Senate debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Business

Consideration of Legislation

10:38 am

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | Hansard source

I have never seen such a self-indulgent stunt, wasting the Senate's time, in my entire career in this chamber. I have to tell you, after 13½ years in this chamber, that is the most self-indulgent, unproductive waste-of-time stunt from anyone on any side. You really take the cake. There's been some big competition, I have to tell you, but you really take the cake. This bill that Senator Keneally wants to bring on now is the next bill after the one that we're about to debate.

You are now wasting 30 minutes of the Senate's time, when we could have dispatched the Payment Times Reporting Bill 2020 and got into the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Citizenship Cessation) Bill 2020, important national security related legislation, which we introduced—it is our legislation—and which we want to be passed today. You are standing in the way of it being passed today. You are delaying the work of the Senate through your games—your self-indulgent, embarrassing, wasting-the-Senate's-time games. It's because it is all 'look at me'. This is the approach of these senators: 'Look at me. I have to make myself relevant. I have to get myself in the middle of this. I've got to make it look as if somehow I'm helping to facilitate this.'

Let me tell you: I doubt that there will be many non-Labor senators who will be supporting this. I suspect that Labor senators will only support this stunt because they're bound by caucus rules. Otherwise, I would be very interested in what Senator O'Neill, for example, thinks about this particular self-indulgent stunt, and I'm very interested in what some of these other senators think about this self-indulgent stunt. Senator Keneally is disrupting the business of the Senate so that she can move the bill up by one in the order of business. Anybody who watches the operations of the Senate knows that, of course, in the ordinary course of events, we were going to get to this today; we were going to be able to pass it today. If the Labor Party really is serious about wanting to pass this, there is a constructive way to engage with the government—in the way that, quite frankly, we often do with the Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate—where we can put certain procedural arrangements in place to ensure that we don't leave tonight unless and until this particular legislation is passed.

But—do you know what?—we've got two important pieces of legislation to deal with. We have the Payment Times Reporting Bill 2020 and the Payment Times Reporting (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020 that need to be passed, and we need to, of course, deal with our reform in relation to Australian citizenship cessation arrangements, and this stunt by Senator Keneally has done nothing—nothing whatsoever—to facilitate their passage or to accelerate their passage. All it has done is delay their passage.

But what it has done, of course, is put a spotlight on Senator Keneally. Senator Keneally was hoping that it would put a positive spotlight on her. But, of course, all it has done is show everyone that in these sorts of matters it is always about Senator Keneally herself, personally. She wants to put herself into the limelight in a completely unproductive fashion. We are now wasting 30 minutes of the Senate's time because of this sort of completely unproductive and unnecessary attempt to disrupt the business of the Senate.

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