Senate debates

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Scrutiny of Bills Committee; Report

4:51 pm

Photo of Ian MacdonaldIan Macdonald (Queensland, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern and Remote Australia) Share this | | Hansard source

I present the seventh report of the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills. I also lay on the table Scrutiny of Bills Alert DigestNo. 7 of 2012.

Ordered that the report be printed.

I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

I am glad that the Senate adopted my motion to have the report printed without me having to give reasons why it should be printed. I am grateful that my powers of persuasion were not required to achieve success in getting that motion passed. A lot of the very good work of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee becomes a bit superfluous when you find that because of the guillotine a lot of the bills are dealt with in this chamber before the Scrutiny of Bills Committee report is tabled. But the Alert Digestand I will not do more than bring this to the attention of senators—makes some very interesting comments on the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 2012 that is currently before the chamber and being dealt with as a matter of urgency.

All parties understand why it is urgent. But dealing with bills, particularly bills that have such enormous consequences, on the run, so to speak, can raise certain problems. The committee—and, I must confess, this was not the brilliance of the committee members so much as the brilliance of the legal advisers to the committee and of the committee secretary and staff—pointed out some issues in relation to the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) that really should be considered by all senators. So I draw that particular Alert Digest to the attention of senators.

Also, the Military Court of Australia (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill and another related bill, the Military Court of Australia Bill, have also been dealt with in some length by the committee on the advice of the legal adviser. Some of the issues there about undue trespass on rights and liberties would make interesting reading, and I urge senators to look at that. There are issues about fair trial, detention clauses and punishment causes in those bills that could well be looked at. With those very short remarks, I urge senators to have a look at the Alert Digest and the report and perhaps in their contributions to those bills in the chamber give some consideration to the matters raised.

Question agreed to.