boycotting of Jewish ¬†businesses in Australia. When someone like Paul Kelly ¬†asked one of these senators, ‘You are prepared to target ¬†and boycott individual businesses?’ the senator ¬†responded:

… I see the value of that tactic as a way to promoting  Palestinian human rights.

Further, the senator was asked:

Don’t you think that is very divisive, to actually do ¬†something like that given the history, don’t you think that’s ¬†an exceptionally divisive step?

The senator‚ÄĒno prizes for guessing Senator ¬†Rhiannon‚ÄĒsaid:

Not at all.

That was the shameful response. There you have it.

What is worse, the Greens leader himself sneaks ¬†onto the Notice Paper question No. 1095‚ÄĒyet this ¬†time without the fanfare of a media release. And what ¬†is the question asked of the Minister for Trade? ¬†Amongst other things, it is asking for a list of products ¬†imported into Australia from Israeli settlements in the ¬†occupied territories, so-called, and the list goes on. It is ¬†clear that Senator Bob Brown simply says one thing ¬†under the pressure of an interview and votes in the ¬†exact opposite manner on each and every occasion he ¬†is given the opportunity to put his vote where his ¬†mouth is. He puts his vote where his questions on the

Notice Paper are and where his heart actually lies in  this matter. Today, in one of the most benign BDS  motions, there is the opportunity for the Greens to  actually support one of their own in condemning this  vile, destructive, divisive campaign. But, no, the  Greens could not bring themselves to do so.

This is a matter of urgency. This is a matter on  which the Senate should move a motion to condemn  the Australian Greens and their leader. Sure, Australia  has a robust, vibrant democracy, but it should not  tolerate the boycotting of businesses because their  ownership is Jewish. I think we know enough about  world history to never go down that track as a country.  I commend the motion to the Senate.

Senator BOB BROWN (Tasmania‚ÄĒLeader of the ¬†Australian Greens) (16:05): What we have just ¬†heard‚ÄĒ

Opposition senators: Is the truth.

Senator BOB BROWN: is hectoring, an untoward  diatribe from the Leader of the Opposition in the  Senate utilising a great concern around the world about  its inability to settle the Middle East question, the  travail of the Palestinian people and the security of the  people of Israel.

Opposition senators interjecting‚ÄĒ

Senator BOB BROWN: You will note, Mr Deputy ¬†President, that we listened to the bombast‚ÄĒ

Opposition senators interjecting‚ÄĒ

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! Just a  moment, Senator Brown. Senators on my left: Senator  Abetz was heard in silence and I think Senator Brown  deserves the same courtesy.

Senator BOB BROWN: We listened to that ¬†bombast and disgraceful delivery to this Senate from ¬†Senator Abetz, who, of all people, should not be ¬†hectoring the Greens about their associations. I say to ¬†Senator Abetz: he is associated in this chamber with ¬†people whose behaviour means he himself needs to be ¬†put under scrutiny. Let me name, for one, Senator ¬†Boswell, who in this chamber yesterday, while you ¬†were not in the chair, Deputy President, said this‚ÄĒ

Senator Ian Macdonald: Mr Deputy President, I ¬†raise a point of order. The Greens political party leader ¬†has been here long enough to know that this is a debate ¬†not on the substantive issue but on whether standing ¬†orders should be set aside, and how‚ÄĒ

Senator Siewert: Oh, come on! What do you think  Eric Abetz just did?

Senator Ian Macdonald: Well why didn’t you take ¬†a point of order? I cannot see how, in any way, ¬†attacking Senator Boswell personally can contribute to ¬†the debate on whether standing orders should or should ¬†not be set aside.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: There is no point of  order. It is traditional that debate on these types of  motions be wide ranging.

