Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Again we see the government blocking the will of the Senate and refusing to allow us the chance to vote on this important motion. Let's be clear about this: this is about this parliament letting the Kurdish people down again. These are the Kurdish people who have put their lives on the line to help defeat ISIS. They've helped the Yazidi people escape genocide. This is a group of people across the Middle East who have been the victims of genocide in successive parts of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Now Turkey's begun an offensive in one of the most stable and secure parts of Syria. The Syrian people have suffered enough. Turkey's actions seriously risk provoking another humanitarian crisis in Syria. It's jeopardising the peace process in Syria, and Australia must make our concerns known and use all diplomatic means to end Turkey's incursion.
As formal motions cannot be debated or amended they should not deal with complex and contested foreign policy matters which have potential to damage Australia's international relations. The Senate should not vote on such motions without the ability to have a full debate, given the serious and substantial issues involved.
The government is aware of Turkey's ongoing operations in Afrin province in northern Syria, and notes reports of air and ground operations, including the involvement of a Free Syrian Army. We are concerned that violence could escalate further, and call on all actors to exercise restraint and focus on defeating the remnants of ISIL. The ongoing fighting in northern Syria underscores the need for a political solution to end the civil war.