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Senate Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee: Department of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade: Foreign Affairs Portfolio (South and West Asia)

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Senator RHIANNON: I want to ask about the situation with Kashmir, please. Have the Australian high commissions in India and Pakistan provided an update on the current situation with regard to Pakistan, and what communications has the minister and the department had with the Indian government and the Pakistan government about this issue?

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Senator Lee Rhiannon gives support for Women’s Boat to Gaza

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has given her full support for the Women’s Boat to Gaza, set to sail from its port in Barcelona this week. The Women’s Boat to Gaza is the latest initiative of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. 

Greens MPs David Shoebridge and Dr Mehreen Faruqi have also given their support. 

“The blockade of Gaza – jointly maintained by Israel and Egypt – is nearly a decade old and the reality of life for Palestinians living in this enclave is devastating. 

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New evidence of cluster bombs in Sri Lanka: UN must action

Fresh evidence that the Government of Sri Lanka used cluster bombs in Tamil civilian areas during the civil war in 2009 must not be ignored by the currently sitting UN Human Rights Council, said Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

"This evidence is further proof of what survivors of the conflict spoke of seven years ago," said Senator Rhiannon.

"A recently published testimonial by Dr Varatharajah, a doctor working in the former conflict zone, also confirmed the use of cluster bombs on civilian populations.

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Adjournment speech: Western Sahara

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (23:38): The date of 27 February 1976 is very significant for the indigenous people of Western Sahara. On that day, the Saharawi Republic was declared. On that day Spain abandoned the territory after almost a century of colonisation. It is 40 years since Spain withdrew from Western Sahara without accomplishing its duty of allowing the people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination.

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Gantz discussion silenced in Senate

The government has today refused a formal Senate vote on the war record of former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Force, the Australian Greens said today. 

"The Minister for Immigration has set a precedent for intervening in specific cases in recent times, but this one apparently can't even be discussed," Australian Greens Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

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Gantz discussion silenced in Senate

The government has today refused a formal Senate vote on the war record of the former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Force, the Australian Greens said today. 

"The Minister for Immigration has set a precedent for intervening in specific cases in recent times, but this one apparently can't even be discussed," Australian Greens Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

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Gantz discussion silenced in Senate

The government has today refused a formal Senate vote on the war record of former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Force, the Australian Greens said today. 

"The Minister for Immigration has set a precedent for intervening in specific cases in recent times, but this one apparently can't even be discussed," Australian Greens Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

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Motion: Benjamin Gantz, former Israel Defence Force Chief of General Staff

Senators Ludlam and Rhiannon: To move—That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Mr Benjamin Gantz, former Israel Defence Force (IDF) Chief of General Staff, is currently in Australia as a keynote speaker for United Israel Appeal events,

(ii) during his tenure as Chief of General Staff from 2011 to 2015, Mr Gantz led the IDF through numerous military campaigns, including Operation Protective Edge in Gaza from July to August 2014,

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Palestine)

Lee interrogates representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Australia's expenditure of aid money to Syrian refugees, Palestinian refugees in Syria, and NGOs working in Gaza following the 2014 Israeli military operations in Gaza and the West Bank.

Senator RHIANNON: Has any aid money been allocated to Syrian refugees and to Palestinian refugees in Syria?

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