Senate debates

Thursday, 4 February 2016


Selection of Bills Committee; Report

12:18 pm

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Manager of Government Business in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

The government is disappointed that the chamber has chosen to set the reporting date that it has for the reference to the Senate Education and Employment Committee, and we are disappointed for the reasons well outlined by the Attorney and Minister Cash. This legislation has had extended, considered—sometimes thoughtful—examination by this chamber and by not one committee of the Senate but two committees of the Senate: the references committee and the legislation committee. In no way, shape or form can it be said that there has not previously been proper consideration and full debate in relation to this legislation. It cannot be said that it has not been considered and properly debated.

Despite the fact that that legislation has previously been defeated and is being reintroduced, nevertheless it is appropriate that there is proper consideration of this legislation, and the government is not suggesting for a moment that there should not be that proper consideration at each stage of the legislation through this chamber. What the government is saying is that this chamber should be given the opportunity to do that in a reasonable period of time. What the opposition and other colleagues, together, are seeking to do is unreasonably delay the consideration of this legislation and unreasonably delay the opportunity for the chamber to pass judgement by way of a vote in this place.

There is no provision in this legislation that is different from that which has previously been through the House and which has previously been presented to this chamber, considered by this chamber and failed to enjoy the support of this chamber. There are no provisions which are different. This is the same legislation. It has had a thorough consideration by the committees of this Senate. I should also indicate that the Scrutiny of Bills Committee, another important organ of this place, has previously, in the ordinary course of events, also looked at this legislation. It is clear—as you, Mr Deputy President, would know from your own following of these matters—that this particular proposition, which we seek to give effect to in this legislation, is one that the coalition has been very clear about for a long period of time, both prior to the last election and during this term of government. There is good and sound reason for this legislation to be passed.

We have asked the chamber that there not be unreasonable or unnecessary delays in the consideration of this legislation. Senator Brandis was right to oppose the date that was put forward by the opposition as an amendment to the Selection of Bills Committee report, which would see the report date kicked out into the future. We do not think that is reasonable. Because of that, and because of our desire for this chamber to give due consideration to this legislation in a reasonable time frame, the government is not in a position to support the adoption of the report of the Selection of Bills Committee.


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