Thursday, 17 March 2016
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; In Committee
And I could go through that again, but let me focus on the comments on these amendments—firstly, that poor process.
The fact that the government is being forced to suffer the indignity of amending its own bill in the Senate tells us everything we need to know about the shambolic handling of this legislation. I do not know that I have seen a bill before that actually has four versions of explanatory memoranda. There were two in the House and two here.
Senator Brandis interjecting—
Senator Brandis sits there and scoffs at the suggestion that this has been a shambolic process but, hell, we would not have seen it in Senator Abetz's day! But we already know that you would not have seen the Greens deal under Senator Abetz's day either, don't we? That Mr Turnbull only woke up to Senator Brandis in relation to the arts portfolio continues to entertain a lot of people in this place. But it is no surprise to us that this has been a shambolic process.
This bill was the product of a dirty deal between the Liberals, the Greens and Senator Xenophon, behind closed doors. It was cooked up, as I said, behind closed doors and is now being rammed through the Senate. They would like it at lightning speed but, of course, they are restricted by the Greens rhetoric that there will not be a gag.
Let me describe a version of a gag to the Greens, just so we get this bit on the record. This is what I call 'legislation by attrition', which ultimately, of course, is a gag, because you get senators like Senator Birmingham coming in and saying, 'Oh, you're running out of puff! Oh, you're running out of material! Oh, you're going to run out! Oh, Jacinta, you need more material!' But we will continue to highlight the important issues in this debate.