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

Thank you, Mr Deputy President. The reality about the guillotine under this government, with its little alliance partner, the Greens, is this: never have this many bills been guillotined in the Senate since the parliament first met in 1901—and it is worth noting that in the last three years of the Howard government, between 2004 and 2007, when the coalition had a majority in the Senate, we guillotined just 36 bills. But, in this sitting fortnight alone, Labor and their little friends the Greens will have managed to have guillotined the exact same number of bills—36 over three years versus 36 in two weeks. When you want to talk about an attack on democracy, be sure you are very careful about what you say to those on the other side, because by your actions you shall be judged. You have already been judged twice today, because two bills that we have voted on have been guillotined, and you will again be judged shortly, in approximately 15 minutes, because that is when yet again the guillotine is going to fall on this bill.

The bill is actually a non-controversial bill. The coalition will support this bill. Despite those on the other side running off to the media and bleating every day and saying, 'All the opposition does is oppose; all it ever does is oppose,' we are actually supporting this legislation, but that is not the point. The point is that legislation in this place should always be available for debate. The mere fact that those on the other side are so incompetent that they cannot get their sitting pattern right and have to extend hours this week and next week—the mere fact that they are causing the public to pay an extra million dollars today because they need to ram some legislation through this place—does not detract from the fact that even non-controversial legislation should be able to be debated.

One aspect of this bill which is of concern to the coalition—and this has become a regular occurrence under this government—is the content of the bill which we do not know about because the government puts it all into regulation. So many of the bills that come before this place are merely shell legislation and nothing more. We are told that we have to rely on the so-called good faith of those opposite in believing that what they eventually put into the regulation will not impact detrimentally on the Australian people.

On this bill, we are going to take you at your word. I can only say to the Australian public: I hope you too are able to take this party at its word, because, with so many of the bills that come before this place, it is an indictment on the government that it betrays the Australian people time and time again. In the interests of time, knowing that Senator Humphries would like to contribute to this debate and knowing that there is all but 12 minutes left before—yet again—the guillotine falls on the Senate, I conclude my remarks.


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