Thursday, 16 November 2017
Selection of Bills Committee; Report
At the end of the motion, add:
"but, in respect of the provisions of the Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017, and the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017, the Education and Employment Legislation Committee report by 9 February 2018."
I hope the amendment has been circulated in the chamber, but if not I will just explain to senators what the amendment is. As usual, agreement has been reached on the vast majority of the selection of bills, reporting dates and referrals. But there was one exception for the opposition, which was in relation to the Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017 and the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017 and the referral date. My amendment is to refer it to the Education and Employment Legislation Committee with a reporting date of 9 February 2018.
We think this is an entirely reasonable a position considering the extensive list of bills that the government has before the Senate already and the acknowledgement that we will be spending a large part of the second-last week of the Senate's sitting schedule dealing with the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017, which we started debating this morning. There is no shortage of legislation to deal with by the end of this year. We know that the bill itself is contested in terms of stakeholders raising concerns around some of the unintended consequences but also the lack of consultation. This bill was announced in April. If it really was that much of a priority for the government that it needed to be dealt with this year, they shouldn't have waited until September to introduce the bill. I hope that other senators support this amendment and refer those bills to the Education and Employment Legislation Committee with a reporting date of 9 February 2018.