From the Desk
I rise to speak about an important issue. It is an issue that I flagged in my first speech to this chamber some three months ago and one that I would like to reiterate here tonight. That is, the need for an Australian Defence covenant. The Australian Defence Force is an institution like no other. It is an institution built upon and maintained by honour, courage, integrity and mateship. It is an institution that serves as the backbone of our society and embodies the fair go egalitarian attitude that makes Australia the place it is today. John Key believes New Zealand to be the best little country in the world. I think Australia is the best middle country in the world.
I was really interested in what happened here earlier this afternoon. I am very new to this place and some of the old hands who are here have said they have never seen anything like it—like the shambles that took place with Labor, the cataclysmic destruction of Labor's position. Sitting on this side of the chamber, looking across at Labor senators, I wondered what the collective noun would be for 'stunned mullets'. I know what it is: it is the Senate Labor caucus. They had no idea what was going on. I shall remember today for a long time. I also hear that Senator Wong's leadership is under attack, that Senator Conroy, who got 98 per cent of the vote for his pre-selection—a very North Korean vote and I congratulate him, I would love to get 98 per cent for my re-preselection hopefully in a few years time. I shudder to think what has happened to the two per cent who did not vote for Senator Conroy. My friends in the gallery understand that Senator Conroy is walking the corridors, doing numbers to rid Labor of Senator Wong. I am not here to talk about the Labor shambles this afternoon.
While the world and those who believe in freedom and democracy mourn the political murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, a state planned judicial assassination of another freedom fighter and opposition leader is underway in the Indian Ocean. Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives, has been arrested on trumped-up charges, denied legal representation and assaulted by police and faces an unfair trial that will ultimately end in the denial of his presidential ambitions.