Senate debates

Thursday, 18 March 2021



4:15 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move:

That today—

  (a) the hours of meeting be 9.30 am to adjournment;

  (b) following the tabling (only) of committee reports, the routine of business be the introduction and consideration of the Archives and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021;

  (c) if, after 30 minutes, consideration of the bill has not concluded, the questions on all remaining stages be put;

  (d) paragraph (c) operate as a limitation of debate under standing order 142;

  (e) divisions may take place after 4.30 pm; and

  (f) the Senate adjourn without debate on the motion of a minister

This motion has been circulated. In moving it, and as I indicated earlier in the day, the government is bringing forward legislation—the Archives and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021—which will seek to achieve the very important outcome of guaranteeing to any individuals who participate in the inquiry and review into parliament's workplace practices that is being undertaken by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Commissioner Kate Jenkins, through the Australian Human Rights Commission that their participation can be done with the utmost confidence in its confidentiality. This legislation will be able to provide any existing or former staff member in this place, or indeed any other individual seeking to make submissions, with the confidence that, if they make a submission and participate in any way in that review and wish for their information to remain confidential, it will remain confidential.

I thank various parties for their advocacy in relation to this matter. It was certainly the government's intention at the outset, in using the Human Rights Commission, that we believed there were sufficient protections in place to guarantee confidentiality. This legislation will, if you like, provide an absolute additional way to safeguard that, such that I hope everyone can engage in it. The government recognises the urgency of passing such legislation to give the confidence, and hence the hours motion that I'm proposing.


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