By Bill Rowlings, CEO of CLA
The 2022 award for hypocrisy by federal parliamentarians has been won outright this week by the Father of the House, longest-serving MP Kevin Andrews, according to the CEO of Civil Liberties Australia, Bill Rowlings.
“Mr Andrews is the man who sponsored and promoted the law which forbids ACT and NT citizens voting on whether they support euthanasia, or not.
“This week, Mr Andrews has recommended that Australia improves ‘the quality of life for women and girls, including political representation and involvement in decision-making’. “…But not for women and girls in the ACT or NT – only for women and girls in the Pacific,” Mr Rowlings said.
The Victorian MP, who has said he is not contesting the next federal election, as chairman of the Human Rights sub-committee of the permanent Foreign Affairs committee, tabled a report with 14 recommendations.
No 5 said:
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government continue to focus diplomatic efforts on the implementation of treaties and other legislation aimed at improving the quality of life for women and girls, including political representation and involvement in decision-making.
“Civil Liberties Australia wrote to Mr Andrews three times in 2021 asking him to rescind – reverse in law – the legislation he pushed through parliament which denies equal rights to the citizens of the ACT and the NT, including female citizens.
“Our first letter was on Australia Day in January 2021, and we followed up on two more occasions during the year.
“Mr Andrews did not even have the courtesy to respond to our correspondence, which seems to indicate the importance he puts on human rights for the female citizens of the two Australian Territories.
“But he is urging Australia to campaign for more involvement in decision-making by the women and girls of the Pacific.
“That is overt, blatant, unconscionable hypocrisy, incontrovertibly” Mr Rowlings said.
Mr Rowlings also said the chance of human rights being boosted by an Australian government campaign in the Pacific, for girls, boys, women or men, was basically zero.
The Minister for the Pacific and International Development is Zed Seselja, a Liberal Senator for the ACT, he said.
“Mr Seselja won’t even support the right of the citizens he formally represents, Canberrans, to have a vote on euthanasia,” Mr Rowlings said.
“If, as he says, female and male Canberrans elected as representatives can’t be trusted to vote ‘the right way’, how could he support Pacific islander women and girls having more political representation and more involvement in decision-making.
“Unless, of course, he is racist…against the race of Canberrans – female and male – who elected him!”.