Senate debates

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

MR Liu Xiaobo

3:55 pm

Photo of Bob BrownBob Brown (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—What an extraordinary statement that was from this feckless government on the release of a much more courageous man in Liu Xiaobo, who is currently imprisoned in China, sentenced to 11 years for having the audacity to circulate a charter of democratic rights on behalf of the people of China who want democracy. In the course of that statement, the minister rose to the full confrontation of the Beijing bosses who have organised for Mr Liu Xaiobo to be locked up in this way and said that he was disappointed and concerned. Then he dismissed the Senate right to call for this man to be released immediately. But the government calls for his immediate release.

So what we have here is a government saying that it does not believe that this parliament has rights that the government takes to itself. It does not believe that this parliament and this Senate chamber in particular should have the right of the executive to make statements on issues as important to global democracy as the release of this great figure—this Nelson Mandela of China—who is incarcerated. The government does not believe that this chamber should have the right to express the same sentiment that the minister just expressed. What an extraordinary statement that the minister just made. What an extraordinary statement of arrogance, in amongst the weakness of its approach to China, towards this Senate. The government thinks that it can make that sort of statement but that the Senate should not. The government should be ashamed of itself.

Question put:

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


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