A Greens senator has been expelled from parliament after she interrupted a historic speech by the Philippine president to protest against “human rights abuses”.
Shortly after President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. As she began addressing both houses of federal parliament on Thursday morning, Senator Janet Rice held up a sign that read “stop human rights abuses.”
Parliamentarians and senators gathered in the House of Representatives were shocked by the stunt and one of them was heard calling it a “disgrace.”
Rice was ejected from the chamber, accompanied by her colleague Barbara Pocock, as Marcos continued speaking.
Greens senator Janet Rice (pictured holding a sign) has been expelled from parliament after she interrupted a historic speech by the Philippine president to protest against “human rights abuses”.
In a statement, Senator Rice said she was “dismayed” that the Philippine president had been invited to address Australian leaders.
“Under President Marcos Jr, the already widespread corruption in the Philippines is getting worse, and the justice system exists in name only,” he said.
“It is a serious mistake for the Australian government to give legitimacy to President Marcos Jr. by inviting him to address parliament today.”
There was a very different message from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who told Mr Marcos that “it was a special honor to receive him in his historic speech to Parliament”.
“Australia is honored to count the Philippines as a close friend and strategic partner.”
Albanese added that “Our ties are strengthened through warm and close personal connections, including through the more than 400,000 Australians of Filipino descent who make a wonderful contribution to modern multicultural Australia.”
Philippine President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr appears in the House of Representatives at Parliament in Canberra on Thursday.
Marcos said he and the Prime Minister “had a very interesting discussion on a wide range of opportunities and issues under our Strategic Partnership.”
“I am certainly very honored on a personal and official level by the invitation of the Australian Government and therefore by the opportunity to personally convey our commitment to this partnership and reiterate Filipino friendship.”
He added that ‘the significant Filipino diaspora, the fifth largest migrant community here in Australia, has contributed significantly to the economic and cultural well-being of not only our country, but also yours.
“It is also an undeniable indicator of Australia’s openness to embracing a globalized and interconnected world.”