Senate debates

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws — Superannuation) Bill 2008; Tax Laws Amendment (Medicare Levy Surcharge Thresholds) Bill 2008; National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical and Other Benefits — Cost Recovery) Bill 2008; Tax Laws Amendment (Luxury Car Tax) Bill 2008; a New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition — General) Amendment Bill 2008; a New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition — Customs) Amendment Bill 2008; a New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition — Excise) Amendment Bill 2008; Excise Legislation Amendment (Condensate) Bill 2008; Excise Tariff Amendment (Condensate) Bill 2008; National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) Bill 2008; National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008; Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 3) Bill 2008; Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Political Donations and Other Measures) Bill 2008

Referral to Committees

4:08 pm

Photo of Chris EvansChris Evans (WA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

Senator Abetz, I have listened to you for years saying how terrible it will be if the Greens have the balance of power; how awful it would be to hand over to the Greens, to the Democrats or to the Independents the capacity to influence legislation and to hold the balance. And what are you doing today? You are saying, ‘We will defer these measures until we lose the numbers. Then we will leave it to the Greens and the Independents’—sorry, Senator Bartlett, not the Democrats, because they will no longer be with us. The great irony is that the opposition are so confused, so lost, so without direction and are such a rabble that they have decided to hand the decision to the Greens. They are saying: ‘We could vote on this now, but it is too hard. We are so confused, so divided, so lost and so lacking in any political courage that we are going to let the new Senate deal with it—the Senate where we do not have the majority.’ It is a cop-out. It is political cowardice at its worst. You can defend some of this behaviour on the basis that they have had a crushing electoral defeat, that they have a leader who is making no impression with the people of this country and that they are a dispirited rabble. But they have got to the position of making the decision—it is a strategy and Senator Abetz was no doubt part of this cunning plan—and they have said: ‘We will give up our right to make a decision on the budget. We will hand it over to the Greens, Senator Fielding and Senator Xenophon.’


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