Senate debates

Thursday, 15 December 2022


Days and Hours of Meeting

1:25 pm

Photo of Bridget McKenzieBridget McKenzie (Victoria, National Party, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to speak against this motion. We all come to this place to represent people, places and causes. And today we are going to be debating a piece of legislation that will have the most significant impact on our economy over decades to come in recent times, since wartime, and what the government has chosen to do is shut down the proper and rightful role of the Australian Senate in this debate.

We know where the numbers are. It was all pretty clear if you were reading all the newspapers over this week. You know what? You don't need to stress; it's going to pass. The Greens-Labor-Pocock coalition are going to get their legislation. But what you should not be doing is restricting the ability of us as a Senate and each of us as individual senators to have our say, to put on the record the views of our constituents, the views of our communities and the views of the wider Australian public.

Senator Watt, I will take that interjection. I will take interjection because, you know what? Industry doesn't know what to make of it, because you have not consulted with them on how to actually make this legislation.

For the National Party here today, I know that the senators in our team, Senator Davey from New South Wales, Senator Nampijinpa Price from the Northern Territory, Senator Canavan from the great resource state of Queensland and Senator Cadell from the heart of the Hunter Valley, have very strong views on the resource sector and others. They are not going to be able to contribute to this debate, because the Labor Party, the executive government and their mates, their coalition partners, the Greens, have effectively gagged rural and regional Australians and senators in this place from having their rightful opportunity to make commentary. It is not on.

We in the National Party represent the most vulnerable communities, who are impacted by higher energy prices. We also are the communities that contain our fabulous resource industry. Men and women in our communities have great jobs as a result of the resource industry that has been demonised by the dirty deal done by Adam Bandt, Anthony Albanese and David Pocock. Their deal will absolutely demonise the gas and coal industry and take us to some nirvana that does not exist yet. You don't need to look very far to see the impact of energy policy that doesn't get the base load generation in place to transition to renewables fast enough. It's not there, and it's not just me saying it; it's the experts.

We tried to get this legislation examined prior to today so we could ask some genuine questions of the government and the department about how it's going to work and what the unintended consequences are going to be—it's actually our job—and both the Greens and the Labor Party refused to allow a couple of hours of examination of this legislation and scrutiny through the Select Committee on Cost of Living. Absolutely outrageous. The only reason you're knocking back scrutiny is that you do have something to hide.

An honourable senator interjecting

There could be another reason. The fact that we had two name changes to the legislation on our reds yesterday within a couple of hours shows they hadn't even finished writing it. The fact that the shadow minister didn't get the legislation until 8.45 last night, and in less than 16 hours we're ramming it through—because we can—is an absolute disrespect to our parliament. It is a disrespect to the men and women who sent us all here to do our job.

You're going to get the outcome you want. This is the thing. You're going to get it passed. The deal's done. What you should have been able to do is not gag senators and the Australian Senate from our rightful role.

We are very happy, Senator Hanson-Young, to sit as long as it takes for every senator—and I note your party is stacking out the speakers list quite quickly—to have their say and every question to be rightfully asked of the minister.


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