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Motion - the Conflict in Syria

Speeches in Parliament
Sarah Hanson-Young 17 Mar 2016

Senator HANSON-YOUNG

I ask that general business notice of motion No. 1079, relating to the ongoing conflict in Syria, be taken as a formal motion.

The PRESIDENT

Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?

Senator Ryan

Yes.

The PRESIDENT

Formality has been denied.

Senator RYAN

Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT

Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator RYAN

The Australian government supports international efforts to end the fighting in Syria and ease the suffering of the Syrian people. Since 2011, Australia has provided $258 million in humanitarian assistance for the Iraq and Syria crises, including almost $70 million in the past five months alone. Most recently, at the Supporting Syria conference in London, the foreign minister announced a further $25 million in assistance for Syria and its neighbours, as well as Iraq. The assistance would be provided through the UNHCR, UNICEF and the World Food Program, along with international humanitarian organisations and Australian NGOs. Australia is also deploying 10 Australian civilian corps specialists. These specialists will provide much needed technical expertise to our UN partners in humanitarian and development sectors. In total, the government's response to the crises in Syria and Iraq—humanitarian, resettlement and military—amounts to over $1.6 billion, which is significant by any terms.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG

Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT

Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG

I think this is absurd—the idea that we are sending our Defence personnel into these environments, the fact that we spend hundreds of millions of Australian taxpayers' dollars on these operations and that the rest of the world is asking Australia to be clear about our humanitarian responses. I acknowledged in the motion everything that the government has done and pay absolute tribute to that, but it is not enough. Then there is the fact that you are not even prepared to allow this to be discussed here today. If you want a full-on debate then I will find an opportunity to bring on a full-on debate. We have asked in the chamber many times to debate our involvement in Iraq and Syria, and the government continues to shut it down. It is a disgrace.

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