Wednesday, 27 June 2018
National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017, Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2017; First Reading
I rise to support the sentiment of the Greens and, indeed, the crossbench in stating that this is complex legislation. Whilst the legislation has been considered in great detail by that committee, the information that's flowed out from that has flowed to us only very, very recently. We are not permitted to participate in the PJCIS, and so no-one could argue that there has been any ability for us to read and digest the information in that time frame.
I take Senator Leyonhjelm's point about the minister not really explaining the urgency. Normally you have to ground a claim when you make it, and it doesn't do you any favours, Minister, in not doing so here today. I make the point also that last week in the chamber I faced a round of criticism for not allowing debate on another bill, which I would argue was much, much simpler. I had the Labor Party heckling me across the chamber. I had Senator Wong accusing me of being in bed with Senator Cormann. I think the words were, 'When Senator Cormann says jump, Senator Patrick says, "How high?"' I don't know why this doesn't translate into this particular debate.