Thursday, 18 March 2021
Selection of Bills Committee; Report
I, too, rise to take this unusual opportunity of being able to talk about the Senate Standing Committee for Selection of Bills. I understand the Selection of Bills Committee report was in unanimous agreement. Usually it does—
Senator Siewert interjecting—
Senator Siewert, the point I'd like to make is to draw attention to what is going on here. What is going on here, by using this part of the program, is that the government are in a complete mess and they have lost all control of the business of this chamber—all control of it. I have no doubt that what is happening out there, outside of this chamber, is that a number of people are busily trying to write an amendment or a guillotine or an hours motion—or all three—to deal with the rest of the business of this week. After spending three days on one bill, we're up against time now and the government haven't even got the ability to draft an hours motion or a guillotine motion in time to have it dealt with by this chamber. That's what is happening now.
Poor Senator Ruston, and I feel for her, has been sent in to waste time in this chamber, to waste time when we have important bills that need to be dealt with today—the industrial relations bill, which we don't support; JobSeeker. There are motions. There is a whole program that the government are disrupting through their own inability to deliver anything. I can't imagine a situation where this would have occurred under previous leadership, I honestly can't. There is absolutely no way that then Minister Cormann wouldn't have been sitting in that chair with everything zipped up. What we're faced with today is this ridiculous waste of time because they haven't got their house in order—not just one house, they haven't got any house in order! The amendments aren't in order, the guillotine that's coming our way is not in order and the hours motion is not in order.
The lives of all those people relying on JobSeeker hang in the balance while those opposite mess around trying to get their ideological war against workers through this parliament. There are millions of people relying on JobSeeker, an extension or a permanent increase to that payment, and their incomes hang in the air because of the inability of this team to get anything through this chamber. It's an outrageous waste of this chamber's time.