Senator BOB BROWN: Senator Boswell said that ¬†‘the Greens do not want to do the right thing’; ‘the ¬†Greens want to intimidate Jewish business’; ‘this is ¬†1939 revisited’. Senator Milne took a point of order, ¬†which was not acted upon by the chair. I ask you, Mr ¬†Deputy President, to seek the judgement of the ¬†President on those three sentences and whether they ¬†ought to be allowed in this place. What we are seeing ¬†here is a totally disgraceful debasement of the way in ¬†which this house works‚ÄĒby innuendo, hatred, use of ¬†the word ‘vile’, inference across the chamber against ¬†honourable senators‚ÄĒand the diversion of a debate ¬†that is about the healing of wounds in the Middle East ¬†and about what we can do in this chamber to help see ¬†the Palestinians have statehood in their own right and ¬†the Israelis, with their statehood, being able to live ¬†together with the Palestinians, instead of seeing, in ¬†Senator Abetz’s own words, the vilest effort to ¬†introduce into this chamber a denigration of ¬†honourable members of the Senate.

The Greens take second place to none in moving in ¬†this chamber to have the issue of Palestine and Israel ¬†maturely debated. Time and time again these attempts ¬†are voted down by both the major parties. It is our job ¬†as senators to debate the issue of the Middle East, ¬†because it concerns the peace of the world. What we ¬†are getting in the motion that has just gone through the ¬†Senate and this motion from Senator Abetz is a tawdry ¬†descent into disgraceful calumny‚ÄĒunwarranted, ¬†unjustified and totally undignified‚ÄĒagainst fellow ¬†senators. They will not debate the substantive issue but ¬†they want to come in here with this sort of ¬†reprehensible bombast.

That is up to senators, but I want to ask, in the time ¬†available: what about Senator Boswell’s reference to ¬†the ACCC yesterday, which answered a request from ¬†this chamber? Senator Boswell says that the ACCC ¬†should have taken action because the majority of this ¬†chamber put a reference to it. What Senator Boswell is ¬†saying is that politics should rule the outcome of the ¬†ACCC, not the ACCC’s ability to divine what it should ¬†do itself. Then Senator Boswell went on to refer to the ¬†Chairman of the ACCC, Mr Sims, as wanting to act ¬†like Pontius Pilate. That is disgraceful and ¬†reprehensible calumny of somebody who is not even in ¬†the chamber, in the pursuit of a political point of view. ¬†It was reprehensible, disgusting and untoward ¬†behaviour in this chamber. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Brown, the  President will be made aware of the matters you raise  and if he wishes to report back to the chamber he will.

Senator BOSWELL (Queensland) (16:11): The  motion I moved was actually congratulating one of

¬†Senator Brown’s members of parliament. How anyone ¬†can construe that as an unmitigated attack on the ¬†Greens is beyond comprehension. Senator Brown is ¬†floundering, and he is as guilty as sin on this. I have in ¬†my possession photographs taken with a swastika ¬†superimposed on a Jewish flag. I have here a Star of ¬†David superimposed over a pig on a placard. That is ¬†shameful from anyone’s perspective. I know Senator ¬†Milne is terrified about this and worried about it. She is ¬†a decent woman and does not want to be associated ¬†with this. I do not blame her for one minute.

This matter has to be debated. We have to find out ¬†one way or the other whether Senator Brown and his ¬†party believe in a BDS‚ÄĒa sanction over all Israeli ¬†businesses and all trade with Israel and all sporting ¬†connections. Senator Brown says he does not but every ¬†time he is put to the test he goes down. Every time he ¬†is requested to make a decision in the Senate he votes ¬†against it. He voted against it again today. It is no good ¬†going out there and every time you meet the press ¬†saying you have pulled Senator Rhiannon into line and ¬†you have spoken harshly with her and you have had ¬†vigorous debates. She thumbs her nose at you ¬†continually. She has said there has never, ever been a ¬†decision on the BDS in the Greens‚ÄĒit has never been ¬†voted on. If you do not have the guts to put a ¬†proposition to your own party, if you cannot go to your ¬†own party and put up a motion without fear of it being ¬†defeated, then you are not a leader’s bootlace. You are ¬†a chameleon‚ÄĒyou do not know whether you are for ¬†something or you are against something. You are being ¬†exposed as a great fraud.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Boswell,  please address your remarks through the chair, not  directly across the chamber.

