Thursday, 28 June 2018
A decade ago, Labor and the Greens co-signed an invitation to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to visit Australia. It read:
… what Venezuela has been able to achieve in so little time will be a source of inspiration and ideas for many in Australia.
Today Labor and the Greens are joining to deny formality to my motion on Venezuela in order to hide their embarrassment and division. My notice of motion details how the IMF, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have all lambasted the Venezuelan regime.
Last year, the Victorian branch of the CFMEU and the Sydney branch of the Maritime Union of Australia both unanimously resolved to pledge solidarity with the people of Venezuela and their 'Bolivarian revolution' socialist government. Recently the WA CFMEU president, Mr Vinnie Molina, wrote to the Minister for Foreign Affairs urging her to recognise the Venezuelan presidential election— (Time expired)
Labor has denied this motion being taken as a formal motion because we do not believe complex and contested matters, including matters that concern foreign relations, should be dealt with in a way that compels senators to take a binary position on these matters without debate. For that reason, I'm restating and reaffirming Labor's long-held position that complex and contested matters should not be pursued by way of formal motions. With respect to this motion, the partisan language employed is a clear example of why such a motion cannot be dealt with as formal business. However, despite the intemperate language and some questionable assertions of fact, Labor would support the motion substantively.
On 21 May 2018, at the G20 foreign ministers meeting, Australia, together with the governments of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico and the United States, issued a joint statement on Venezuela. The governments stated that they do not recognise the result of the election and that the illegitimate election is a clear confirmation of the breakdown of democratic institutions in Venezuela. Labor supports that statement, and I seek leave to table that statement.