Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Plebiscite (Future Migration Level) Bill 2018; First Reading
That the following bill be introduced: A Bill for an Act to provide for a plebiscite at the next general election in relation to the level of migration to Australia, and for related purposes.
Labor observes that the Senate has traditionally allowed bills to be introduced no matter what senators think of the subject matter, on the basis that the Senate can then determine what it thinks about it once the terms of the bill are available. For this reason we will not be opposing the introduction of this bill, although we will be opposing the bill.
However, it is surprising that Senator Hanson has elected to proceed with the introduction of this bill today in the light of her comments this morning in response to Senator Wong's motion supporting a racially non-discriminatory immigration policy to the overwhelming national and international benefit of Australia. If Senator Hanson is true to her word when she said, 'I have always advocated for equality, right across the board, for everyone in this country,' she should not be introducing this bill today or ever. Senator Hanson cannot condemn Senator Anning on one hand and seek to advance this bill in the Senate on the other; otherwise, her words are hollow.
In relation to the Labor Party's comments with regard to this bill, it has nothing to do with my comments this morning. This bill is about immigration numbers. It's got nothing to do with the people who are coming to Australia, but it does refer to numbers. That will be presented next week when the bill is formally presented to the parliament. As I said before, this has nothing to do with Senator Fraser Anning and his comments. My bill is about the immigration numbers and giving the people of Australia the say in whether the immigration numbers are too high. Give the people their say.
Can I make an observation at this point, senators. This is the introduction of a bill, not a formal motion. From my memory, there has not usually been a series of statements when it comes to the introduction of a bill—because they are opportunities for debate—to be debated later on when it goes on the Notice Paper. So I would encourage all senators to reflect on that, lest we start having multiple debates on the same bill.
Question agreed to.