Senate debates

Monday, 26 November 2018


Suspension of Standing Orders

4:06 pm

Photo of Cory BernardiCory Bernardi (SA, Australian Conservatives) Share this | Hansard source

Pursuant to contingent notice and at the request of Senator O'Sullivan, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent me moving a motion that general business notice of motion No. 1212 may be moved immediately and determined without amendment or debate.

The reason we want to do this is because the litany of allegations, the fact-finding, the discussions, the public disclosure of the conduct within the Greens political party is so egregious. It contains the most grievous misdemeanours, including sexual harassment and allegations of rape. Those in the Greens pocket in this chamber are in abject denial about it. Just last week, when I was making points in this place, they were yelling abuse at me, saying it was a misuse of parliamentary privilege. Not two hours later they had to do the mea culpa and admit that there has been a disaster under Senator Di Natale's watch. Every Green in this chamber stands condemned for turning a blind eye to the malfeasance that is endemic in their party. Not only is there misogyny; there is misandry, there is heterophobia and there is clearly homophobia. There is a phobia and an ism for everyone in that place, because they will not take control of the disaster that is endemic.

We know the candidate for Batman was accused—I think there were 70 pages of bullying allegations. We know that a candidate accused of rape, who is named in this motion, was not removed from the Greens ballot paper until only days before the Victorian election. We know that former Senator Rhiannon, a person of integrity insofar as she wants to uphold some decency and normality within the Greens, as much as that can be said, was on the warpath about the types of behaviour that were ignored by the leadership within the Greens.

What concerns me in the debate and discussion about the conduct of a political party that have received in excess of $28 million of taxpayer funding, that stands in here and pretends to be pious and accuses everyone else of all sorts of misdemeanours, grievances and moral failures, is that they are the ones that have a history of covering up the abuse, the rampant sexism, the sexual molestation and the allegations of rape. We know about volunteers that have been dismissed by the Greens parliamentary party when they've raised complaints. We know they've been dismissed by the Greens organisational wing. This is a body that is completely bereft of any normality or any morality. They have an obligation to assist those who reach out and say, 'Something has taken place under your watch and you need to redress this.' Yet they refuse to do it. May I quote Senator Di Natale and Senator Hanson-Young: 'The standard you walk past is the standard that you accept.' Yet all of them have chosen to walk past the litany of allegations against the Greens.

It's not confined to volunteers or to their candidates. We could continue to go on and on about the reports of what happens within the Greens parliamentary party and within their organisational wing. We know they've always been a secretive body that won't allow the media into their annual general meetings, and clearly the reason has been exposed: they don't like anyone gazing upon the entrails of what happens within the Greens movement. It is a movement that is rife with misogyny. It is a movement that is rife with misandry. It is a movement that picks one group of people over another every single time, and now they are caught in this conniption.

What do we do? Do we back the young lady who claims that she's been raped or molested by a Greens volunteer, or do we back the volunteer, the person who has allegedly perpetrated this crime? That is the question. Because the Greens have refused to deal with this, because they have refused to publicly address it except in spurious denials and by saying it's all been resolved by internal processes, we need this Senate to make a statement.

I am ashamed of Labor denying formality. You can vote against it if you like and put up a position why, but denying it formality because you're afraid of what it might expose in your ranks is what I find galling. (Time expired)


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