Senator BOSWELL: I am sorry, Mr Deputy ¬†President. This has been an ongoing problem for this ¬†parliament and this chamber. Senator Brown attracts ¬†eight or nine per cent of the vote. What the people who ¬†support the Greens want to know is whether the Greens ¬†are an environment party, a green party, or whether ¬†they are an anti-Semitic, extreme Labor party‚ÄĒmore ¬†than Labor; more than Dougie Cameron; he is to the ¬†left but the Greens are to the left of the left of the left ¬†of the Left. We have to know, and this is why this ¬†motion of censure has to be put to the Senate. It is ¬†going to be interesting to see where the Labor Party ¬†goes on this. I know they are going to be stuck between ¬†a rock and hard place. I hope they have the courage of ¬†their convictions and vote the same way as they voted ¬†in the last motion. I have warned the Labor Party time ¬†and time again. In fact the last time I warned them I ¬†said: ‘Your vote is going down like a lift. You’re on 34 ¬†per cent. It’s time you stood up to the Greens. It’s time ¬†you threw out the anchor. It’s time to reclaim your own ¬†territory.’ There was no acceptance of me warning ¬†them. Now their vote is down to 25 per cent or, if you ¬†take the Greens two per cent that has been transferred, ¬†it is 27 per cent. You are going down like a brick. You ¬†have been warned to disassociate yourselves from the ¬†Greens and you are paying the price now because you ¬†will not take any notice of the warning.

We need this motion to be determined by this  parliament of whether the Greens should be censured  for the racist, anti-Semitic carryings-on over the last  six months when their members of parliament have  addressed anti-Israel rallies. We want to know what the  parliament wants and whether the parliament  condemns them. I certainly condemn them. I believe  the parliament should condemn them in the strongest  possible terms.

Senator LUDWIG (Queensland‚ÄĒMinister for ¬†Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Manager of ¬†Government Business in the Senate and Minister ¬†Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods ¬†Recovery) (16:16): Can I inject some sense into this ¬†debate? The Australian government has repeatedly ¬†condemned the boycotts, divestments and sanctions, all ¬†of which are referred to as the BDS campaign. We ¬†supported Senator Boswell’s motion, as we have ¬†supported similar motions in this place previously. I ¬†think it is important to put that on record. We do, ¬†however, share some concerns that Senator Brown has ¬†raised regarding Senator Boswell’s speech to this place ¬†yesterday afternoon. For the record it is worth saying ¬†that the government respects the role and the work of ¬†the Chairman of the Australian Competition and ¬†Consumer Commission, the government acknowledges ¬†that the Victorian Police have acted in a professional ¬†matter in handling these inappropriate protests and the ¬†government believes that Senator Boswell’s ¬†characterisation, yesterday, of the Greens could be ¬†viewed as offensive by many.

In opposing the BDS campaign the government does  not want our language or conduct, particularly in this  place, to be lowered to that used in the BDS  campaigns. From some of the language that is being  used I am concerned that we are now entertaining a  similar type of campaign in language that the BDS  uses. I raise that as a caution.

The opposition are seeking to act without notice. It  is the usual thing in this place to give people notice of  their intention to suspend the business of parliament so  that they can have a debate. That was not done in this  instance. Of course, others who have not had an  opportunity of being present to listen to the issue being  raised may want to contribute to the debate. But that is  not the germane point.

We also have a situation where this government  does have a legislative program to proceed with. It  does want to continue with the bills on the program.  The opposition have repeatedly frustrated the  government in dealing with its legislative program.

 They have filibustered through a range of bills. They  are now, without notice, seeking to claim that this  matter should be dealt with today. The opposition do  have an ability to bring this on for debate.

Opposition senators interjecting‚ÄĒ

Senator LUDWIG: You can bring it on. You can ¬†give notice of this matter. You can then have it debated ¬†on Thursday, which is general business, which is the ¬†time available for you to have that debate. You could ¬†do it at that point. You know from the opposition’s ¬†perspective that that is the opportunity you have to ¬†debate. But you have not taken that course. You have ¬†come into this chamber and without notice sought to ¬†disrupt the program with your own issue. That is why ¬†we will not support the motion.

