Senate debates

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Bills

Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill 2016; Second Reading

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to have the question put again on the motion for the second reading of the Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill 2016.

Leave not granted.

Photo of Katy GallagherKaty Gallagher (ACT, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

The opposition wishes to hear a personal explanation from Senator Hanson and Senator Burston and will grant leave for this purpose. Before granting leave to the government to have the question put again on the second reading, as I had understood, had been explained to the government.

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Maybe I can facilitate this. Minister, is that acceptable to the government?

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes.

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Is it acceptable to Senator Hanson and Senator Burston?

Photo of Pauline HansonPauline Hanson (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes.

Photo of Brian BurstonBrian Burston (NSW, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes.

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I call Senator Burston to make an explanation.

1:36 pm

Photo of Brian BurstonBrian Burston (NSW, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last evening when the division on the Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill 2016 was called, Senator Hanson and I were just leaving her office to attend a function. We returned to the office to view the television monitor and mistakenly believed that the quorum bell was ringing again, as it had done a few minutes earlier. Senator Hanson and I proceeded to the function without realising that a division was taking place on the Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill. Had I been in the chamber, I would have voted in favour of the bill, with my colleagues Senator Roberts and Senator Culleton. I apologise for the inconvenience caused to the Senate.

Photo of Pauline HansonPauline Hanson (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I concur with what Senator Burston has just said. It was a complete mistake. Having seen that there was a quorum and the bells ringing soon after, again, I thought it was another call for a quorum. We were heading to a function where I was a guest speaker. I, too, would have voted with my two other senators on the bill. I apologise to the chamber for this inconvenience.

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

I thank the chamber. Consistent with precedent, the opposition accepts the explanation that the senators have provided, and I thank them for attending the chamber, as is appropriate, to request this. We will grant leave, accordingly, for the government to recommit. I would make this point, though, that a government that cannot run the parliament, cannot run the country. This is a government that cannot manage to organise its own legislation, yet it is asking the Australian people to continue to trust it with government. This is another Turnbull government disaster—a government that has no agenda, no plan for this nation. We have seen division and chaos each day this week in the Senate on an ongoing basis. Nevertheless, consistent with precedent and consistent with my commitment to the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, the opposition will be granting leave for the recommittal of the Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill.

Photo of Richard Di NataleRichard Di Natale (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

I want to respond to some of the comments that were made earlier by Senator Cormann in the chamber. Senator Cormann indicated to the chamber that the reason the division was called just before parliament was adjourned last night was that I was not present to speak to the bill. In fact, a Liberal member was next on the speaking list. What happened was that Senator Cormann, with his fellow colleagues, thought they had hatched a grand plan to bring this bill on for a vote at a minute to midnight and sneak it in. Instead, the only people they fooled were themselves. The only people who were fooled last night were members of the Liberal Party and the One Nation Party. Instead of being honest and saying, 'We hatched a plan, we stuffed it up and the consequence was we lost the vote,' Senator Cormann misleads the parliament by suggesting that the reason this happened was that I was not present in the chamber. No, Senator Cormann. It was your mistake. It was your silly little plan. You botched it up like you have botched so many things in this chamber, and you reap what you sow.

1:39 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

Let me firstly thank the opposition for their indulgence in acting consistent with longstanding convention where if a vote has occurred that does not represent the will of the Senate that vote is recommitted. We very much appreciate that.

Let me say in relation to the Greens that that representation is entirely wrong. I did not expect to be in a position to sum up last night. The second thing I did not expect was a vote on the second reading debate. I knew there were going to be amendments in the committee stages. I assumed—wrongly, in hindsight—that the bill would pass on the voices at the second reading stage and that we would have the debate in relation to the specifics during the committee stages. That is not the way it played out. Senator Whish-Wilson made a quorum call in order to assist Senator Di Natale to get to the chamber on time. That did not happen. He was not able to make his contribution. That is why I continued to sum up.

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I gather that the Senate is in agreement to now recommit the Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill 2016 for a second reading debate. Do I have any objection to that course of action? Since I do not, I call the minister to move the second reading.

1:41 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

1:46 pm

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill be read a second time.