Senate debates

Monday, 14 July 2014


Suspension of Standing Orders

10:01 am

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Social Services) Share this | Hansard source

Pursuant to contingent notice of motion standing in the name of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Abetz, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent a minister moving a motion to provide for the consideration of any matter, namely, a motion to give precedence to a motion to vary the routine of business for today.

In this place it has been a long-accepted convention that the government of the day should, in the ordinary course of events be able to list in order the government legislation for consideration for a particular day. That has been the practice in this place for generations. We may disagree in this place on a range of matters, such as whether and when time management motions should be used. But it has been a long-accepted practice in this place that the government has the right to list the government order of business for the day. I should acknowledge that the opposition did not deny leave for me to seek to move a motion. I should acknowledge that the crossbench senators did not deny leave for me to move this motion.

The reason there is a necessity for me to seek leave to move a motion is because of a motion that was passed in this place on Monday. That motion, which received the support of the chamber was that the carbon tax package repeal bills be dealt with first and that subsequent to that the Climate Change Authority (Abolition) Bill 2013 be dealt with as the next item of business. As we know, the climate change package repeal bills were dealt with at the conclusion of last week and, as I think all colleagues know, it is the hope of the government that that package of bills will be through the House this week and again into the Senate chamber.

It is the desire of the government and, I know, of a number of other senators in this place that the package of bills be dealt with before the Climate Change Authority (Abolition) Bill. So the motion that the government is seeking to move here today is to give effect to what I believe is the desire of a majority of senators and to address the fact that there is still, in effect, part of a motion that was passed on Monday of last week.

The government has before today—in fact, yesterday—made contact with all groupings of senators in this place, indicating its intention to move this motion. I spoke to those colleagues who I was able to speak to directly and left messages for other colleagues, and emailed the intended motion. So the government has been communicating with all its colleagues about its desire to do this. The motion itself was circulated in the chamber as well. I understand that our intention was also raised at the regular cross-party whips meeting this morning.

I think the government has pursued the appropriate processes, both formal and informal, to advise its colleagues of the government's intention. I come back to the longstanding convention in this place that, in the ordinary course of events, the government of the day should be able to list the bills for consideration in government business time, much as the non-government parties list the bills that they would like to consider in private senators' bill time on Thursday morning.

I hope that a majority of my colleagues will agree to the suspension of the standing orders. I regret that there was the need to move to suspend the standing orders. I would have hoped that leave would have been granted. It was denied in this case by the Australian Greens. I encourage my colleagues to give favourable consideration to suspending the standing orders so that I can then move the motion to list as government business orders of the day those that have been circulated in this chamber and advised to my colleagues.

Mr President, I will leave my remarks there. As you know, there is provision for a 30-minute debate on the suspension of the standing orders. I hope the Senate does not need to be detained with a full 30-minute debate. I commend the suspension of the standing orders to my colleagues.


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