Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Australian Citizenship Amendment (Citizenship Testing) Legislation
Labor oppose this, Mr Speaker. As I understand it, no notice has been given to us. The government is holding this parliament in contempt. It is abusing every process known to reasonable decision making. Yesterday we had to debate 500 pages of legislation, 300 pages of explanatory memoranda and 200 pages on appropriations—1,000 pages with 24 hours notice to consider them. Later today the Water Bill will be introduced, a bill which runs, as I understand it, to something like 300 pages. That is something the government announced on 25 January. It still has not been able to conclude agreements with the states but it wants this parliament to ram the legislation through—presumably in expeditious time, when we just got the bill yesterday, as I understand it.
Now debate on a bill that has been on the Notice Paper for some time is to be guillotined without any notice. This is a bill which many members in this House have a real interest in because they represent constituencies that contain a lot of people from non-English-speaking backgrounds, people who are interested in the future of citizenship in this country. Where is this parliament going, Mr Speaker? This is the point that we are making. There is no consultation. This is a government that cannot even consult with the states on water and now it will not consult with the opposition about procedures. Some consultation, Minister—well done! This was a circumstance in which you were lauding being on the eve of agreement with the Victorians only some three weeks ago.