Senate debates

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Questions without Notice: Additional Answers

Cambodia: Election

3:14 pm

Photo of Christine MilneChristine Milne (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. I appreciate that and I thank the Senate on this occasion. Sam Rainsy is the leader of the opposition in Cambodia. An election was held on 13 July last year. Subsequent to that, many irregularities in the election were identified. However, since the period to which Senator Brandis refers, there has been a complete breakdown in negotiations between the government and the opposition in Cambodia to actually resolve those election irregularities. That is why there has been a call for the international community to step up efforts to put pressure on Prime Minister Hun Sen to now reform the electoral commission. That is, the United Nations Special Rapporteur came out and said that, firstly, the electoral commission should be reformed and that an independent electoral commission be run. Secondly, there needs to be an international investigation into the election irregularities, ensuring that there is in fact an early election in Cambodia following the reform of the electoral commission.

So, whilst I thank Senator Brandis and the minister for that further information, it implies that the Australian government is going to stand by and allow this stalemate to continue. We need to ensure that we have intervention. There is now a growing body of opinion around the world that there should be an independent investigation. I call, again, on the government to take a leading role in the same way that Australia took a leading role in the Paris Peace Accord in 1991. Australia has very strong role to play in furthering the democracy of Cambodia. I would urge the minister to meet with Mr Rainsy while he is in Australia at the moment.


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