Thursday, 3 December 2020
(a) the Senate notes that:
(i) on 3 September 2020, the Leader of the Government in the Senate told the Senate that, with respect to the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill 2020 'we do want the Senate to have the opportunity to deal with this very important bill so that this very important legislation can be passed by the end of the year. We don't think a reporting date next year is appropriate, because it would delay the establishment of this very important standing commission',
(ii) despite this, the Senate is yet to have the opportunity to consider the bill;
(iii) there are four sitting days remaining before the end of the year in which to consider the legislation, and
(iv) veterans and their families deserve certainty over the fate of this legislation before Christmas; and
(b) if, by 11 December 2020, the government business order of the day relating to the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill 2020 and the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020 has not been finally considered, the order of the day be discharged from the Notice Paper.
The Morrison government firmly believes that tackling this devastating issue requires an ongoing focus, ensuring we remain vigilant about the welfare of our Defence and veteran communities. This is why the government has committed to pass the bill before the end of the year and has listed the bill on the weekly program.
I am totally aware that the people of this chamber—most of them—are very mindful of the suicides that have happened in the past and of the attempted suicides that are still happening among our Defence personnel. We have all wanted royal commissions into a lot of areas. I've wanted one in family law, but I've got a committee and hearings on that. I think where we've moved forward with this is that the interim commissioner has been named, and the fact is that the commissioner can work with the government. They can report and work with the commissioner. They can start immediately to work and answer the questions with—
Senator Lambie interjecting—
It is retrospective. They can look at the past deaths that have happened and the attempted suicides that are happening. I believe it is a shame that Senator Lambie does not support that a commissioner be appointed and the legislation be passed. I don't believe she will be voting for the legislation next week. I believe Labor doesn't intend to vote for it either. I think it's a shame to the people of this nation who have lost their loved ones.
Senator Lambie interjecting—
Order! Senator Lambie, I asked another senator yesterday, when they were called to order, to at least concede some respect for the chair, otherwise debate in this chamber will break down, especially at this time. I called you to order on a number of occasions. The question is that motion No. 901, in the name of Senator Lambie, be agreed to.