Tuesday, 11 October 2016
United States Presidential Election
That the Senate—
(a) condemns the misogynistic, hateful comments made by the Republican candidate for President of the United States of America, Mr Donald Trump, about women and minorities, including the remarks revealed over the weekend that clearly describe sexual assault;
(b) reflects on the divisive, destructive impact that hate speech from political candidates and members of elected office has on our community;
(c) requests that every member of the Senate refrain from making racist, sexist comments, both in this chamber and outside it; and
(d) calls on the Government to join the Senate in its condemnation of both Mr Donald Trump and hate speech in all its forms.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
What we are talking about here is a motion that decries the sexist language—and, in many cases, racist language—that has been used during the American presidential debate. I do not think there should be any debate about whether the Australian Senate should condemn that language; of course it should—it is unacceptable, it is vile, it is vulgar, it is misogynist and it has no place in modern society. The pattern emerging from the coalition—that it refuses to engage in debating or discussing any motions that have a foreign policy element—is one that we are deeply concerned about. This is a chamber where these issues need to be raised. We quietly raise with the coalition that, in future, we will be using the opportunity to suspend standing orders if they continue to deny leave on these sorts of motions.
The government did not support this motion being taken as formal as it is not the role of the Australian Senate to provide a running commentary on the United States presidential election. Mr Trump's comments from 2005 have been condemned in the strongest terms. He has apologised for his remarks and acknowledged that they were inappropriate. The election in the United States is a matter for the people of the United States of America. We respect their democratic process. The Australian government will seek to work constructively with whoever is elected President of the United States.
The comments made by Donald Trump, which are addressed in this motion, are repugnant and should be condemned. These comments cannot be excused or dismissed. It should be noted that Donald Trump's comments have not gone unchallenged publicly by the American people, by the media and by his own Republican colleagues. Labor will speak out against all forms of discrimination, vilification and harassment. Labor stands for equality. We pursue tolerance and respect and oppose all attempts to divide Australians by pandering to prejudice. Labor will act against all forms of discrimination and exploitation, including sexual exploitation of women and children. It should be noted the Australia-US alliance is incredibly strong and will remain so regardless of the outcome of the US election.