Thursday, 1 December 2016
by leave—I move:
(a) consideration of bills under standing order 57(1) (d) (i) relating to private senators' bills shall not be proceeded with and that government business shall have precedence over all other business for 2 hours and 20 minutes;
(b) when consideration of general business concludes, government business shall be called on and considered till 6 pm; and
(c) divisions may take place after 4.30 pm.
In speaking to the motion, I acknowledge the assistance of colleagues around the chamber in the management of this, the final day of sittings for the year. In particular, I acknowledge that the opposition have offered their private senator's bill time today for government business, which is greatly appreciated. I also acknowledge that Senator Hinch has indicated that, at the conclusion of his contribution, he is happy for general business time to revert to government business. I understand that there may be another senator who wishes to make a contribution in general business time, but the motion that we have before us is that, once contributions have finished, we will go to government business.
I should, in particular, thank Senator Farrell, as it was his bill which was going to be debated in private senator's bill time this morning. I also acknowledge the Australian Greens, who indicated at the leaders, managers and whips meeting yesterday that, while they have a range of views on legislation that we have before us today that may be at variance from ours and those of the opposition, nevertheless they—together with the crossbench senators—will be working with us to see that we can conclude the business that is listed before us today. Can I again thank colleagues from across the chamber for their cooperation and for their assistance in making sure that the Senate today will be a place that can transact the people's business.
I rise to make a few comments. I will not take up the chamber's time except to say that, after what has been a rather chaotic week in terms of hours and arrangements to extend hours, the opposition will support this motion to enable and facilitate some of the government's urgent bills that need to be dealt with by the end of this year. I think that, at the meeting that was held yesterday to discuss this, everyone in this chamber agreed to facilitate the program today and to enable those bills to be concluded.
I would also point out that this is the second week that the opposition has had to give up time that was allocated for our business in order to facilitate the government's business. Although the manager has acknowledged that fact, I think it is important to note that, of the 10 or so bills—I think there were about eight done last week and six that are being sought to be dealt with today—the majority will have been done in what was the opposition's allocated time. We are agreeing to do that because of the time urgency of the bills, despite some of the other deals that were done for extending hours this week, which did not have the opposition's support.
Question agreed to.