House debates

Monday, 26 October 2020


Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020, Recycling and Waste Reduction (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2020, Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (General) Bill 2020, Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (Customs) Bill 2020, Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (Excise) Bill 2020; Third Reading

5:41 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | Hansard source

I reckon I'm winning here. And welcome back to the chamber—you got booted earlier—but welcome back. The fact of that debate matters. Think of it in these terms: there are some countries around the world where the opposition is not allowed to speak when they have their meetings. Do we really want to be on that list of countries? John Howard never had us on that list of countries, Malcolm Turnbull never had us on that list of countries. Tony Abbott never had us on that list of countries. We had lots of issues with each of those people at different points, but none of them did this. None of them did what has happened this term, where there has been not one occasion when a debate which has been invited and requested from the Leader of the Opposition has been accepted—not one. And then there's this on legislation on issues as important as the environment. Remember the number of dixers we had about the ensuring integrity bill and how important and urgent we were told that that was? You were a supporter of thugs if you were going to oppose that bill, we were told. What then happened? The first thing that happened was it got pushed through when the only person who spoke on it in this chamber was the minister himself. Then, having sent it to the Senate, they did nothing with it and now it's gone. So the argument that they never heard apparently ended up winning. But we had a right for that debate to take place on the floor of the parliament.

When those who come here were first elected, they would have imagined making a contribution and that their contribution would come to some pretty core values for everybody here. I'm yet to find anyone who doesn't arrive here for the right motivations. For some people, by the time they leave, their motivations aren't that great. But I think most people—everyone I've known—when they arrive here arrive with the right motivations. To then put the backbench of the government in the situation where they have voted more times to shut down debate than for legislation is an absurd circumstance. It's something that shouldn't be happening. It's only happening because of the glass jaw of one man. At some point, some of those opposite are going to have to talk to him.


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