Senate debates

Tuesday, 22 June 2021


Days and Hours of Meeting

3:34 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Here we go again. Here is a government that is trying to ram through—I just counted them—12 bills tonight. We all know that there will be another hours motion tomorrow and possibly one on Thursday as this government desperately tries to clear the decks, leaving their options open for an election. This is not the way to manage the chamber. You are treating the Senate like a rubber stamp, like a tick-and-flick exercise. I'm sorry to say that it's generally One Nation that gives you the numbers to treat the Senate thus. I hope Queenslanders realise that and remove Senator Hanson at the coming election and replace her with someone who will actually fight for them, rather than tick off everything the government proposes, screw over the battlers and deliver for the big corporations and the billionaires, as you and One Nation love to do.

We have 12 bills here tonight. There will not be proper time for debate. We won't get to justify and explain the amendments we are seeking to make, but you don't care; you're just ramming it through, treating the Senate like a rubber stamp because you have the numbers with One Nation in your back pocket. How lovely for you to have democracy sewn up so nicely, and I wonder what breadcrumbs you had to offer One Nation to get their support for this. It seems you don't actually need to proffer much for them; they are very happy to do the bidding of the government. It may well be that the opposition is content to pass this through as well. Nothing surprises me anymore. I will wait to see if we have any opposition from the opposition benches. We would welcome that in this and many other contexts, as the rest of the country would too. This is a desperate flurry to clear the decks from a government that paradoxically actually doesn't have much of an agenda. So I don't quite understand why you have had to move so many hours motions, because much of this legislation is flimsy at best.

But there is some sting in the tail tonight. I personally can't wait for the broadcasting bill, because your government has had to backtrack on delivering for Murdoch by actually trying to gut your own bill to say that Fox does in fact have to contain Australian content in its broadcast services, so that is one pleasing thing that will happen in that series of bills tonight. Other than that, it is a blancmange of either bland or damaging legislation, and we will see some of the even nastier bills, no doubt, gagged and rammed through tomorrow, and we will object at that stage as well. Either with the complacency and complicity of the opposition or with the pandering of One Nation, once again, the Senate will be treated like dirt, and executive power will be used and abused as per usual. I cannot wait for the election and I cannot wait to be seeing you guys sitting on that side.


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