Thursday, 29 November 2018
Consideration by Estimates Committees
I move the revised amendment to government business notice of motion No. 2 that has been circulated in the chamber:
(1) In paragraph (1), omit:
" 2019-20 Budget Estimates:
Tuesday, 28 May to Thursday, 30 May, and, if required, Friday, 31 May (Group A)
Monday, 3 June to Thursday, 6 June, and, if required, Friday 7 June (Group B)"
"2019-20 Budget Estimates:
Thursday, 4 April and Monday, 8 April to Thursday, Tuesday 9 April, and, if required, Friday 12 April (Group A)
Friday, 5 April and Wednesday 10 April to Thursday, 11 April, and, if required, Friday 12 April (Group B)".
(2) In paragraphs (2) and (3) omit: "Friday, 31 May", substitute: "Friday, 12 April".
(3) In paragraph (6) (a), omit: "Tuesday, 16 April 2019", substitute: "Tuesday, 2 April 2019".
(4) In paragraph (6) (b), omit: "Tuesday, 25 June 2019", substitute: "Tuesday, 14 May 2019".
This amendment seeks to add two days for estimates consideration of the budget on Thursday, 4 April and Friday, 5 April 2019. This mirrors the process that was in place immediately prior to the 2016 election. It also seeks to reschedule the week proposed for budget estimates hearings from Tuesday, 28 May to Thursday 30 May and Monday, 3 June to Thursday, 6 June 2019 to Monday, 8 April to Thursday, 11 April 2019. This would create three days for each estimates group.
The government cannot dodge the accountability of the estimates process by scheduling estimates hearings eight weeks after the budget or by calling an election. This amendment seeks to shift the budget estimates hearings to where they belong—right after the budget—and to preserve as much of them as possible before any election is called. Again, I would like to assure the leaders of non-government parties and Independent senators that the opposition will work with them to facilitate time for those senators to make their budget reply speeches in budget week, as would ordinarily be the case. I commend the amendment to the Senate.