Thursday, 23 August 2018
I won't be supporting this motion. I do not believe it's appropriate that the Senate pass judgement on the government in this manner. We are senators, and the Senate has convened and is working today, and the government has presented ministers to answer questions, and I think it is appropriate that we continue to do so. So, I do not believe that it's appropriate for the Senate to be calling the Prime Minister to act. There is a Prime Minister and there's a process going on.
But this is a very embarrassing situation for Australia. It is no wonder that many voters are leaving major parties and voting for Independents and other crossbench parties. We've heard from some of them today, and many of the sentiments made in part by some of the crossbench ring very true. We have significant issues at stake to deal with in Australia, in particular with regard to energy policy, for example. It is one area where the people need trust, and certainly even business certainty, to move forward. There are no guarantees of affordability or where it's going in terms of environmental sustainability. There's certainly a need for the government to move forward. There is a Prime Minister in place. The government will look to change its leader. It's unfortunate that this is occurring, and it should not be. The Australian people vote on a three-yearly basis to choose a party and senators to represent them, and there should be appropriate processes such that the government can govern and lead. Australia does not want to see the continual knifing of leaders as has occurred over the last 10 years.
I echo many of the sentiments of the crossbench here today. I hope that the Australian people can have representation both in the lower house and also in a Senate that will approach legislation on its merits as befits this house of review and will do so with principles of integrity, fairness and sustainability and with an eye to the prosperity of the Australian people as a whole. Therefore, I am not calling for the government to go to an election. We have an election coming within the next year, and the Australian people, I think, wish to see the government take its course and make their judgement at that time, when they can choose representatives in the lower house and also, importantly, senators that will independently review legislation brought forward by the government of the day under reasonable and decent principles.