Senate debates

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Questions without Notice

Education

2:19 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. We know that Senator Hanson disgraced herself in this place yesterday by suggesting that children with disabilities should be locked out of classrooms across the country. Did Senator Hanson raise these repulsive suggestions in any negotiations with the Prime Minister or his Minister for Education and Training?

2:20 pm

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

I have seen the remarks attributed to Senator Hanson, and I do not agree with them.

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

Senator Hanson-Young, a supplementary question.

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I rose on a point of order before the minister sat down, actually.

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

In any event, Minister, had you concluded your answer?

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes.

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

Senator Hanson-Young, a supplementary question.

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I will take that as a yes, unless the Attorney is prepared to correct the record. Did Senator Hanson raise with the government locking out children with disabilities from Australian classrooms in negotiations on the Gonski package?

2:21 pm

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

As Senator Birmingham explained in his answer to the question that came to him from Senator Watt, the government's package, which the Greens and the Labor Party have decided to vote against, makes much more generous provision for students and children with a disability than the status quo—much more generous provision indeed.

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

My point of order is on relevance. The minister has had two opportunities now to answer a very straightforward question. The question was: were Senator Hanson's comments, as disgraceful as they were, raised during any negotiation between Senator Hanson and the Minister for Education and Training or the Prime Minister during negotiations over the education legislation?

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

Thank you, Senator Di Natale. I will remind the Attorney-General of the question.

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

As I was pointing out to you, Senator Hanson-Young, and as Senator Birmingham explained to the chamber before, this package makes much more generous provision for children with disabilities than the status quo, yet you come in here to vote for the status quo. You come in here to vote against measures that will—

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

Pause the clock. Senator Di Natale, on a point of order?

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

My point of order, again, is on relevance. Again, I would urge the minister to answer Senator Hanson-Young's question. I suspect that the minister is now defying your ruling, Mr President, to address the question. He has had two opportunities to give a yes or no answer. Were those allegations raised?

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

Order, Senator Di Natale! You have made your point of order on a second occasion. You have raised it again. Again, I will remind the minister of the question.

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

I am just providing the context that the Greens are voting against more generous provision for students with a disability. In fact, Senator Birmingham addressed this question last night. The answer is no.

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

Senator Hanson-Young, a final supplementary question.

2:23 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

We have already in this place had an opportunity for the Minister for Education and Training to condemn or repudiate Senator Hanson's comments. He has not done that. Attorney, could you please inform the chamber when the Prime Minister will show some leadership and condemn these disgraceful comments?

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Hanson-Young, the answer to your question, as I said before I sat down, has already been provided by Senator Birmingham, who of course does not agree with those remarks any more than I do.

Opposition Senators:

Opposition senators interjecting

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

Nor do you.

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

On a point of order, Mr President—the question was: when will the Prime Minister condemn these disgraceful comments?

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

I know the Prime Minister does not agree with those remarks either—neither does Senator Birmingham, nor I, nor, I daresay, any member of this government. May I point out that this has already been addressed by Senator Birmingham. But you, by your conduct, are showing what you really think about the issue, because the issue is more important than certain remarks attributed to one senator. The issue is whether we make proper provision in our schools for children with a disability. We are bringing forward a bill that will make better provision for them, and you are voting against it.