Thursday, 13 May 2021
Consideration of Legislation
Unquestionably, Australia stands absolutely side by side with India through the pandemic crisis that currently is impacting that country, and we will continue to stand by countries around the world as they go through the pandemic. However, decisions in relation to Australia and decisions in relation to legislation remain in the purview of the government. The idea that Senator Patrick, with the support of the Greens, would seek to come in here and decide that he himself is the one who decides how this chamber is operating—there is a process—sort of surprises me. Senator Patrick has always been one of the people who have been particularly consistent in understanding the processes and the procedures of this chamber. I understand that Senator Patrick is a great respecter of the processes of this place and respects this chamber. So I find it quite surprising that he comes in here today and decides to rearrange government business.
However, I would just like to put on the record, before I finish my short contribution on this matter, that Australia takes its responsibility for keeping Australians safe very, very seriously. We also take our responsibility in relation to all Australians very, very seriously. We will always make sure that we operate in the best interests of the health and safety of our citizens, because there can be no more important thing that a government can do than to protect the safety of its citizens and its country. We will continue to do so. But we will continue also to defend the right of the government to determine the operation of the business of this chamber. I'm sorry, Senator Patrick, but I think this is, once again, a stunt. I'm particularly disappointed because I know how widely held your views on convention are in this place, and for you to come in here and seek to abuse that I find quite surprising.