Thursday, 10 February 2022
Selection of Bills Committee; Report
ator McKIM (—) (): I flag that the Greens have a number of amendments to this report. After the two amendments that I will shortly be moving, Senator Rice and Senator Waters will have amendments. I move:
(1) At the end of the motion, add:
"and, in respect of the Social Media (Anti-Trolling) Bill 2022, contingent upon introduction in the House of Representatives, the provisions of the bill be referred immediately to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 24 March 2022".
(2) At the end of the motion, add:
"and, in respect of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Cyclone and Flood Damage Reinsurance Pool) Bill 2022, the provisions of the bill be referred immediately to the Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 24 March 2022".
These two amendments are critical. I will speak first to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Cyclone and Flood Damage Reinsurance Pool) Bill 2022. This bill, in effect, creates a system where the government becomes an insurer of last resort. It will only apply to a relatively small geographic part of the country. The reason the government has to do this—or wants to do this—is because insurance companies are vacating the field. The reason insurance companies are vacating the field is because of climate change. What we are facing is a climate that is breaking down around us. Governments are going to have to come to grips with this, because, more and more, we will see insurance companies—driven by the massive, global, multinational, reinsurance companies—vacating the field. This will mean that ordinary Australians won't be able to get insurance on their homes, their properties and their businesses.
This shouldn't just be limited to one small part of the country; this is a valid and growing area of concern around the whole country. It's only going to get worse. So it's critical that this bill be referred to an inquiry, so that Australians from right around the country who will not benefit from this bill can have their voices heard, and Australians who are extremely worried about the lack of climate action and climate ambition with both major parties in this place can make those views heard.
What needs to happen on this bill, ultimately, is that we should be putting a levy on the companies that massively profit from burning fossil fuels, logging our native forests and producing massive carbon emissions as a result. We should be levying them to pay for schemes like this. That's why this needs to go to an inquiry, and that's why the Greens have moved this amendment.
In the short time left to me, I will quickly indicate why we believe that the Social Media (Anti-Trolling) Bill 2022 needs to go to an inquiry. Of course something needs to be done to address some of the online harms that are caused by trolls. This bill does not do that. This is actually not an antitrolling bill, as is claimed in the title. What we've seen from this government is the continued erosion of rights, freedoms and liberties over the last couple of decades. This bill is yet another step in that dangerous path down the road to a surveillance state and a police state. On that basis, if on no other basis, this bill should be referred to an inquiry so people can have a say about that.
Question agreed to.