Senate debates

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Business

Rearrangement

9:52 am

Photo of Anne RustonAnne Ruston (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Families and Social Services) Share this | Hansard source

I would draw to Senator Lambie's attention that I have always treated her with respect, and I would just like to put on the record in this place that I would really appreciate it if maybe she would treat me with some respect. We don't always have to agree. In fact, I'm quite happy for us not to agree, but a little bit of respect would go an awfully long way.

In relation to the substantive motion before the chamber on changing the order of business today to facilitate a virtue-signalling stunt by the Greens, an extremely important issue for all Australians is being debated. The safety of people in workplaces is of paramount importance, and I can assure you, as a member of this government, there is nothing that we take more seriously than workplace safety and making sure that everybody has the right to feel comfortable in their workplace. That is why this government—

Honourable senators interjecting—

Senator Waters has been a great advocate in relation to domestic violence. But, Senator Waters, if you were for real in relation to your actual commitment to this, you'd be working with me instead of coming in here and trying to politicise these issues. Because, as we all know, domestic violence and family violence is a particularly serious issue in the Australian economy. It absolutely devastates people's lives. It devastates families and it devastates children. We put in place the largest commitment and the largest amount of money behind domestic violence programs with the $340 million that was put behind the Fourth Action Plan. In addition, we immediately jumped to put money to support the frontline services to help women and their children who found themselves as victims of domestic violence through this COVID pandemic. I find it really quite disingenuous to have to be standing here today and, hopefully, voting down this ridiculous stunt that seeks to do nothing more than virtue signal on behalf of the Greens and puts nothing in place that's going to help Australian women in the workplace and Australian women who are victims of family and domestic violence. Instead, we are sitting here and wasting half an hour of really important time to debate really important legislation.

In the last couple of seconds I just want to reinforce that we take the substantive issue very, very seriously, but we are not going to play stupid games like those at the end of the chamber.

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