Thursday, 15 December 2022
I rise to second the motion for these very important amendments. This is the most hypocritical, deceitful government we have seen in this country in decades. Pre-election, as the Manager of Opposition Business just said, the then opposition were going to have a new parliament. It was going to be more transparent, it was going to be more democratic, processes were going to be followed properly, and how hypocritical has that been? The first thing this government did when they came into this chamber as the government was change the standing orders to basically gag debate. That was one of the first pieces of legislation that they changed, to gag debates with a new standing order, which they have used on multiple occasions.
The other thing that the government have done at great expense is today. Look at the process today. This is exceptionally important legislation. These are fundamental changes to the way certain parts of our economy and the energy market operate. As the Manager of Opposition Business said, no-one saw this legislation until eight o'clock last night. There is confusion even within the government ranks about how this legislation is going to work, and we come in today at great expense and we are going to get gagged after two hours. This is not a proper process.
I say this especially to the crossbenchers and I say this especially to the Teals, who say that they were voted into this chamber to for more transparent and better parliamentary processes in this chamber: I can tell you right now, if you support what is before the parliament today and do not support these amendments, you are not about more transparency. You are not about better processes. You are not about second reading processes. You are about gagging debate and that is what you will be supporting if you don't support our amendments.
The questions about the legislation are profound. The deal done with the Greens, no-one understands. How is that going to work? Worse than that, even worse than this government gagging the debate in this chamber, is they have been deceitful to the Australian public about what they were going to legislate. Look at the IR legislation—very important legislation. Did they ever mention that before the election? No, they never spoke to the Australian people, to Australian businesses and to Australian workers about the legislation that they were going to introduce into this chamber as one of the first things they did. Now, of course they didn't do that; they were paying back their union masters on that as well. Again, that wasn't about transparency. There was no transparency to the Australian people about that process. There was no transparency about what their agenda was on that as well.
To go back to the legislation we're talking about today, the legislation the government is looking to pass today needs a larger debate and a longer debate than a couple of hours. We have a lot of history in this country—I'm old enough to remember how well the interest rate caps worked in the Australian financial markets back in the 1980s, when that failed the capital markets. How well did the wool floor price work back in the eighties when they were trying to put a cap on the price of wool? That failed as well. There is great debate that needs to happen on this legislation. There is potential for market failure because of this. This will have great ramifications for investment into the energy markets in Australia, especially the gas and coal markets. This potentially has great ramifications for the prices of Australians' energy bills as well. And the best the government can give this chamber is two hours to debate it. It's a shame on the process of the parliament.
I finish by making an appeal to the crossbenchers and the teals. As I said earlier, you came into this chamber promising greater transparency, better process and to give this chamber more chance to debate and have a say on legislation. If you support this bill today and do not support our amendment, you are hypocritical to the reasons that you got voted into this chamber and are basically just kowtowing to those opposite.
I stand strongly to support the amendment as put by the Manager of Opposition Business.