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Carr pushes trade with Burma while regime still uses child soldiers

While the Australian Government pushes open slather trade with Burma, the country is plagued by sectarian violence and the continued use of child soldiers by the Burmese government, the Greens said today.

Greens spokesperson on Burma, Senator Scott Ludlam, said "the resource-rush which appears to be driving Australian foreign policy on Burma may perversely end up consolidating the regime's hold on power and attendant human rights abuses. The Australian Government should urgently rethink its sanctions policy, lest ‘constructive engagement' end up as complicity".

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ASIO’s palace a house of cards? Greens call for full inquiry.

Reports of a security breach at ASIO need an inquiry, not more funding for an already bloated budget, the Greens said today.

Australian Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said claims hackers stole blueprints for the new ASIO headquarters should be dealt with in a rational manner.

"This building is already $200 million over budget. There have been a series of blowouts and now a fairly serious security breach. This requires an inquiry, not the kind of reflexive demands for more resourcing called for by the Opposition.

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Government must ensure Australian brothers trapped in Saudi Arabia get full support – Greens

Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam has urged Foreign Minister Bob Carr to take all measures necessary to ensure two Western Australians in Saudi Arabia - one in prison and one in hiding - receive full diplomatic support.

"Saudi Arabia is not renowned for due process or fair treatment of suspects. It is essential that the Federal Government makes the maximum effort to protect the human rights of Junaid and Shayden Thorne.

"Shayden Thorne was held for more than one year without trial. That is an outrageous abuse of his rights.

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Government must come clean on who pays $1.6 billion for US base in Darwin

The Federal Government must come clean on the costs, size and duration of the US base in Darwin as the estimated cost of infrastructure around the base was today revealed to be $1.6 billion, says Australian Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence, Senator Scott Ludlam.

"The Government has gone through rhetorical contortions to conceal the fact that this is a permanent US military base on Australian soil but the façade is dead - you don't spend $1.6 billion on infrastructure for ‘temporary rotations' of troops.

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Global Day of Action on Military Spending – time to recalibrate defence

Governments around the world spent $1.75 trillion - $4.8 billion per day - on military expenses in 2012, an amount higher than Cold War peaks - with Australia among the five biggest military spenders in our region.*

"If governments spent 4.8 billion per day on addressing environmental, economic, food and human security, many of the root causes of armed conflict would be eliminated," said Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence, Senator Scott Ludlam, on the third Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

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Abbott undermines Australia's Defence capability: Greens

"The Special Report on Climate Change and Defence released by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute today underlines just how dangerous Tony Abbott's climate denialism is for the future security of Australia." Christine Milne, Australian Greens leader said today

"Any nation that deliberately ignores looming security threats and fails to prepare its Defence Forces leaving them untrained and ill equipped is selling out the country and the well-being of its citizens and that is exactly what a Coalition government would do."

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Western Sahara

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (15:34): I move:
That the Senate-
(a) notes That the question of Western Sahara remains unresolved;
(b) expresses its strong support for the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people, in accordance with the relevant United Nations (UN) resolutions;
(c) expresses its deep concern at the continued violations of human rights in Western Sahara; and
(d) calls on the Government to:

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Burma and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

(Question No. 2388)
Senator Ludlam asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs upon notice on 19 October 2012:
(1) Why has Australia not signed up to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, given that a number of countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom and United States are participants.
(2) Would an Australian company engaging the services of the Burmese military be viewed as in violation of Australia's arms embargo.

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