Wednesday, 27 June 2018
President of the United States of America
Mr President, I take a point of order. Under standing order 193, regardless of the timing of the tabling of the motion and the vote yesterday, this motion now constitutes a reflection on the vote of the Senate. As such, I'd ask whether it is actually in order.
From a quick read of this, Senator Bernardi, I'm not certain that this constitutes a reflection in the terms of the standing orders. Senator Di Natale, you sought leave for the motion to be taken as formal. Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal? There being none, I call Senator Di Natale.
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the US President has expressed interest in visiting Australia in November,
(ii) some have called upon the Government and Presiding Officers to extend an invitation to President Trump to address a joint meeting of the Australian Parliament, and
(iii) the Speaker of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, commented in relation to Mr Trump's postponed visit to the UK that "an address to both Houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honour… my view is that he has not earned that honour";
(b) believes that an invitation to President Trump to visit Australia, and to address a joint meeting of Parliament, would represent the normalisation of racism, bigotry and misogyny; and
(c) calls on the Government to rule out:
(i) extending an official invitation to President Trump to visit Australia, and
(ii) conferring him the honour of an address to a joint meeting of Parliament.
Mr President, just before we proceed, may I ask for you to reflect on your ruling in regard to that motion, because, by any stretch of the imagination, the Senate yesterday voted unanimously to ask the government to extend an invitation to the President of the United States to address a joint sitting of parliament, given that circumstance. In that motion, the Greens' motion, which was defeated, it says that the Senate:
… believes that an invitation to President Trump to visit Australia, and to address a joint meeting of Parliament, would represent the normalisation of racism, bigotry and misogyny …
I think that clearly does reflect on a decision of the Senate, and I would ask you to consider that in an abundance of time.
I will consider that, Senator Bernardi. I'm guided by the principle that the Senate is entitled to change its mind. In this case, the motion was negatived. But I will come back to the chamber if there is any difference to what I've said in my on-the-run advice to you of a few minutes ago.