Thursday, 9 February 2017
Selection of Bills Committee; Report
Can I indicate that Senator Di Natale has, unfortunately, either misunderstood or misrepresented my position and that of my colleagues both here and in the House of Representatives. We are still in negotiation with the government. We have serious concerns about a number of these measures. We believe in having an appropriate inquiry to thoroughly look at these measures, and the interaction between them ought to be undertaken. We have no concluded position. We are still talking to the government. But, also, key stakeholders are very concerned about these measures. Respectively to Di Natale, I think he may well have jumped the gun in terms of what he says our position will be. We think a Senate inquiry in respect of the omnibus bill is most appropriate. And it ought to be a thorough inquiry between now and 20 March.
In relation to the ABCC legislation, this relates to an important amendment as to one specific part of the bill. That ought to go to committee. But to have a full-blown four- or five-week inquiry when, in fact, there are two or three discrete issues that need to be dealt with, I believe it can be dealt with with a relatively short hearing and a short reporting date because these matters have previously been canvassed in the context of the ABCC legislation that has been dealt with. Of course, I do have some concerns about some aspects of this bill that, I believe, ought to be ventilated in the context of a Senate inquiry.