Thursday, 10 December 2020
Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Extension of Coronavirus Support) Bill 2020; Consideration of House of Representatives Message
and then arguing the fact that somehow—
Senator Wong interjecting—
The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Order!
I'm having a little trouble hearing at the moment, Chair.
Honourable senators interjecting—
The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Minister, could you take your seat, please. Could we please have order? I'm having trouble hearing the minister and I'm two metres away from the minister. Please, everybody, we're almost there. I can see Santa! Minister.
I just want to put on the record that, despite all that's gone before us today, the government believes it is an unnecessary amendment because it gives me the power to retain an instrument to make a power indefinitely when the parliament is sitting, as we speak. Additionally, the amendment engages highly technical legislation. If you passed this amendment, it would actually have unintended effects by the way of inadvertently ceasing some elements of the social security law linked to the payment in the supplement.
This power-making provision was initially put in place due to the unprecedented circumstances being faced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty around the ability for this place to sit. So circumstances have clearly changed, because the parliament is sitting. We are here today and the parliament is sitting. So, if the government decides to extend any measures past 31 March 2021 in response to circumstances that we might find ourselves in at that time, we will seek to legislate through the parliament in the usual manner because we do respect the power of this parliament.
The CHAIR: The question is that the motion moved by the minister be agreed to.