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International Aid and Assistance

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (9.54 am)—I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 102 standing in my name for today relating to international aid assistance for clean water and sanitation.I move the motion as amended: That the Senate:
(a)    recognises that 19 November 2010, is World Toilet Day – a day to acknowledge the importance of sanitation and raise awareness of the 2.6 billion people, two-fifths of humanity, who lack access to basic sanitation,
(b)    notes that on 24 August 2010 the United Nations General Assembly formally recognised the right to water and sanitation as a basic human right (resolution 64/292);
(c)    expresses concern that more than 1.4 million children die each year as a result of unclean water and poor sanitation and that diarrhoea is the leading cause of death in Africa and the second leading cause of child death globally;
(d)    notes that access to clean water and sanitation are the foundation for progress on other development outcomes, especially child health and education;

(e)    acknowledges the positive step taken by the Australian Government in 2007 with the implementation of a 3 year water and sanitation initiative; and
(f)    calls on the Australian Government and AusAID to deliver on its previous commitment to report publicly on their water and sanitation activities, including reporting on the proportion of development aid spent on sanitation.

Senator CASH (Western Australia) (9.55 am)—I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT—Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator CASH—On behalf of Senator Fierravanti-Wells: whilst the coalition recognises and applauds the work of the World Toilet Organisation, we will not be supporting the motion moved by the Australian Greens. This motion is just another example of the Greens using the floor of the Senate to grandstand in a crass attempt to raise their political profile by framing motherhood statements in the form of a motion and then challenging other political parties not to agree to them so that they can run off to the media, tell them what jolly good fellows the Greens are and what horrible people the other parties are. With approximately 2.6 billion people around the globe having little or no access to basic sanitation, and with a lack of sanitation being the world’s biggest cause of infection, it is incumbent upon us in this chamber to take the health implications of this lack of sanitation seriously.

The Greens as a party are well aware that successive Australian governments have provided funding in the form of overseas aid to assist sanitation programs around the world and yet the Greens waste the time of the Senate on motions which are designed to achieve nothing more than self-gratification. The coalition believes that the Senate, which is meant to act as a house of review, is having its time wasted day after day with motions from the Greens that are designed to provide Senator Brown and his colleagues with a media opportunity to issue yet another motherhood media statement whilst criticising the coalition and at times the government for not supporting their motions. The Greens need to mature as a political party and understand that proposing motions that are nothing more and nothing less than motherhood statements gives them no credit as a political party.

Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia)

(9.57 am)—I seek leave to make a very short statement. The PRESIDENT—Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator SIEWERT—I would like to point out that it is not broadcasting day, so that eloquent statement was wasted.

Question agreed to.


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