Page 3809 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 24 August 2011

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extremes of Australian politics have been, I think, of concern for people who do not occupy either extreme of the political spectrum. Many have observed, with some amusement, that the far right and the extreme left seem to come together on some global conspiracies in relation to economics and science. We have seen a little of that in recent times.

I thought that I would take this opportunity, in supporting Ms Hunter’s amendment, to acknowledge the recent Science Week and to repeat the comments I made at the launch of Science Week: politicians have a particular responsibility to be measured in their public comments in relation to scientific research and to value the work that Australia’s scientists perform. In the context of climate change and the death threats that a number of climate scientists have received in recent times from right wing nut bags, I think that is concerning.

Just as concerning have been attacks on the CSIRO by groups that I would describe as being of the extreme left. So I will take the opportunity this afternoon to reiterate the comments that I made at the launch of Science Week: it is incumbent upon politicians to be more responsible in public comments. And I think it is sad for the Australian scientific community that they have been the subject of attacks from both ends of the political extreme.

To return to Ms Hunter’s point, I think it is a worthy addition to Ms Porter’s motion. As I say, it speaks volumes about the policy priorities of an incoming Liberal government if the people of Australia were to vote that way in 2013.

Now that the Leader of the Opposition has rejoined us, I do take this opportunity to wish him all the best for his cocktail evening this evening. I hope he does take the opportunity to meet with Liberal senators and members of parliament and express to them what he has just expressed in this chamber. I look forward to hearing those reports. In fact, if the Leader of the Opposition would be so kind as to table his correspondence before he ducks off to Parliament House this evening to have cocktails and to enjoy the company of the people whose views he so adamantly disagrees with, then I am sure we would all be enlightened as to exactly what representations he made.

It was clear from your contribution, Leader of the Opposition, that you have been unable to convince your colleagues of the rightness of your position. I wish you well. I am realistic enough to believe that you have a greater chance of influencing Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey than I do. You will be going, no doubt, to enjoy a cocktail with them this evening and I hope that you do take the opportunity to reiterate that position.

For the benefit of all of us, we would all be interested in seeing the content of your letters to your colleagues and any replies you might have received. It is fairly commonplace for you to be calling on us to table such documents. So I look forward—

Mr Smyth: You’re the government.

MR BARR: In this instance, Mr Seselja is proclaiming to have been showing leadership, and I am sure he would be happy to share with the Assembly the contents

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