Senate debates

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Questions without Notice: Additional Answers

Conservative Political Action Conference

4:11 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business) Share this | | Hansard source

I table a response to questions taken on notice during question time on 31 July 2019 asked by Senators Wong and Keneally relating to the Conservative Political Action Conference. I seek leave to have the document incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows—

Dear Mr President

I write with regard to questions I took on notice from Senator Wong and Senator Keneally on Wednesday, 31 July 2019 on the matter of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

The Government fundamentally believes in and supports the principles of freedom of thought, speech, expression and association. It is those freedoms which underpin a strong and healthy democracy, where bad views and bad ideas can be contested and refuted.

We have always assumed that there was bipartisan support for those democratic principles of freedom of thought, speech, expression and association. In particular given the very strong recent statements by Opposition members in defence of those principles, especially the freedom of association.

The attendance of current and former members and senators at CPAC is a matter for those individuals. Their attendance at this conference does not imply agreement or endorsement with the views of any of the other speakers attending in any way.

The Government will always stand against divisive, inflammatory commentary which seeks to incite hatred or which seeks to vilify people.

However, the way to defeat bad ideas, bad arguments and unacceptable views is through debate, especially with those we disagree with. It is not by limiting our conversations only to those who at all times share all of our views.

I have copied this letter to Senator Wong and the Prime Minister.