What we are supposed to hear from the opposition, ¬†if they do want to suspend, is a cogent argument on the ¬†suspension rather than the substantive matter. All we ¬†got was the substantive and not a cogent reason. ¬†Senator Abetz used the term ‘urgent’. This is not a ¬†requirement for an urgent motion. It is simply a ¬†suspension to have this motion dealt with. There is no ¬†requirement of urgency in respect of that. There is an ¬†opportunity to give notice and have the debate on ¬†Thursday with a general business notice.

The government will not be supporting a position to ¬†up-end this parliament when there are processes ¬†available for you to debate this matter. You have been ¬†throwing out the anchor yourselves, you do not want to ¬†debate the carbon price, you do not want to debate ¬†legislation in this chamber. You want to simply throw ¬†up any matter to debate other than the legislative ¬†program that this government has put in place. You ¬†have done it in such a way, today, which also denies ¬†other senators the ability to participate in the debate. If ¬†you are fair dinkum about this, why don’t you put a ¬†notice of motion in and have it debated in general ¬†business on Thursday as you could do?

Opposition senators interjecting‚ÄĒ

Senator LUDWIG: We have not heard the ¬†argument. Why don’t you test the water? Because you ¬†do not want to test the water. (Time expired)

Senator FIFIELD (Victoria‚ÄĒManager of ¬†Opposition Business in the Senate) (16:21): Let us be ¬†absolutely clear: the BDS campaign is part of an ¬†orchestrated campaign to delegitimise the state of ¬†Israel. Senators, including Senator Brown, who refuse ¬†to condemn the BDS movement are well deserving of a ¬†motion that decries their incapacity to condemn the ¬†BDS movement. That is why a suspension of standing ¬†orders should be granted.

There is no human rights element to BDS. There is  no high purpose or motivation behind the movement. It  dresses itself up in the clothes of the anti-apartheid  movement, that great and successful movement that  sought to fight the abomination of separate racial  development in South Africa. But in dressing itself up  in the mantle of the anti-apartheid movement, it  debases and devalues that noble campaign that was  successful in ending apartheid in South Africa. There is  no comparison and there can be no comparison  between the state of Israel and apartheid era South  Africa. Israel is a free and democratic state. The rule of  law prevails. There is freedom of speech. There is  freedom of association. There is freedom of assembly.  South Africa was a nation where citizens were not all  equal before the law. The Middle East, in contrast, is a  land where two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians,  ultimately seek a two-state solution; they seek two  states to live side by side in peace and security.  Sanctions, boycotts and divestments will not help the  creation of a two-state solution, a two-state solution  which I support, a two-state solution which everyone  on this side of the chamber supports. Neither will  denying the legitimacy of the state of Israel help  achieve the goal of a Palestinian state. The real goal of  those who support BDS is not a two-state solution. The  movement is not pro-peace, the movement is not pro- Palestinian, the movement is unequivocally and  unashamedly anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish.

Although I think boycotts are misguided, people  should feel free to buy or not buy whatever product  they want. What must be condemned are secondary  boycotts. What must be condemned is intimidation.  What must be condemned is denigration of a people.  What must be condemned are lies about a nation. What  must be condemned are the shadows of anti-Semitism,  which we see in the placards outside Max Brenner  coffee shops around the world. What must be  condemned is that shadow of anti-Semitism, which we  hear in the chants and the cries of those who are  protesting outside legitimate businesses that are simply  trying to earn an income, make a living and employ  people. In Australia we must stand against those who  seek to prevent freedom of association. That is what  they seek to do by these secondary boycotts. They seek  to prevent people going into a shop of their choice.  That is opposing freedom of association.

What astounds me about the response of the  Australian Greens today is that the motion that Senator  Boswell moved actually seeks to praise a member of  the Australian Greens. I could not think of a more  benign motion from the point of view of the Australian  Greens. This is a motion that Senator Brown should  have embraced. Senator Brown has sought to  differentiate himself from the New South Wales  Greens. He has sought to differentiate himself from  Marrickville Council. He has sought to differentiate  himself from the Greens candidate for the seat of  Marrickville in the New South Wales state election.  Today what he has done is line up fairly and squarely with Marrickville Council, with the Greens former  candidate and with the BDS movement.

