Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Leader of the Government in the Senate
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion 216 standing in the name of Senator Wong for today relating to outstanding answers to questions on notice, before asking that it be taken as formal.
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(a) notes the failure of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Brandis) to:
(i) provide answers to questions on notice nos 67, 69, 70, 126, 127, 129, 138, 152, 158, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 242, 272, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 306, 309, 310, 312, 313 and 324 within 30 days of the asking of those questions, and that answers to these questions are still outstanding,
(ii) provide answers to questions on notice from legislation committees following the 2016-17 supplementary Budget estimates hearings by the date set by the committees for the provision of answers, and
(iii) provide a response to the order for the production of documents agreed to by the Senate on 30 November 2016 relating to the Bell Group liquidation;
(b) calls on the Leader of the Government in the Senate to provide the answers to outstanding questions on notice and respond to the order for the production of documents to the Senate by 9.30 am on 16 February 2017;
(c) requires the Leader of the Government in the Senate to attend the Senate at 9.30 am on 16 February 2017 so that, prior to government business being called on, any senator may ask for an explanation for the failure to provide answers and responses in accordance with the timelines established by the Senate; and
(d) resolves that:
(i) in the event that the Leader of the Government in the Senate provides an explanation, any senator may, at the conclusion of the explanation, move without notice—That the Senate take note of the explanation, or
(ii) in the event that the Leader of the Government in the Senate does not provide an explanation, any senator may, without notice, move a motion with regard to the Leader of the Government in the Senate's failure to provide an explanation, and
(iii) any motion to take note under paragraphs (d) (i) or (ii) have precedence over all other government business until determined.
The government does not support this motion. This motion is plainly political, designed to waste the Senate's time and delay consideration of important government legislation. In the final year of the last Labor government, the Senate was awaiting answers to 1,399 unanswered questions asked of Labor ministers.