Senate debates

Monday, 26 November 2018


Suspension of Standing Orders

4:11 pm

Photo of Barry O'SullivanBarry O'Sullivan (Queensland, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

I have. I've had to read it twice. It's not a very well-written piece, but I have read it thoroughly. 'No woman deserves to be harassed in her workplace.' Obviously that does not extend to you if you're a follower of the Australian Greens or a member of their party. Let me repeat it for effect: 'No woman deserves to be harassed in her workplace.'

The reason that we considered this motion was the fact that—while the Greens can stand and deny this—media reports suggest that efforts by the media to obtain comments from members of the Greens party, including the leadership, were unsuccessful. I note that Senator Hanson-Young and others on that side are particularly quiet today. They're particularly silent there. That's the longest I've seen them without their heads up. You need to get your tail up here and defend yourselves. The fact of the matter is that they were contacted by the media and they refused to make comment. The only reason, Senator Bernardi—through you, Madam Deputy President—that they responded to this was this motion. This motion drove them to have to make a decision last week, and they've finally done the right thing in the circumstances.

Fundamentally, we're here now fighting for a freedom of voice. This is about freedom of speech. We are entitled to bring matters of a serious nature to the floor of this Senate, and we have. I've done so. I've been the subject now of a constant denying of formality to motions. As I indicated the other week, we're now going to have a Ronald McDonald special on this. Each time I get denied, I'm going back with two and then, when you do two, I'll do four. This is trying to silence people who want to have a debate or want to have a decision taken, people who want to expose the position of people in relation to particular behaviour—in this case, within the Greens party—because it doesn't suit them. This is directed to you in the Labor Party. You can smile all you want. I'll be interested to see, if we get this up, where you guys vote.

A vote against this motion by the members of the Greens party—kick in, guys, kick in; I'm not used to standing here without you giving me a bollocking—will be interesting. For them to vote against this motion will be, as their behaviour demonstrates at the moment, a complete re-affirmation of the adoption and the cultivation of a culture within a political movement, an important movement, within this country, towards young, vulnerable women—and not one or two of them. This motion would never have got legs if it was one or two.

This is a systemic problem within the Greens. These people speak. They talk. They have a lot to say, but they never back it up with action. If you can't tidy up your own house, you can't come in here lecturing us on moral issues, issues around sexual assaults—until you fix matters at home.


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