No nation is perfect. The nation of Israel is not  perfect. It does not claim to be. But it is free and it is  democratic. It deserves the support of the Australian  nation. As a friend we can make criticisms, but we  should stand by Israel and its right to exist.

Senator MILNE (Tasmania‚ÄĒDeputy Leader of the ¬†Australian Greens) (16:26): I rise today to note what is ¬†one of the lowest points of Senate debate since I took ¬†my Senate seat in 2005. I say it is one of the lowest ¬†moments because those of us who do have a memory ¬†of history, those of us who do know what happened in ¬†1939, those of us who do know what happened with ¬†the Nazi atrocities in 1939 and thereafter during the ¬†Second World War find it absolutely despicable that ¬†people can stand up and barter that as if it were an ¬†appropriate way of condemning or commenting on ¬†another political party. I have stood in Pere-Lachaise ¬†Cemetery in Paris and I have seen where the ¬†Resistance were shot against a wall. I taught at ¬†Devonport High School with an elderly gentleman who ¬†lived through the Crystal Night. I have known those ¬†people and I have spoken with those people and looked ¬†at that over the years. I know precisely about the ¬†cruelty of the Nazis to the Jews in the Second World ¬†War. I have witnessed and listened to those stories and ¬†I find it despicable in the extreme that every last one of ¬†you stand over there and try to point fingers about ¬†people in this parliament in this day and age, when the ¬†issue we should be debating is the question of ¬†Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution in the ¬†Middle East. That is the debate.

 I am glad to hear that the coalition supports the two- state solution, because it is not in their policy platform.  They have got a chance to prove it, as has the  government, because there is a vote coming up in the  United Nations next month on Palestinian statehood. If  you believe in a two-state solution, you would be  standing up saying yes. We have an opportunity as a  nation in the United Nations to stand up and support  that statehood next month. That is the debate we  should be having right now, not the despicable  behaviour we have witnessed from the Liberal Party.

¬†The words ‘boycott’ and ‘secondary boycott’ have ¬†been thrown around here as if it is a matter of fact. I ¬†wish to remind the Senate that the letter from the ¬†ACCC states the absolute contrary. You might not like ¬†what the ACCC has to say, but the ACCC has come ¬†out with a very strong judgment saying it is not the ¬†boycott‚ÄĒ

¬†Senator Boswell interjecting‚ÄĒ

 Senator MILNE: and that is why Senator Boswell  is disappointed and that is why he has spoken so  disparagingly of the new Chairman of the ACCC, Rod  Sims, because he does not like what the ACC has had  to say. But the letter of the ACCC says:

 Section 45D of the Act relevantly prohibits a person in  concert with a second person from engaging in conduct that  hinders or prevents a third person from acquiring goods or  services from a fourth person and that is engaged in for the  purpose, and would have or be likely to have the effect, of  causing substantial loss or damage to the business of the  fourth person.

 This is the relevant paragraph:

 After a careful assessment the ACCC considers that the  protest activity, while it may have physically hindered or  prevented potential customers from entering a Max Brenner  store and acquiring goods during the protest, is unlikely to  have had the effect of causing substantial loss or damage to  the business of Max Brenner such as to constitute a  contravention of section 45D of the Act.

There is no secondary boycott. There is no boycott.  There is an opportunity for the coalition to join with  the Greens and urge the government to vote for  statehood for the Palestinian people in the vote in the  United Nations next month.

Senator Abetz interjecting‚ÄĒ

Senator MILNE: I urge the coalition to abandon ¬†this depth that they have sunk to in trying to suggest ¬†that anybody in this parliament‚ÄĒanybody in this ¬†parliament, Senator Abetz‚ÄĒhas any sympathy with the ¬†Nazis, because that is not the case and it is a grossly ¬†offensive way to treat the Senate chamber and the ¬†Australian people who elected us and who expect us to ¬†behave in a responsible manner. This is a very low ¬†point in the Senate.(Time expired)

Question put:

That the motion (Senator Abetz’s) be agreed to.

