Senate debates

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Bills

Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; In Committee

Photo of Lee RhiannonLee Rhiannon (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

If it had been the voters determining their preferences—

Senator Conroy interjecting—

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Senator Conroy!

Senator Conroy interjecting—

I acknowledge all the ridiculous comments that he has made, because—

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Order! Senator Rhiannon resume your seat. Come on, this is getting a bit out of hand and Senator Conroy especially. Please restrict your interjections. I am not going to continue asking you every few minutes to do this. Please let the speaker be heard in quiet.

It is an incredible about-face that Labor has had on its policy on group-voting tickets. Again, it is worth remembering that we have seen Labor in recent times in alliance with Family First—and that arrangement blew up in their face a bit. But let's come back to Labor here. It is just on one o'clock, and we have a few, only a few, Labor people here and, yes, they have woken up and come to life again, so we are probably going to get another round of groundhog day. So what is going on here? You have had your cold war language going on for a week but you have airbrushed former Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, out of history and out of the whole arrangement, and you bring in a new minister. Could one of you actually come on the record to say whether he has made any comment? It is the biggest issue, you keep telling us, in Senate voting reform, but you cannot come forward with any comment that he has made.

So you have a minister that is not participating in this—this whole episode that will be recorded as disgraceful for Labor when the history of this period is written—and there is no ministerial comment about it. That absolutely speaks volumes.

Again, let's also remember that your own leader is not with you. We now know that you own leader is not with you. He has given no commitment that the legislation will be repealed. If you think it is so terrible, you have put so much effort—you are now filibustering deep into the night to try and put off any vote on this and your own leader is not with you, your minister is not with you, the former minister is not with you and one of the people with the most outstanding record on Labor's side and probably in the whole parliament, former Senator John Faulkner, is certainly not with you—

Senator Cameron interjecting—

I think you are the one who is closer to Martin Ferguson these days, Doug, not me. You know that.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Ignore the interjections, Senator Rhiannon, I hope they cease.

Who is close to Martin Ferguson?

Senator Conroy interjecting—

I am happy that the cold war warriors are now competing with groundhogs. Let's just remember what the current leader, Mr Shorten, said: 'In terms of what we have to do after the election, we accept the system.' I know I have said it before, but these people need to be reminded of this: he said, 'In terms of what we do after the election, we accept the system. If it gets changed, has been changed, we will see how it works.'

That does not instil any confidence in the tactics that have been run out of here by Senators Wong, Conroy, Cameron, Collins, Dastyari—I note Senator Dastyari has not done much heavy lifting tonight. You have fallen into the groundhog system; spare us more groundhog days.

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