House debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022


Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Repeal of Cashless Debit Card and Other Measures) Bill 2022; Second Reading

5:38 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | Hansard source

A few things before I move a procedural motion. First of all, I've been asked by a number of members to clarify the standing order that allows a minister after 6.30 pm to move a motion that would still bring on a division. That's a standard principle that has been in debate management motions for a very long time, and accordingly it was into the standing orders. I do want to assure the House that the reason we have the 6.30 pm rule is, in response to the Jenkins report, we want people to be able to leave the building if they have cause to do so. With previous Leaders of the House, whether it was the now Leader of the Opposition or Christian Porter before him or Christopher Pyne before that, there was always an understanding that contact would be made if there were any intention of using that. I give the same undertaking. I give it privately. And I thought, on the floor of the parliament, it would be helpful for members if I'd given it publicly, so that every night on the opposition benches people don't have to worry after 6.30 pm, 'Can I go or not?'

Obviously, I'm not trying to get in the way of their whip. It's their whip's call to provide that advice. But I want there to be absolutely no doubt that the government will not be playing games with that 6.30 pm rule. It's there as a standard thing. It has been in motions for the House for a very long time. If it ever were to be used there would be plenty of notice. It would be in a cooperative fashion. It's not there for any other reason. I just want to provide that assurance to the House first.

Secondly, I gave an undertaking, with respect to whether or not bills would be declared urgent, that I would explain to the House why before I made such a declaration. I previously explained to the House one of the challenges with the bill that is now before us is that if it is to be carried by both houses, for the deadline on the card, which is within the bill, there needs to be a phase down period. The phase down period is required because—and I'm not sure how this has happened, and I don't want to engage too much with the debate—it has been possible with this particular card for people to connect it to Afterpay accounts. As a result of that, you can't just suddenly end it on a set date without there being a staged down period. For that reason, for the bill to be able to work, the government requires when we return in the next sitting fortnight for the Senate to pass it at that point.

Those familiar with the Senate, which I suspect is none of us—but I know enough to know that overwhelmingly their government business occurs on a Monday, which means even though we're only on Tuesday at the moment, given what will happen with the climate bills tomorrow, the only way we can make sure that the legislation before us has a chance of being implemented in an orderly fashion is for this bill to go through tonight.

Originally, as of this morning when I looked at the speaking list, we were going to finish before 7.30 pm. If I were to negate the adjournment and just let the speeches go, at the moment we're going to finish at 11.30 pm. In terms of the Jenkins report I think I have responsibility to not allow that.

The other alternative would be to simply gag the debate and for me to now move—and I'm not moving this; I'm saying the words that I'm not moving—that the question be put, which would simply mean everybody on that speaking list would knocked off straightaway. So, with that in mind, I think the most practical way to deal with the urgency of the bill but to still provide a reasonable opportunity for members to speak is to declare the bill urgent. And with that in mind, I declare that the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Repeal of Cashless Debit Card and Other Measures) Bill 2022 is urgent.


No comments