Page 4562 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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The nurses association gave evidence on the decreasing enrolment in nursing degrees across the country. Their prediction is that by 2020 there will be 30,000 nursing vacancies. They raised concerns about the proposed legislation reducing the existing entitlements of overtime loading and shift penalties. If abused, this would mean a 25 per cent pay decrease for workers and nurses and would throw the nursing vacancy predictions out the window.

I was not shocked to read how supportive members of the federal government were of the legislation and I was not even shocked when Mrs Burke tried to justify the federal government’s proposals, because nothing surprises me about the Liberal Party anymore.

Nguyen Tuong Van

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.14): I want to follow up on Ms MacDonald’s concern about what is happening to Van Nguyen by putting the situation in a larger context. We are probably all aware that Van Nguyen is going to hang because he was found trafficking 396 grams of heroin, but we probably do not know about the links the Singapore government has with the very people who produce those drugs in Burma.

I will quote from a favoured source of mine, the Sydney Morning Herald. Connie Levett, who is their correspondent in Singapore, attended a meeting organised by Dr Chee Soon Juan, who is Singapore’s leading opposition figure. About 100 people came along to a forum and vigil for Nguyen. I think that this shows that there are people in Singapore who are working with human rights activists here, people who oppose the death penalty and are just as concerned.

I want to put forward here some of the evidence that was produced. Connie Levett reported that Singapore’s foreign minister has defended the decision to hang Nguyen by saying, “Due to the seriousness of the offence and the need to hold firm our national position against drug trafficking, we are unable to change our decision.” She continued:

Burma and Singapore have close economic relations. In Burma when you use a Visa credit card, the charge is made in Singapore dollars.

Dr Chee challenged the government’s right to assume the high moral ground. He cited the Singapore Government Investment Corporation’s 1990s investment in the Myanmar Fund, controlled by Lo Hsing Han, one of Burma’s most notorious drug lords, through his Asia World Company …

The corporation, established in 1981 to manage Singapore’s foreign reserves and with a portfolio of more than $US100 billion … describes itself as one of the world’s largest fund management companies.

“Lo Hsing Han, the entire narcotics world knows, is one of the biggest drug lords, producing and trafficking in opium—

from which heroin is derived, of which Nguyen Tuong Van has been convicted of trafficking 396 grams—

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