I rise to briefly contribute to the debate on the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014. It is commonly known as the government bill which introduces the new metadata laws. I oppose this bill. The government has used the threat of a terrorist attack from Islamic State to grossly invade the privacy of every Australian. In an opinion piece in the Mercury newspaper Bruce Felmingham, the principal of a Tasmanian economic consulting firm, wrote:
"There must be an exceptionally powerful argument for introducing such draconian laws in a pluralist, democratic society such as our own."
I agree with Mr Felmingham—and it is my view that the government has failed to make the argument for introduction of these draconian laws. It is my strong view that the government is misleading the Australian public over the government's capacity to respond to the threat posed by ISIS sympathisers and ISIS soldiers. This government already has the laws and the capacity to crack down on ISIS supporters if it chooses, and those laws are called sedition and treason. It is just that this government has chosen not to use existing laws to charge and put behind bars every Australian who assists in any way whatsoever our enemy the Islamic State and its members.
I rise to contribute to the condolence motion before the Senate following the death of Malcolm Fraser. The expression 'lucky country' has often been used as a term of endearment and a way to quickly describe why Australia is free, rich and beautiful. Often our nation's critics, including the famous historian Donald Horne, who wrote the words 'lucky country', attribute Australia's prosperity to our location in the world, our natural resources, our stunning environment and the powerful international friends who protect us.
And, while there is truth in that argument, some critics give too little credit to the small number of politicians who have truly inspired and led the Australian people. If you agree that Australia is indeed the 'lucky country', then you have to concede that Malcolm Fraser was one of Australia's great political leaders and statesmen who made it so.
For the second time since I have been elected to this place, I rise to speak to the Liberal and National parties' Higher Education and Research Reform Bill 2014. Even with the government's latest policy backflip, for the second time I inform this Senate that I will strongly oppose this legislation. The Abbott government have deliberately and slyly ambushed the Australian people with their proposed changes to university funding and proposed increases to university fees. It is a cowardly and callous pattern of political behaviour that has been repeated in other policy areas, including cuts to health funding which are designed to burn down Medicare; cuts to pensions by linking pension increases to the CPI; increasing the pension age to 70 from 2035; effective cuts to ADF members' pay entitlements; effective cuts to the Australian war veterans' pensions; and effective cuts to their entitlements.
My interview with 7.30 Report today
Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013, Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013
I rise to speak to the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 and Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013. This is one of the most difficult bills I have had to consider while I have been in the Senate and, like the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014, I have serious concerns and reservations. It is clear that the intent of this bill is to target and punish unions and organised labour groups, while neglecting to impose the same set of rules and standards on corporate Australia.
I rise to regretfully inform Australia's Senate that one of our great warriors and family man and veterans advocate, Tim McCombe OAM, died of a heart attack on 31 January 2015. He died at 1 am on Saturday morning at Bowral and District Hospital, New South Wales. Tim had worked tirelessly for veterans welfare since 1981. He was closely involved in the agent orange royal commission and every veterans issues since. His funeral, which I attended, was held on 14 February 2015.
To read his eulogy, written by Graham Walker, on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia, and the rest of the speech click on the link:
Mr President, I refer the Attorney-General to the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 which states that if any Australian engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist, another country or an organisation that is engaged in armed hostilities against the Australian Defence Force, they are guilty of treason and should face life in jail.
I also refer the Attorney-General to the fact that his government acknowledges more than 120 Australian citizens are engaged in armed hostilities against the Australian Defence Force and fighting for Islamic State. His government has identified
hundreds of Islamic Australian citizens living on home soil who have assisted Islamic State.
Can the Attorney-General explained why those citizens have not been charged with the high crime of treason or sedition?
Click for full document: QWN - National Security 03-03-2015
I rise to speak to the motion before the Senate regarding the deployment of the ADF personnel to overseas conflicts.
While I support the Greens motion to have a debate about the current military deployment, I do not support the Green's
proposal to change the way the decision-making process is made to send the troops overseas.
All I propose to change is the decision makers, who have clearly made the wrong call in sending our troops back overseas again.
Some people are having difficulty in grasping this following fact: despite all the terror attacks, despite the fact that our official
terrorism alert is high, which means that an attack by an enemy is likely, we are at war.
Click for full document:
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (15:30): I move:
That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Attorney-General to a question without notice asked by me in relation
to treason and sedition charges.
The Attorney-General, in answering my question without notice today regarding the laying of treason and sedition
charges against Australian citizens who have clearly assisted or fought for Islamic State, shows that this Liberal-
National government has gone soft on Australian citizens who choose to assist or fight for our enemy, an
organisation that calls itself Islamic State, or ISIS. If the Liberal and National parties were fair dinkum about
addressing the growing threat of Islamic Australian citizens who clearly are assisting the Islamic State
organisation, then the Attorney-General and Australian law enforcement agencies would have laid the serious
charges of sedition or treason against any Australian citizen who assists, as the legislation reads, 'by any means
whatever'—and I will repeat that: 'by any means whatever'—an organisation that is engaged in armed hostilities
against the Australian Defence Force.
Click for full Document: Treason and Sedition Speech Senate - Senator Lambie 3.3.15
Mr President, I refer the Attorney-General to the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 which states that if any Australian engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist, another country or an organisation that is engaged in armed hostilities against the Australian Defence Force, they are guilty of treason and should face life in jail. I also refer the Attorney-General to the fact that his government acknowledges more than 120 Australian citizens are engaged in armed hostilities against the Australian Defence Force and fighting for Islamic State. His government has identified hundreds of Islamic Australian citizens living on home soil who have assisted Islamic State. Can the Attorney-
General explained why those citizens have not been charged with the high crime of treason or sedition?
It is a pleasure to offer my support to this censure motion and vote of no confidence against the Liberal Party's Attorney-General, Senator Brandis, for:
(1) failing to defend the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, from malicious attacks;
(2) seeking to obtain the resignation of Professor Triggs by facilitating the offer of an alternative role that would have required her to relinquish her position as President;
(3) refusing to fully account for his conduct when appearing before a committee of the Senate;
(4) undermining Australia's commitment to upholding human rights; and
(5) being unfit to hold the office of Attorney-General.