The Senate divided [16:36]

(The President: Senator the Hon. John Hogg)

Ayes …………………. 29

Noes …………………. 34

Majority ……………. 5

AYES

Abetz, E

Bernardi, C

Birmingham, SJ

Boswell, RLD

Boyce, SK

Brandis, GH

Bushby, DC

Cash, MC

Colbeck, R

Cormann, M

Edwards, S

Eggleston, A

Fawcett, DJ

Fierravanti-Wells, C

Fifield, MP

Humphries, G

Johnston, D

Joyce, B

Kroger, H (teller)

Macdonald, ID

Madigan, JJ

Mason, B

McKenzie, B

Nash, F

Parry, S

Ronaldson, M

Ryan, SM

Scullion, NG

Williams, JR

 

NOES

Arbib, MV

Bilyk, CL

Bishop, TM

Brown, CL

Brown, RJ

Cameron, DN

Collins, JMA

Crossin, P

Di Natale, R

Farrell, D

Faulkner, J

Feeney, D

Furner, ML

Gallacher, AM

Hanson-Young, SC

Hogg, JJ

Ludlam, S

Ludwig, JW

Lundy, KA

Marshall, GM

McEwen, A (teller)

McLucas, J

Milne, C

Moore, CM

Polley, H

Pratt, LC

Rhiannon, L

Siewert, R

Singh, LM

Stephens, U

Thistlethwaite, M

Urquhart, AE

Waters, LJ

Wright, PL

 

PAIRS

Adams, J

Conroy, SM

Fisher, M

Wong, P

Heffernan, W

Evans, C

Payne, MA

Sterle, G

 Senator Carr did not vote, to compensate for the  vacancy caused by the Resignation of Senator Coonan.

 Question negatived.

 PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS

 Senator BOSWELL (Queensland) (16:39): Mr  President, I refer to standing order 191. Part of my  speech was misquoted or misunderstood by Senator  Bob Brown and by Senator Ludwig and I seek  permission to clarify it.

 The PRESIDENT: You need leave.

 Senator BOSWELL: I understand I do not leave  under standing order 191.

 The PRESIDENT: Well, I understand you do.  Standing order 191 applies, I am told, only during the  actual debate. The debate has terminated. I am  suggesting, Senator Boswell, that you need to seek  leave.

Senator BOSWELL: Mr President, I seek leave.

Leave not granted.

The PRESIDENT: Senator, 191 allows you to be  heard in the debate for a second time.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Mr President, I rise on a  point of order. Standing order 191 says this, and I will  read it in full:

A senator who has spoken to a question may again be heard, ¬†to explain some material part of the senator‚Äôs speech which ¬†has been misquoted or misunderstood, but shall not introduce ¬†any new matter, or interrupt any senator speaking, and no ¬†debatable matter shall be brought forward or debate arise …

Ever since Senator Boswell was clearly misquoted by ¬†Senator Brown‚ÄĒand deliberately I suggest‚ÄĒthere ¬†have been other people speaking. The words of the ¬†standing order clearly make no reference to speaking in ¬†the same debate. I am not sure quite where that comes ¬†from. It does not say it in the words of the standing ¬†order. If you are suggesting to me that there is some ¬†precedent that should be followed then I cannot see ¬†how any precedent could overcome the clear sense of ¬†the words there. Senator Boswell was not able to ¬†interrupt any other speaker speaking and ever since he ¬†was misquoted other speakers have been speaking and ¬†then there was a vote called and he was unable to do it ¬†then and he has done it at the very first time that he has ¬†possibly had the opportunity to do it. Mr President, I ¬†think procedural fairness requires that where Senator ¬†Boswell claims to have been misquoted‚ÄĒand I am ¬†sure he has been‚ÄĒhe should be given the opportunity ¬†of putting it on the record.

Senator Bob Brown: On a point of order, Mr  President, I ask that Senator Macdonald withdraw the  comment that I deliberately misquoted somebody. I did  not, and that is a reflection on another member of this  place and should be withdrawn.

The PRESIDENT: That should be withdrawn.

Senator Ian Macdonald: I withdraw it, Mr  President.

