Page 924 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 March 2005

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such as the former Soviet Union or China, to adhere to human rights, because even military threats do not have much effect there, but surely the world community could do a lot more in countries where perhaps a division of well-trained troops would make all the difference in stopping the murder of hundreds of thousands of citizens.

The people who are critical of what the Americans and their allies are doing in Iraq need to stop and think of the horrendous breaches of human rights there and the fact that, by the actions they are taking, maybe many lives ultimately will be saved. We can only wait and see, and hope. But I would certainly commend the film to members. It is a timely reminder of just what can happen in this world. It is a timely reminder too of how precious our democracy is and the fundamental regard we have for human rights in Australia. Sadly, the fundamental regard that people have here is not evident in all that many countries round the world.

The film indicates the powerlessness in many instances of the United Nations and the need for reform of that body if it is to make a real difference to the promotion of human rights round the world in terms of actually protecting people of countries that may well delve into the inhuman acts which we have seen only recently and which the film Hotel Rwanda brings out so vividly. I do not know who was right or wrong in the initial struggle between the Hutus and the Tutsis. The trouble seemed to die down when the Hutus got the upper hand. The film brings home starkly what is happening around our world, what continues to happen, and indeed the powerlessness and perhaps inefficiency of the United Nations to deal properly with the situation. The film is certainly a great reminder that we live in a dangerous world and I commend it to those members who have not seen it.

Minister for Health

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.58): I would like to speak briefly in response to the statement earlier by Mr Corbell about the interaction yesterday between my office and his. Mr Corbell claimed in his statement that we had not given sufficient notice because we had not given the absolute detail of the question. My office, I am informed, gave to Mr Corbell’s office prior to question time yesterday information that we would be asking a question about the section 87 development in Belconnen, that we would be asking about the tender process and particularly asking about the amounts involved.

I do not know how much more detail we needed to give Mr Corbell’s office prior to question time for him to be able to answer the question, but Mr Corbell was saying when he came back into the chamber that that was the reason he was not able to give me a proper answer. He came back 24 hours later and gave us exactly the same answer, which was a non-answer. He came back and said, “What you knew before is about all we are going to tell you. It is about $7 million and we are not really going to go any further than that.” After using the excuse that we had not given him enough detail—I do not know how much detail we need to give ahead of time—he gave us no more, 24 hours later, having had the questions asked of him.

I would just like to place it on the record that if, in future, Mr Corbell’s office is really in need of that much assistance, we certainly will endeavour to give it the exact question, if that will help, but I would have thought that telling the office the nature of the question,

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