Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 July 2024


Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Order for the Production of Documents

3:41 pm

Photo of Dave SharmaDave Sharma (NSW, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That there be laid on the table by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, by no later than 5 pm on 15 July 2024, a document showing the full cost of the charter flight that conveyed Ambassador Kevin Rudd, High Commissioner Stephen Smith, Mr Julian Assange and others from the United Kingdom to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and onto Australia, including:

(a) the full cost of Mr Rudd and Mr Smith's travel with Mr Assange;

(b) any additional costs for Australian officials associated with the travel;

(c) the total costs being paid or reimbursed by taxpayers; and

(d) the itemised costs being borne by other parties, and the identity of each of those parties.

3:42 pm

Photo of David ShoebridgeDavid Shoebridge (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a one-minute explanation on this.

Photo of Sue LinesSue Lines (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of David ShoebridgeDavid Shoebridge (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

The Greens will be supporting this motion because we believe in transparency of the cost of flights such as this, but we note a couple of critical points. The overwhelming cost of this flight has been paid for by Julian Assange himself and had to be crowdfunded by millions of supporters across the country. It was some US$520,000 for the privilege, so to speak, of being flown out of a prison. He had to pay more than half a million US dollars to get himself out of prison and has had to crowdfund that. The coalition are seeking to somehow put that at the foot of the Australian government. It was a US government requirement that Assange pay for this himself. Thank goodness the Australian government supported it. On their own watch, the coalition quite rightly paid for the costs of flying Kylie Moore-Gilbert to freedom in Australia too. If it's good for one, it's good for the other.

Question agreed to.