Thursday, 16 August 2018
Consideration of Legislation
That, if by 13 September 2018:
(a) the government business order of the day relating to the consideration of the National Broadcasters Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Transparency) Bill 2017; and
(b) the government business order of the day relating to the consideration of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Fair and Balanced) Bill 2017,
have not been finally considered, these orders of the day shall be discharged from the Notice Paper.
The government does not support this motion. Senators should oppose it not on the basis of the substance of these bills but to defend the principle that legislation ought to be afforded the opportunity of a proper debate on its merit before the Senate discharges it. It is the orthodox and longstanding practice of the Senate that the government of the day determines the listing and order of items of government business. This motion begs the question: why are the Greens so afraid of a proper debate about the modest and sensible measures in these bills to enhance the transparency and accountability of the ABC and SBS?
Labor strongly opposes these bills, but we do not support the motion to discharge them from the Notice Paper. The bills were introduced last year pursuant to yet another backroom deal between the government and One Nation as part of a full-scale attack on the ABC, which we've witnessed ever since. While it may suit the government and One Nation to have these bills hanging over the ABC and SBS as part of their strategy to menace and harass the public broadcasters, debate is a cornerstone of our democracy. Labor is prepared to debate these bills to demonstrate they are unnecessary, vindictive and hypocritical, to say the least. Labor calls on the government to bring these bills on for debate so the Senate can have its say on them substantively. We note the bills are, yet again, another example of the close relationship between the Turnbull government and One Nation.
The government has had 12 months to bring these bills forward for debate. This motion says that the bills must be debated by 13 September. There is still time, if the government wishes, for this place to debate these bills that were, of course, a result of a dirty deal done between the Turnbull government and One Nation. This just proves that the government has no guts in following through with these bills. It is holding them over the heads of the ABC and its staff. This is more attack from the Liberal Party and this government on the ABC and our public broadcasters. It's a disgrace. If you are prepared to debate the bills, bring it on. We will be more than happy to show you what the will of the people really is when it comes to defending our public broadcasters.