Tuesday, 18 June 2013
I am happy to be contradicted by the whips, but I understand that neither the government nor the opposition will be supporting this motion, so I just want to indicate what it does. It does not actually require the government to do anything, apart from requiring the Attorney-General to make a statement to the Australian people about the degree to which Australia is implicated in the PRISM surveillance scandal that has blown up in the United States. I call on senators as strongly as I possibly can to let this motion go through so that, at the very least, we have a statement from the Attorney-General as to what is actually happening. He can choose to read in the same kind of verbal anaesthetic that we got from Senator Ludwig yesterday if he wants, but, at the very least, it is essential that as senators we hold this government to account to make a statement and put it on the public record, as is happening in parliaments, assemblies and congresses right around the world. It is not enough to pretend that this is simply going to go away.