Senate debates

Thursday, 23 March 2023



10:24 am

Photo of Katy GallagherKaty Gallagher (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Minister for the Public Service) Share this | Hansard source

We don't support the suspension motion that the chamber is currently debating—although we have, as usual, traversed into the substance of the motion that is being sought to be moved. The reason we don't agree with the suspension is that the Senate has a number of pieces of legislation for this time, which is meant for government business. I note that the suspension motion wasn't moved at the beginning of the day, which allowed for private senators' matters to be dealt with, but is eating into government business time. We have a number of key pieces of legislation that we would like to progress, including—this morning if possible—the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill. As people would understand, it is very important to progress that and to put a new arrangement in place. It is time critical. It needs to pass this week so that we can put in the arrangements required for reporting at a business level about the steps organisations are taking to close the gender pay gap and publicising the gender pay gap that exists in businesses, because that's a real handbrake on women's economic equality.

That is the reason we won't support the suspension of the standing orders. There are a range of times in the chamber when this motion could be moved. Notice could have been given to deal with it on Monday. We dealt with a motion yesterday. So there is simply no argument that this has to be done at this point in time. I also say that the usual courtesy is to provide some heads-up that this is happening so that we can prepare. The chamber operates on these conventions.


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