Senate debates

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Business

Rearrangement

4:22 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to move a motion relating to the routine of business for Thursday, 6 December 2018.

Leave not granted.

I move:

That so much of standing orders be suspended without debate as would prevent us from moving an hours motion.

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

We have a question currently before the chair.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The minister is allowed to seek to suspend standing orders on the same basis you were, Senator Di Natale, and I'm required to put that without debate.

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

Are you on special orders to—

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

He is seeking to suspend standing orders to put a motion to allow him to move a change of hours. I put that without debate during debates limited by standing order 142.

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

The advice we received earlier from the Clerk was that while this issue was before the chair, the minister was unable to move an hours motion. You put—

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

You're quite right. I have just spoken to the Clerk and Deputy Clerk. The motion to suspend standing orders, I am told, needs to be relevant to the matter before the chair.

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

I would argue that it is because, as part of the hours motion, I seek to adjourn the debate on the bill that we have's and vary hours for the remainder of today with a view to dealing with the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018. It will be up to the Labor Party whether they want to facilitate that happening.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The motion is moved by Senator Cormann, as—

Senator Di Natale, on a point of order?

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

We sought advice on this specific matter.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I've got the Clerk next to me, Senator Di Natale, and I've just taken advice from him.

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

The advice we received was very clear and very direct: that while this matter is before the chair, the minister cannot move an hours motion relating to a different matter.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Di Natale! On the point of order, Senator Cormann.

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

I have previously been advised this is not to be debated. This is actually just going to be—

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I am seeking advice from the clerks next to me, Senator Di Natale. I am advised that this motion is in order. This is the motion to adjourn debate to bring on the motion he wishes to move.

Photo of Cory BernardiCory Bernardi (SA, Australian Conservatives) Share this | | Hansard source

May I seek leave to wish everyone a merry Christmas, because I'm out of here!

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the debate be adjourned to allow Senator Cormann to bring on the hours motion.

Senator Wong interjecting

I don't have anything in front of me.

Senator Wong interjecting

That was ruled out of order, Senator Wong. The question is—

Senator Patrick interjecting

I know what's being done here. I've been facilitating this as quickly as I can from the chair. I am not going to tolerate intentional frustration of the chamber. Senator Patrick, what is your point of order? Be brief.

Rex Patrick (SA, Centre Alliance) Share this | | Hansard source

I don't think Senator Cormann's microphone was on. I actually couldn't hear what he was saying.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The motion is to adjourn this debate to allow Senator Cormann to bring on a motion regarding hours of debate for today. Division required. Ring the bells for one minute.

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

Four minutes.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I said one minute previously. It won't make a difference, Senator Di Natale. The question is that the debate on this bill be adjourned to allow Senator Cormann to move a motion with respect to hours of debate for today.

4:31 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That today, following the reporting of a message from the House of Representatives transmitting the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 for concurrence:

(a) the routine of business from not later than 4.30 pm shall be the bill only;

(b) divisions may take place after 4.30 pm; and

(c) the Senate shall adjourn without debate after it has completed its consideration of the bill, or a motion for the adjournment is moved by a minister.

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

I have two amendments. The first is one circulated in the chamber. Sorry, I think we just become otiose by virtue of that motion.

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

I might assist the Senate: what I have just moved is that we bring on the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 for concurrence immediately after the bill that we've just adjourned has been finally determined; that the routine of business from then on shall be this bill, the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018; that divisions may take place after 4.30; and that the Senate shall adjourn without debate after it has completed its consideration of both bills—the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 and the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018—or a motion for the adjournment is moved by a minister.

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

I have two amendments. The first is the relevant paragraphs of the amendment I have circulated, which puts in place a guillotine so the government is clear that the House will only have to stay for a short period. I'm in the Clerk's hands as to how this circulated amendment may need to be amended. Can I flag also a second amendment to enable us to conclude the bill we are currently on, which would be—I would like advice from the Clerk, if I may, as to whether this is necessary, given I didn't follow all of the verbal amendments. I move:

That in paragraph (a) after '4.30 pm' that the following words be added:

Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 and the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018.

It's not necessary? If I may, Mr President, so that it's clear in the chamber—Senator Di Natale may wish to listen—that the effect of this—

An honourable senator interjecting

I've got a handwritten note that we scribbled in the division which you're welcome to have. As I understand it, the effect of this will be to ensure we finish the bill we are currently on.

Senator Cormann interjecting

We'll finish the bill we are currently on and also the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018.

Senator Hanson-Young interjecting

You're not listening. We're trying to help.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Can I just clarify what the amendment from Senator Wong is? Is it regarding time limitation being added to the motion of Senator—

An honourable senator interjecting

The government's accepting them? Okay, so the motion is amended in the terms moved by Senator Wong. Senator Di Natale, do you seek the call?

4:35 pm

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

At your indulgence, Mr President, I just inquire as to whether the House has currently adjourned?

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I am unaware. I've been in here for a while, and I can't quite see. If someone wants to check on their phone, they can.

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

So the effect of this is: while we could've dealt with this legislation, particularly with regard to the legislation addressing the issue of kids and their families on Nauru, and had that dealt with by the House today, as a result of the tactics of both parties, we are now facing ramming through a guillotine of legislation that allows governments to spy on their citizens—effectively, to use their mobile phones as spying devices on Australian citizens? And we're not going to see any change over the Christmas period to the torture—the ongoing cruelty and brutality—of innocent people currently locked up in those offshore hellholes? I'm just seeking clarification: is that what's happened today, Mr President?

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I don't think that's a question asked in anything other than a rhetorical sense. I understand the House is on the adjournment debate.

Senator Wong interjecting

Senator Wong, are you seeking leave to make a statement? You've already spoken. I'll take your previous address as having moved the amendment. You can speak to the motion, Senator Wong.

4:36 pm

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

I appreciate the support of the crossbenchers—Senator Storer, Centre Alliance, the Australian Greens and Senator Hinch, who have sought to work on a cross-party basis to try and deal with an issue that Australians have wanted us to deal with, which is children on Nauru. I don't think anybody watching this would have doubted that the senators from those parties were working together, and nor would anyone have doubted the tactics from those opposite who knew they did not have the majority on the floor of the House of Representatives and have yet again used this Senate to prevent a message going back.

It is the case that we do have a difference of views with the Australian Greens, and I suspect most of the crossbench, on the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill—I think that is a matter of record—but, insofar as Senator Di Natale's criticism in relation to the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill and the attempt we have all jointly made to deal with the children on Nauru, I don't think criticism is reasonable.

I think the Labor Party has sought, in tactic after tactic in this place, to try and facilitate that bill, and it is an indictment on the government and really a demonstration of their fragility that they would rather send the House home than ensure that either that bill was returned or, in fact, a national security bill, which is important ahead of Christmas for our agencies to have those capabilities, was returned. Senator Molan knows this, and he also knows that we had agreement around amendments. If the guillotine which I have moved were passed, the House would only have had to stay for a very short period after it has now adjourned. I really do want to say again: I think that is a real indictment that politics has come before national security for the coalition. That's how desperate they are.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the motion moved by Senator Cormann, as amended by the amendment of Senator Wong, be agreed to.

Question agreed to.

4:39 pm

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr President, I want it noted that the Greens did not agree to the amendment to these motions and that we don't agree to the guillotine. I'd like that recorded in the Hansard, please.