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

I will have to disagree with you there, Senator Cameron. It underlines the importance of collectively doing what we can as a parliament to return the Commonwealth budget to a much stronger position, so I do acknowledge the opposition coming together with us on the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016.

Senator Siewert indicated that the Australian Greens are not comfortable with the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Country of Origin) Bill being exempt from the cut-off. Again, I think that this is important legislation. It is important for consumer transparency, and that is something that we are keen to get on with.

The Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate has indicated that the National Cancer Screening Register Bill 2016 and the National Cancer Screening Register (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2016 are two bills that they, with the Australian Greens, would like to refer to a Senate committee. I will sound note of caution here: my understanding is that, in order for the arrangements to be put in place for this register, September is a critical month, and the reporting date proposed by the Manager of Opposition Business is in October. My understanding is that the concept of a national cancer screening register is not controversial. I think we are all agreed on the need to do what we can to assist in this area. Mr President, for your benefit, the bill seeks to establish the National Cancer Screening Register, a national electronic infrastructure for the collection, storage, analysis and reporting of cancer screening program data for the National Cervical Screening Program and the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. It also authorises the collection, use and disclosure of information for the purposes of the register, creates an offence of unauthorised disclosure of the information and mandates the reporting of screening information to the register. That is from the Senate Table Office bills list summary. I do not think there are many issues in this bill that are of great controversy.

I would urge my colleagues to seriously consider exempting all of the bills in the motion lodged by Senator McGrath to exempt the bills listed from the provisions of the cut-off. As I say, the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill is an important one for this chamber to consider quickly. The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Country of Origin) Bill, again, I think is timely legislation that the parliament should get on with addressing—and also, as I have indicated, the National Cancer Screening Register Bill 2016, which is one that is listed for today on the Dynamic Red. I would note that my advice is that that particular motion proposing reference to a Senate committee came in at about 9.45 this morning, so that is not in the ordinary course of events. Usually such motions are lodged much earlier. With those few remarks, I will put the motion in the hands of the chamber.


No comments