Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Parliamentary Representation


4:06 pm

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

I rise on behalf of the Australian Labor Party in opposition to acknowledge and thank Senator McMahon for her service to the people of the Northern Territory, to the Senate and, therefore, to the nation. I will just make some brief remarks about this.

I want to recognise the approach that Senator McMahon has taken to representing the Northern Territory here in this chamber. I want to publicly thank her for the principled stand she took in relation to the voter ID laws that were proposed and eventually abandoned by the government. In doing so, she did stand up for the interests of her community at some personal cost. I recall an interview with NITV outside Parliament House, where she said she'd raised some concerns about the bill with her colleagues and expressed concerns about how the laws would impact, particularly on Indigenous Territorians. We thought her stance was the right one, but we recognise it wasn't necessarily popular on her own side. By making public those concerns, she did influence the course of that legislation, which obviously did not proceed.

Senator McMahon has also been, as Senator McCarthy said, very principled in her support for a minimum of two seats for the Northern Territory, and that is an important achievement for her. As she indicated, she's a strong advocate for Territory rights, and I agree with her views about the Andrews bill. I wish her well for this next stage in her life.

If there's nothing further on Senator McMahon from the government, I will proceed to Senator Carr. Senator Carr is unable to be here today. Depending on what happens in the election and what happens with the parliamentary sittings, obviously, if we sit before 30 June, I would anticipate that Senator Carr will come back to the Senate and participate in what I'm sure will be a very memorable valedictory. But, in the event that the Senate does not sit again prior to 30 June, I didn't want this time to pass without the opportunity to make some remarks about Senator Carr.

On behalf of the Labor Party—the opposition—and my Senate colleagues, I want to thank our Labor comrade Senator the Hon. Kim Carr for his service and contribution over what is one of the most significant terms served by a senator in this parliament. Senator Carr first entered the Senate in 1993, filling the casual vacancy caused by the resignation of John Button, a Labor giant. It was fitting that Senator Carr replaced Australia's pre-eminent industry minister. In his time here, he has been a champion for Australian industry—most notably as Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research in the Rudd and Gillard governments, where he and I served as members of the cabinet together. He also held additional portfolios during this time, including in manufacturing, defence materiel and human services. The higher education, science, research and manufacturing communities could not have had a more passionate champion and advocate around the cabinet table.

In recent years, he has been an invaluable contributor to the Labor opposition under both Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese. His role on the legal and constitutional affairs committee has guided scrutiny of an abundance of legislation, particularly in the area of migration. Previously, in his position on the Senate economics committee, he was the spearhead for the opposition's critique of failures in the government's management of Australia's defence shipbuilding program.

As Deputy Chair of the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation he has worked diligently in combination with the chair of the committee, Senator Fierravanti-Wells, to ensure the highest level of scrutiny was applied to the making of government regulations. Together these two senators, Senator Carr and Senator Fierravanti-Wells, have energised the work of this 90-year-old committee to ensure its continuing relevance and importance for many years to come.

I want to acknowledge and honour the role that Senator Carr has played as a contributor to Labor's Senate team. I want to acknowledge and honour his nearly three decades of service to the people of Victoria and the nation. And I want to honour and acknowledge his passionate advocacy for the Labor cause and, in particular, for those issues about which he cares so passionately.


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