ADJOURNMENT - United Nations Human Rights Council, Young Liberal Movement, Cancer, Braddon By-Election


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (19:55): This is an adjournment debate. I want to make a couple of comments, first of all, to Senator Anning, to say that Australia was proudly just recently elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Whilst I couldn't necessarily agree with your description of the other participants, I can say that Australia is an acknowledged leader in human rights. We feel that we can make a contribution towards human rights around the world by getting involved in this UN committee. It was an election, and Australia was successful in getting elected. We will bring all of our leadership in the human rights area to the group which you are concerned about and which, in the past, I have been as well.

I just want to say to Senator Steele-John, if he thinks young people don't have a voice, can I suggest that he says to the young people he says that he speaks with that they should join the Young Liberal Movement. There are a lot of young people who do have a very big voice in the politics and the government of the country, and that is the thousands of young people between 16 and 25 who have actually joined the Young Liberal Movement and, in that capacity, have a lot of say and a lot of influence. They tell older parliamentarians like me and Senator Payne what young people are thinking, and we are then able to respect and honour their views.

I want to congratulate Senator Bilyk on the work she does with cancer. It's lovely to hear, on the adjournment debate, the sort of work that Senator Bilyk herself is doing. I only have admiration for her in that capacity and congratulate her. It is much different, though, I might say, to her Tasmanian Senate colleague Senator Brown, who spent her time on this adjournment debate justifying a person who knew that she should not be in parliament, who knew that she should not be drawing a salary from Commonwealth taxpayers when she knew, better than anyone else, as did Mr Shorten, that she wasn't eligible to sit in the chamber. Senator Brown spent all of her time in this adjournment debate praising Justine Keay and, at the same time, denigrating Brett Whiteley, a man who did a fabulous job in the short time he was in the federal parliament and who is fighting for tax cuts for the people of northern Tasmania. He is fighting for jobs for the people of northern Tasmania. He is fighting to support a federal government and a state government that has now done so much for Tasmania. Brett Whiteley is one of those intelligent, caring, enthusiastic people, who will again make a great contribution to this parliament and to Australia when he is, hopefully, as appears likely, re-elected to the federal parliament at the time of the by-election. I wish him well. He will get there on his own efforts, without any influence from Senator Brown or me, I might say, because the people of that area know and trust him. More importantly, they know and trust the Prime Minister, who Mr Whiteley supports, and they know and trust the Tasmanian Premier, who Mr Whiteley also supports. So I wish him all the best in the Braddon by-election, and I look forward to again working with Mr Whiteley.

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