Senate debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020


Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Extension of Coronavirus Support) Bill 2020; Consideration of House of Representatives Message

8:42 pm

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

Can I just put on the record some clarity around this amendment disagreed to by the House. The amendment that is being proposed would keep supplementary provisions in place indefinitely, rather than being managed by primary legislation. In the contributions from everybody else in this chamber, we actually didn't hear very much about the substance of the amendment. Instead, what we heard was an absolutely vicious personal attack on the Prime Minister. I think Senator Keneally traversed just about every single subject matter that's ever been before this chamber, with the exception of the matter that was before the chair.

When we first brought this particular measure into the chamber at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, on 23 March, we asked this place to enable me to exercise these powers in the absence of being able to come back to this place to seek for this place to make this decision as it normally would. Senator Gallagher, I'll quote your own words back to you. When you stood up in this place, when you gave me the powers for this particular measure, you said it gave 'unprecedentedly broad powers to the minister' and you said:

We did believe that this needed an expiry date because of the significant powers that are being delegated from legislation to regulation …

It has been extended. It has been extended but we're seeking—

Senator Keneally interjecting—

So it is, rather, rank hypocrisy to come in here—

Senator Wong interjecting—


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