Senate debates

Friday, 22 June 2012


Parliamentary Counsel and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012; Second Reading

11:58 am

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration) Share this | Hansard source

I too rise to speak on the Parliamentary Counsel and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012. In addressing my comments today it would be remiss of me not to begin by reminding the people of Australia that yet again, as so often in this place, as we look at the Order of Business, we see that limitations have been placed on the debate on this bill. The time allotted for debate on the remaining stages of this bill expires at 12.20 pm. For the benefit of those listening, it is not the case that we have been debating this legislation since the commencement of parliament at 9.30 this morning. In fact, the Senate has been forced to push through two other bills already this morning that were subject to the guillotine. One in particular was an appropriations bill, whereby those on the other side yet again had to come cap in hand to the parliament because once again they had miscalculated just how much money they were going to bleed from Australian taxpayers. This morning the Senate, again under the impetus of the guillotine, has had to push through a bill whereby the Labor Party have yet again asked for more money from the Australian taxpayer because of their complete, total and utter incompetence when it comes to managing Australia's economy.

When you come to this place as a senator you assume an important role in society, and one of the aspects of that role is in relation to accountability. Accountability and openness in government, I remind those on the other side, requires those who exercise power when performing the functions of government to demonstrate in and open and practical sense that they are doing so with honesty, integrity, appropriate skill and judgment, and that they have discharged their duty in a proper manner for the common good and in the public interest. The use of the guillotine is an indictment of the government and of their alliance partners the Greens yet again. Many comments have been made by the Prime Minister of Australia and the former Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown, saying that under no circumstances should democracy be put under attack and those who want to speak on bills be silenced. Let us see what the Prime Minister said at the National Press Club to the people of Australia on 31 August 2010. She said, 'People do want to see us more open, more accountable, more transparent. I am going to be held to higher standards of accountability than any other Prime Minister in the modern age.' I ask those on the other side: have you show the Prime Minister today's Dynamic Red? Has the Prime Minister seen that each bill the Australian Senate is debating today has been guillotined? What would the Prime Minister say in relation to the openness, accountability and the transparency she promised to the people of Australia?

What has the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Evans, said in relation to transparency, accountability and the use of the guillotine? This is what Senator Evans has put on the record:

... in government or opposition Labor supports the Senate as a strong house of review, scrutiny and accountability.

Senator Evans, all I can say to you is: have you seen the Senate Dynamic Red today? Clearly, if you have, you blatantly misled the people you were speaking to when you made that statement. Quite frankly, you probably were, because you do not believe in openness, accountability and transparency. Senator Whish-Wilson, I assume that today at 12.20 pm you will be voting for the guillotine. Perhaps you would like to know what your former leader said when he was confronted with the use of the guillotine.

"It is a case of a Howard-Crean guillotine on parliament and chainsaw attack on Australia's forests", a despairing Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.

That was back in 2002.


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