Senate debates

Friday, 26 November 2010

Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010

In Committee

11:50 am

Photo of Joe LudwigJoe Ludwig (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Manager of Government Business in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

There was ample opportunity, as I indicated, on Wednesday night to deal with the substantive matters in committee. The opposition refused point-blank to engage in it. In addition to that, not only did they refuse point-blank to deal with it; they then used every procedural device they could think of—and, quite frankly, that was not all of them but every one that they could think of—to ensure that they could not get to the substantive element of the debate, that is, the committee stage. They think that they have not had an opportunity. They had an opportunity on Wednesday. They did not want it. They wanted to spend all their time on procedures. On Thursday, when they had another opportunity to start again and deal with the committee stage of the bill, they did not want to do that. They wanted to spend all their time on process, on procedural devices to ensure that they did not have the ability to engage in the debate. They did not want to engage in the debate. They wanted to ensure that they did not get an opportunity to get into the committee stage. Why? Because they wanted to deal with procedural matters, the process. This is an opposition that is stuck in process.

In addition to that, they then had an opportunity to continue in committee, which they did not want to adopt. What we now have, as I have indicated, is another procedural device—just another one. If they had ensured that they used their time effectively during the committee stage of the debate, they would have had more than three hours; they would have had up to five hours of additional debate in committee. But, no—they spent 2½ to three hours on not wanting to debate the bill in committee. It is up to the opposition to come up with a reason for why they did not want to debate in committee. Now they cry crocodile tears that they did not get to speak. They had not only Wednesday night; they had two hours of procedural matters, when they could have said, ‘No, thank you. We understand the debate,’ as has been done in this parliament before, when you can collapse a procedural debate to ensure that there is sufficient time to deal with these things. But, no, they wanted to continue to do that.

We say we need to get on with this bill. The device, the management, was put in place yesterday. It was agreed to by a majority of the Senate. What we now have is an opposition that does not want to abide by the majority will of the Senate. They want to continue to wreck not only the Senate’s procedures but also this bill. This government is pursuing this bill. It is a bill that is vital for this government to pass this week, and we intend to do so. I move:

That the question be now put.


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