Monday, 15 February 2021
Statements by Members
India and Myanmar
Darwin is the northern capital of Australia but we are also at the forefront of the Indo-Pacific region. Recently, two of our most important regional partners, India and Myanmar, have experienced significant turbulence. Since November, thousands of Indian farmers have protested proposed agricultural laws. These protests have triggered concerns and anxiety amongst many of my constituents in Darwin and Palmerston, who worry about violence and destabilisation. Our relationship with India is extremely important. That importance continues to grow, yet it's a relationship that those opposite, the Morrison government, continue to neglect. The excellent Varghese report on building stronger trade links with India is just sitting on a shelf collecting dust. We need to do much better than that.
The recent military coup in Myanmar has also been deeply troubling. It represents a dramatic retreat that country has been making from democracy. Yesterday, in my electorate in Darwin, I joined the Myanmar community at a rally to condemn the coup. The voice of the people in Myanmar must be respected and it must be heard. I call on those opposite, the government, to immediately take all steps to work with our international partners to reverse this coup. In both India and Myanmar, the rights of their citizens to be free and to peacefully protest must be respected and enabled.