Democrats Senator Brian Grieg has shown courage in supporting Clerk of the Senate Harry Evans’ decision to allow Mamdouh Habib the right of reply to a senate committee investigating allegations made against him.
Evans said that Habib would be given the right of reply in writing to a Senate committe which had heard evidence of involvement in terrorism that had been been given against him.
Both the Goverment and the ALP don’t want to be perceived as supporting someone who has been accused of supporting terrorism. Beazley said that he didn’t think Habib should have a right of reply, and that “we shouldn’t waste a minute on him in the Senate”.
On the other hand, Senator Greig showed good sense in stating that Parliament needed to play the issue with “a straight bat”, and that Habib was entitled to “natural justice” on the issue.
At least one parliamentarian was prepared to actually stand up for justice.
Is is a sad state of affairs when politicians make allegations about any citizen, but then don’t want to “waste time” listening to what he might have to say for himself in reply. Perhaps it could be one of us in a few years time at the centre of public allegations made under parliamentary privilege. Goverments must always be held accountable. That means giving people a right to speak out, even when you don’t like what they say. It’s the sort of duty you expect a credible opposition to perform.
Unfortunately, in this situation, it was a bit too difficult for the opposition. Especially with such a hot issue as terrorism allegations.
Good on you, Grieg, for having the guts to say what most of your colleagues were too afraid to say.