Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (12:45): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator GRIFF: This motion was not a complex foreign matter. It simply acknowledged what the government had already done and asked that it continue engaging with China on human rights. Most of the crossbench have no issue with it. Indeed, I understand the alternative, Labor, government had no issues either. It's cowardly for the Liberal government to take this action.
We should never be so beholden to a foreign nation that we're afraid to engage on even the most minor inoffensive motion. This cop-out is particularly disappointing, given yesterday's Thank You Australia event hosted by the Tibetan community in exile and the fact that they presented a gift to this government, which was accepted by Minister Ken Wyatt. Denying formality makes that acceptance very hollow.