Senate debates

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Suspension of Standing Orders

3:40 pm

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

Pursuant to contingent notice standing in the name of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Abetz, I move

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent me moving a motion to provide for the consideration of a matter, namely a motion to give precedence to government business notice of motion no. 1.

I must confess, I do very much like the cut of the jib of Senator Leyonhjehm. I think he is, on this occasion, being a little bit cheeky. I appreciate his objective here, which is to use any means fair or foul to see that the disallowance of this proposition occurs.

The ordinary attitude, I guess, of colleagues in this place to the disallowance of matters is that the chamber should actually take a conscious decision one way or the other in relation to a disallowance matter. I know that Senator Dastyari has on occasion, I think with a matter related to FoFA, sought to run down the clock or seek to have debate and final determination by this place forestalled by a hard marker being hit.

I think that it is good practice in this place that we ensure that disallowance matters are not, in effect, determined by default but are determined by a conscious decision. I think today is the final day for this particular matter to be determined. I must acknowledge that Senator Leyonhjelm has become very quickly acquainted with the processes and procedures of this place. One cannot be too critical of him for seeking to avail himself of any and every opportunity that is legitimately available to seek to achieve his objective. But, as the Manager of Government Business in the Senate and as someone who thinks that with disallowance motions we should actually take a conscious decision to give the thumbs up or thumbs down to a disallowance matter, it is appropriate for standing orders to be suspended so that I may move a motion that would see us deal with this disallowance matter in a conscious and deliberate way. I probably do not need to detain the chamber much longer but I would be expecting at least another contribution on this suspension debate.

3:44 pm

Photo of David LeyonhjelmDavid Leyonhjelm (NSW, Liberal Democratic Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My means are invariably fair and have never known to be foul whatsoever. Let me reassure Senator Fifield that my intention is not to win the debate on the disallowance by default. I am happy to allow debate to occur and for a vote to be taken on it today, but I do note that his motion regarding the routine of business allows only 15 minutes for debate, which I regard as insufficient. But it is not my intention to win on a foul.

3:45 pm

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I indicate that—it may shock some people—for once, we will be supporting the government on the suspension. For those only listening, the minister almost fainted.

This is something that I have been involved with for an exceedingly long period of time. It is important that we deal with this today. The 15 minutes is only if we do not get to it by 6.15 pm, according to the motion. While I do not think that 15 minutes is normally reasonable, it will at least allow people to put their opinion on the record and allow us to deal with this; otherwise it will fall off and the disallowance will be in place by default. We do not think that is appropriate. I will certainly have a contribution to make when this comes on for debate, but we do think, as a safety precaution, this motion should proceed.

Question agreed to.

3:46 pm

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That government business notice of motion No. 1 may be moved immediately and be determined without amendment or debate.

Question agreed to.

I move:


(a) so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the succeeding provisions of this resolution having effect;

(b) on Wednesday, 4 March 2015, the business of the Senate notice of motion proposing the disallowance of the Competition and Consumer (Industry Code—Port Terminal Access (Bulk Wheat)) Regulation 2014, standing in the names of Senators Leyonhjelm and Day, for that day be called on no later than 6.15 pm; and

(c) if consideration of the motion listed in paragraph (b) is not concluded at 6.30 pm, the questions on the unresolved motion shall then be put.

Question agreed to.