Thursday, 28 February 2013
Suspension of Standing Orders
The government does not believe precedence should be given to this motion on the vilification of refugees and asylum seekers. As much as we are concerned about the vilification of refugees and asylum seekers, within about half an hour of us establishing today the agreed program of business Senator Hanson-Young sought leave to move this motion, having given no prior notice in the chamber. We were subsequently apprised that the Greens may attempt, if leave was not granted, to suspend standing orders. If Senator Hanson-Young wants to debate this issue, there are other opportunities today. In fact, general business is a component of this afternoon's program.
The substantive motion requests the Senate to reject the vilification of refugees and asylum seekers. There was no indication of the context or the urgency of the matter. Senator Hanson-Young has subsequently raised some issues, as she did in question time as well. None of these issues are matters of sufficient urgency to disrupt the agreed program, particularly given the other opportunities in the program for these issues to be canvassed.