Senate debates

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Bills

Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; In Committee

3:20 am

Photo of Jacinta CollinsJacinta Collins (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Cabinet Secretary) Share this | Hansard source

We may get a real chance, Senator O'Sullivan, to prove that but, under this fix, it will be under your new system, which is rigged. Your new system is rigged to generate that outcome. And so we go back again to the minister's earlier comments where I think Senator Carr was very generous in saying that the minister—I cannot recall the exact phrase he used—was being disingenuous when he claimed that these measures are completely independent of when an election might occur. They are not completely independent. We know, with pretty much 100 per cent confidence, that Mr Turnbull will not be calling a double dissolution election if these measures do not succeed. We all know that. I do not know the minister's idea on logical possibilities, but he does not seem to have a good grasp of it. We do know that Mr Turnbull will not go to a double dissolution election without these measures.

We also know that the Greens have been complicit in delivering that possibility. I was picked up earlier for referring to Senator Di Natale as the 'senator for half measures', but this gives me the opportunity to explain his half measures, because when he scurried around—concerned because his own colleagues were concerned about the double dissolution implications—to try to work out what he might be able to fix and decided that a delay in the implementation was what would help, he only managed to get a delay until 2 July. We all know that there are three further Saturdays by which a double dissolution could occur. I do not know how he explained that in the party room. I do not know how he said to Senator Hanson-Young, 'Look, I have at least been able to eliminate half of the potential double dissolutions.'

I really do not know how satisfying that was for Senator Hanson-Young. I can only assume that it was not very satisfying because she is the one Green who has not spoken on the second reading of this bill. She has not been here as part of the Greens team during the debate—and I do not blame her at all, because she has been around long enough to understand the implications of what is going on for her in South Australia. Her scenario is, of course, that her leader, Senator Di Natale, has done a deal with the government, which will benefit Senator Xenophon in South Australia, to her and her other colleagues' detriment. She understands that very clearly. It would be an interesting place to be, the Greens party room, as they muse through this, because not only has the nature of the fix been highlighted, but also the inadequacies of the process and of the issues that they have failed to address in this fix must be outright embarrassing.

But they are now stuck in a scenario where they have to allow hours of detailed consideration to highlight this point, because they have assured the public at large that they will not gag. So, as I said at the outset of this process, we have been forced into an undesirable situation, which is: we need to deal with these issues in a committee stage consideration before the whole of the Senate at this hour of the night, and we need to do it in a way where we have people like Senator Macdonald, again—

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