Senate debates

Thursday, 15 December 2022


Days and Hours of Meeting

1:12 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | Hansard source

Colleagues, I hope Senator Gallagher gets the irony of the statement she just made today in the Senate given that, when in opposition, this was one of Senator Gallagher's favourite quotes: 'The Senate must stand up for itself.' I thought that's what you were all doing. 'It cannot become a patsy of the government.' Guess why we're here today, people. It's literally because of those on that side of the chamber and the Australian Greens—a patsy for the government. But it gets better, colleagues: 'It'—the Senate—'is meant to be here as a check on executive power.' The irony of the motion today! 'That is the role that we are asked to do.' But it gets worse, because then Senator Gallagher talks about our job descriptions: 'To fulfil our role in this place we must stand up for proper process.' Oh, proper process! And then she finishes it off with this: 'We cannot continue to have this chamber used as a rubber stamp for the government.' Bang! At 4.30 today, we will be a rubber stamp for this government.

You come in here seeking to move a motion that the hours of meeting be from 1 pm until adjournment. And then, colleagues, you read further. It says 'until adjournment. I think: 'Well, that's fair enough. We could sit until midnight.'

And then you get to part (c), Senator Colbeck: 'if, by 4.30 pm, consideration of the bill has not concluded'. Well, let me tell you: consideration of this bill will not have concluded, because on this side of the chamber all of my colleagues would like to speak. Senator Scarr wants to speak. Senator Colbeck wants to speak. Senator Henderson wants to speak. And guess what? They can't, because you are gagging debate on this particular bill. We need to get into committee stage as soon as possible.

Honourable senators interjecting —


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