Senate debates

Tuesday, 13 September 2016


Consideration of Legislation

12:55 pm

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

If there are no other colleagues who wish to speak I will sum up, as is my prerogative.

It is standard in the ordinary course of events in this place that the government seeks exemption from the cut-off so that a bill can be dealt with in the same session in which it is introduced. By and large this works on a cooperative basis and parties seldom abuse that process. I acknowledge to the chamber that that is the case and take at face value the reasons put forward by colleagues in relation to the bills that they would like to be put separately. I will turn to each of those in turn.

I should indicate at the outset that, while it is obviously the prerogative of the Senate to have bills put separately in this motion so that they can vote differently, the government will be voting to see all of these bills exempted from the cut-off. What happens is in the chamber's hands.

The Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016 is one where there is a large degree of emerging commonality between the government and the opposition. We went to the election with our savings plan, and the opposition went to the election with their savings plan. This particular bill seeks to present to the parliament those savings measures that both the government and the opposition agree upon. I know that there has been good discussion taking place between our Treasury and finance team and that of the opposition and that we are very close, if not already at the point of agreement. I assume that we might be able to find common ground with the opposition in terms of exempting the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016 from the requirement of the cut-off. It is an important bill to be dealt with quickly because it will go towards improving the financial position of the Commonwealth. For our part, on this side we hope that there will be other examples where both government and opposition can work together to repair the budget bottom line.

One of the reasons we came through the global financial crisis so well was the nation's strong fiscal position. I have to tip my lid to the former federal Treasurer, Mr Costello, for his work.


No comments