Thursday, 17 March 2016
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; In Committee
I will address the issues that Senator Collins has raised in turn. Let me start with her assertion that Labor is not conducting a filibuster. We all know that Labor is conducting a filibuster. Don't take my word for it: Labor senators are bragging to the press gallery that they are conducting a filibuster. In fact, if you go to Twitter—and I encourage you to follow Alice Workman from BuzzFeed—you will see that Alice Workman from BuzzFeed has tweeted that Labor senators have texted her saying that they plan to filibuster in the Senate until 9 am or until the Greens gag them.
This is a game for the Labor Party. This is not serious. You are not interested in the issues. You know that we are doing the right thing. You know that the proposal put forward by the government and supported by the Greens and Senator Xenophon is doing the right thing by the Australian people. It is empowering the Australian people to determine what happens to their preferences instead of having their preferences traded and directed by political parties and backroom operators against their wishes.
Senator Collins again asks me the same question in relation to misleading or deceptive publications. I have already referred to section 329 of the Electoral Act. I have already said very clearly that the government believes that this is a sufficient deterrent to ensure that voters are not misled or deceived in relation to the casting of their vote. That is our position. Senator Collins is entitled to disagree with it. Senator Collins is entitled to move an amendment to make a different arrangement, and then the Senate can adjudicate in relation to her amendment. However, I have transparently put in front of the Senate the position of the government, and the position of the government is that we support the current provisions in section 329 of the Electoral Act dealing with misleading or deceptive publications when it comes to the casting of a vote.