Senate debates

Monday, 16 March 2015


Suspension of Standing Orders

3:50 pm

Photo of Claire MooreClaire Moore (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Women) Share this | Hansard source

The Labor Party has a longstanding convention that we do not discuss complex and contested issues of policy, particularly around foreign affairs, as a notice of motion process. This is not new. Senator Hanson-Young knows it is not new. It is a longstanding policy. There are opportunities in Senate—although perhaps not enough, Mr Deputy President—to have the kind of debate which is necessary on issues such as the one that Senator Hanson-Young has brought before us in her notice of motion today. There are opportunities, in general business and in other elements of our debate, to have an appropriate discussion around something as important, as sensitive, and as complex as the real issue of human rights abuse for Tibet. But notices of motion are not the methodology. They never have been. We have reiterated this position on a number of occasions over the years. It is certainly frustrating that we are put in the position of having this kind of discussion—allowing people to have a five-minute opportunity to put their position clearly—to make some kind of pretence that only certain people in this place feel strongly about these issues.

The Senate has rules; the Senate has processes. We should work together to try to ensure that we work within those processes so that issues as important as this are not used as a pretence for a spurious argument or to lay blame on others in this place for perhaps not having as important and as real concerns. We believe that we should be able to look at processes within the Senate rules so we are able to give appropriate time and consideration to such issues. This is not the first time Labor have had to make this statement, and we will continue to do so. We would expect that perhaps we could have opportunities before having a notice of motion on the Notice Paper brought to this process to look at where we can have appropriate discussion.


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