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Senate unites to compel Pyne to come clean on Saudi arms deals

A Greens motion demanding transparency on Minister Christopher Pyne’s arms-dealing tour of Saudi Arabia has sparked a rare moment of unity with the entire senate crossbench and Opposition voting against the Government.

“It takes a lot to unite this crossbench, but the idea of Christopher Pyne selling weapons and defence equipment to Saudi Arabia appears to have done it,” Greens Defence Spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

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Senate demands answers on Navy ships needed in Debbie response

To move—That the Senate—

   a) notes with concern reports that the Royal Australian Navy’s two largest ships, the Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, have engine problems and have been unable to join the emergency response to Cyclone Debbie;

   b) notes that:

      i Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships are our key asset for humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations, and

      ii HMAS Canberra was conducting trials with the United States’ Marine Corps as recently as last week; and

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Minister Pyne's visit to Saudi Arabia

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that

The Senate –

   a). Notes :

      i) the Australia Defence Department has approved four military exports to Saudi Arabia in the past year, 

      ii) Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne visited Riyadh in December 2016 to promote Australian defence material to senior Government figures including Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah al-Saud, the head of Saudi Arabia’s National Guard;

   b) Orders that there be laid on the table by the Minister for Defence by no later than 6pm on 30 March 2017:

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Government unable to rule out Australian involvement in Mosul airstrike tragedy

The Turnbull Liberal government has failed to rule out Australia's involvement in another bombing tragedy in Iraq, the Australian Greens said today.

"The tragedy in Mosul took the lives of more than 200 civilians, the deadliest such attack by far since the US intervened in the conflict in mid-2014, and it ranks among the highest civilian death tolls in an American air mission since the disastrous US-led Coalition sent Australia into war in Iraq in 2003," Australian Greens Co-Deputy Leader and Defence spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

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