Senate debates

Wednesday, 13 February 2019


Consideration of Legislation

9:31 am

Photo of Jacinta CollinsJacinta Collins (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Cabinet Secretary) Share this | Hansard source

I thought that the Manager of Government Business in the Senate actually wanted to hear (e). I'll get to (e) now:

(e) at the conclusion of consideration of the message, government business order of the day No.4 Treasury Laws Amendment (Strengthening Corporate and Financial Sector Penalties) Bill 2018 shall be called on and have precedence over all government business until determined.

That is the motion that I have moved the suspension with respect to. We've moved this motion this morning because the opposition believes that, given the events in the House of Representatives yesterday, the issue should be given precedence over all other business until it is resolved. The volatility in this place just highlights that further. The House of Representatives yesterday made amendments to the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 that was considered in the Senate on the final sitting day of 2018. These amendments mean that the government must now listen to advice of doctors about whether sick refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island should be evacuated to Australia for medical care.

Labor worked with the crossbench members of the other place to secure important amendments to strengthen this bill. Labor has been doing the same thing in the Senate and has been working closely with senators across the crossbench to make sure these amendments are supported in both houses of parliament. The passing of these amendments in the House yesterday afternoon marked the first time a government has lost a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives in 90 years. This is a significant event and one that surely means the issue deserves priority consideration this morning in the Senate.

The hysterical response from the Liberal government to the events of the House of Representatives just shows how desperate they are. We have a dangerous and volatile Prime Minister. The attempts of the government today to prevent this issue from being dealt with as a matter of priority show they are just scared of losing another vote. They are a government that is divided. They are a government in chaos. They are a government—put simply—out of control. The government cannot be surprised that this matter would be atop our priority list in the Senate today. The government could have been the ones to list this issue the first time this morning, but instead we have business as usual—the Labor Party managing the program from opposition, something we have seen consistently now for some time. I urge senators to support this suspension. Let this chamber have the debate.


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