Senate debates

Thursday, 12 August 2021


Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Sunsetting Review and Other Measures) Bill 2021; In Committee

12:33 pm

Photo of Lidia ThorpeLidia Thorpe (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you very much. You've raised a very good point there, Temporary Chair—

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Senator Thorpe, I warn you again not to reflect on the chair. Whether it's a positive or negative comment, it is not required. Please make your contribution, if you wish to do so. Senator Thorpe, you have the call.

My apologies. I do take that very seriously, so thank you—because I do believe that the Senate is there for the people and I do believe in accountability and transparency to the Australian population. In this case, I do not believe that the Labor Party, the Liberal Party and the National Party are acting in good faith and being respectful to democracy in this country, because they won't allow anybody else to sit on their private little committee. So please tell me what 'democracy' means, because I am not seeing that in my new job as a senator for Victoria. I've been put here to call for accountability and to call for transparency. The Labor Party and the Liberal Party get together and have their little committee meeting, make their decisions, bring them to the Senate and expect the Australian people to accept their dodgy little committee findings—two of which, may I remind you all, have never been used since they were legislated. So why are you continuing two parts of this legislation that have never been used before? Wouldn't you ask yourself, as an elected representative on behalf of the people who put you there, wouldn't you say—

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Senator Thorpe, I remind you once again that your use of the word 'you' is highly problematic in regard to established standing orders for the Senate. With that reminder, I will give you the call again. Senator Thorpe.

I've got another word; my apologies. Wouldn't a normal person in their right mind, particularly those who are part of the Liberal Party, the National Party or the Labor Party, think that the committee would have asked themselves, in the name of transparency and accountability: why haven't these two parts of the legislation ever been used? Why should the Labor Party and the Liberal Party be allowed to extend two parts of this legislation that have never been used before? That is not accountability, that is not transparency and that is not democracy; it's a breach of human rights. We've seen Human Rights Watch, as well as other experts, come out and say that it is problematic that these two parts be maintained as part of that piece of legislation and be extended even though they've never been used before. I really struggle with how the Labor Party, the Liberal Party and the National Party come up with their closed decision-making—because the Greens aren't there to hold them accountable, and that's a problem in the Senate. You can call us what you like: 'Greenies this, Greenies that, latte-sipping Greenies.' I've never had a latte in my life, mind you. I've seen more Liberal Party members have lattes in that place than I've seen happening in Northcote. Come on! We are there to hold you all to account. I know you don't like it because we speak truth—

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: Senator Thorpe—

Not again!

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: You were on a pretty good roll for a while there. I acknowledge that you're making an effort to avoid using the word 'you', but I remind you once again that it is unparliamentary to use that word in this context in the way that you're using it. Senator Thorpe, please continue.

Thank you. I will practise. Anyway, a dodgy deal is being done between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party to exclude the Australian people and not take it to a committee to further investigate why two parts of the legislation have never been used and they're going to just roll it on anyway. I find that lazy and I find that disrespectful, in fact, to the experts we have spoken to who have given us the advice to provide to the Senate to make an informed decision that ensures accountability and transparency. Shame on the Labor Party and shame on the Liberal Party for closing shop and not allowing the Greens to make them accountable. We need the Greens with the balance of power. It's the only way we're going to hold these two parties accountable. They are running roughshod across this country, making bad decisions together. Labor's trying to keep up, scraping to the bottom, catching up with the Liberals on their bad policies and their bad leadership in running this country. So we need the balance of power. The only way we're going to get there is to get rid of this government. Labor can come in. But, Labor: you're not coming in without us, because you'll be just as bad.


No comments