The PRESIDENT: I have sought the advice of the  clerk at the table and I must say that on my reading of  this, without going to Odgers to look at the immediate  precedent, I note it says:

A senator who has spoken to a question may again be heard ¬†…

I am told that the word ‘again’ implies that is within the ¬†context of the debate and that the question has been ¬†disposed of by the vote that has just taken place. ¬†Secondly, Senator Boswell did seek‚ÄĒI presume under ¬†190, ‘Personal explanations’‚ÄĒ

Senator BOSWELL: 191.

The PRESIDENT: Yes, but you then sought it by ¬†leave. I am interpreting it‚ÄĒsay if I am interpreting ¬†wrongly‚ÄĒthat if you are doing it under 191 leave was ¬†not granted. If you are doing it under standing order ¬†190, ‘Personal explanations’, it says:

By leave of the Senate, a senator may explain matters of a ¬†personal nature, although there is no question before the ¬†Senate, …That is the point that is made in 190. It goes on:

but such matters may not be debated.

Say you had sought that under 190; 190 is by leave.

Senator BOSWELL: I seek leave under standing  order 190.

The PRESIDENT: Is leave granted?

Senator Hanson-Young: No.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Mr President, I rise on a  point of order. I disagree with your ruling but it is your  ruling, although I would urge you not to get too  attached to it. In the situation that Senator Boswell has  found himself in, can you indicate whether the standing order requires that he cannot interrupt any other  senator? In all of the instances in the time since  Senator Boswell was misquoted there have been people  speaking, so he has had no opportunity until now.  There was a vote called and he could not do it then. As  soon as the vote was over, he exercised his rights under  191 and was refused. How could anyone who has been  misquoted possibly have remedies in this chamber?

The PRESIDENT: I will now assist by going to  Odgers:

A senator who has spoken to a question before the Senate  may explain, without leave, some part of the senator’s  speech which has been misquoted or misunderstood, but may  not interrupt a senator speaking or introduce any new or  debatable matter (SO 191). This right to correct  misquotations, misunderstandings and, in practice,  misrepresentations of a senator’s words may be used only  where a senator has spoken in a debate, and must be used  during that debate or at the conclusion of the debate. It  cannot be used to respond to matters in debates which have  occurred at an earlier stage in the proceedings. It also cannot  be used simply to respond to arguments raised in debate; to  use the procedure a senator must claim to be misquoted,  misunderstood or misrepresented.

That is the ruling of President Baker. I must say that I  would still have to stick with what I had said, Senator  Macdonald.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Mr President, you have ¬†just read out from Odgers ‘or at the conclusion of the ¬†debate’.

The PRESIDENT: Yes.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Isn’t that now? The ¬†debate has been concluded. It has been voted upon and ¬†this is the very next opportunity.

The PRESIDENT: The conclusion of the debate is ¬†before the vote. I will go away and review that, but that ¬†is the best advice I have and my reading of it would ¬†warrant me‚ÄĒ

Senator Ian Macdonald: How do you get that the  debate has concluded?

The PRESIDENT: I am not going to enter into a  debate. You have asked me to say what the situation is.  I have made it clear what the situation is. The debate  had concluded.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Yes, and this is the exact  next moment.

The PRESIDENT: No, no. We are now debating  the debate.

Senator BOSWELL: Pursuant to contingent notice  of motion, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as  would prevent me from making a personal explanation.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Boswell.

Senator BOSWELL: Thank you, Mr President. In ¬†Senator Brown’s amendment to my notice of motion, ¬†he said ‘Senator Boswell’s rejection of the Victoria ¬†Police as doing their job’. What I said in the Senate ¬†was:

… Victoria Police might do it and they should do it and they ¬†have done it‚ÄĒand good luck to them. They have done it ¬†efficiently and effectively …

That is hardly condemning the Victoria Police. It is  actually praising the Victoria Police. If Senator Brown  had any decency, he would get up and apologise for  misquoting me. Senator Ludwig did misquote me but  he was going off Senator Brown. I will wait for your  apology, too, Senator.

Senator Ludwig interjecting‚ÄĒ

Senator BOSWELL: I suspect I will not, because  you are dead wrong. My personal explanation is that I  have been misrepresented. It will be on the record that  I have criticised the Victorian police, when in actual  fact I have praised the Victoria Police to high heaven.

 Question negatived.


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