Tuesday, 16 February 2021
Tasmania: Australia Day Awards, Australia-United States Relationship, Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples: 13th Anniversary, International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
I seek leave to move general business notices Nos 986, 989, 991 and 992 together and that they be determined without amendment or debate.
Leave not granted.
That so much of standing orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Gallagher from moving these motions together and that they be determined without amendment or debate.
I move motions 986, 989, 991 and 992 together:
General Business Notice of Motion 986
That the Senate—
(a) congratulates the Tasmanian nominees for the 2021 Australian of the Year Awards on their success in securing the state's nomination, namely:
(ii) Young Australian of the Year nominee, Toby Thorpe, who has been a national and international leader in the youth climate change movement through the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and the Climate Justice Initiative,
(iii) Senior Australian of the Year nominee, Brian Williams, group leader of the Blackmans Bay Scout Group, who has dedicated most of his life to the scouting movement, and
(iv) Australian of the Year nominee, Grace Tame, who has been a key driver of the Let Her Speak campaign fighting for the rights of survivors of child sexual assault to publicly tell their stories; and
(b) further congratulates Grace Tame on becoming the first Tasmanian in the 61 years of the awards to be awarded Australian of the Year, and for her bravery in speaking publicly about her own personal tragedy and using that story to fight to give a voice to the voiceless.
Gener al Business Notice of Motion 989
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) a strong, democratic and united America (US) is overwhelmingly in Australia's national interest,
(ii) the US democratic system and its enduring institutions are robust, transparent and resilient, and
(iii) the Australia-US alliance is strong, based on shared democratic values of upholding the rule of law and the integrity of international institutions, and protecting our freedom, security, prosperity and sovereignty;
(b) condemns unreservedly the incitement and use of violence at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on 6 January 2021, including through disinformation, in an attempt to undermine the democratic process, disenfranchise millions of electors, and disrupt the lawful duties of elected senators and representatives;
(c) recognises the conduct of an orderly, complete and effective transition of Presidential and Congressional power on Inauguration Day, Wednesday, 20 January 2021; and
(d) affirms the longstanding commitment of both Australia and the US to global security and, in particular, a free, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific and looks forward to working with President Biden and his administration in pursuit of those goals.
Gener al Business Notice of Motion 991
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(ii) on behalf of the nation, the former Prime Minister apologised for the suffering inflicted on First Nations families, especially through the removal of children from their families,
(iii) the first Closing the Gap targets and strategy were part of the National Apology,
(iv) the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap contains additional targets, including to address overrepresentation in the criminal justice and child protection systems, and
(v) this is the first year since 2008 that the Prime Minister has not presented a Closing the Gap report to Parliament on the anniversary of the National Apology;
(i) the ongoing impact of dispossession, discrimination and trauma on First Nations people;
(ii) the continued disparity between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians, including the disproportionate number of First Nations children in out-of-home care, and
(iii) the responsibility of the Federal Government in maintaining the ambition necessary to achieve the Closing the Gap targets; and
(c) calls on the Federal Government to ensure adequate investment in the new Closing the Gap targets.
Gener al Business Notice of Motion 992
(1) That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) 15 October is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, on which parents, families and friends memorialise babies lost through miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death, and
(ii) in Australia:
(A) approximately one in four pregnancies result in miscarriage—103,000 every year,
(B) in 2018, 2789 lives were lost due to stillbirth or newborn death,
(C) stillbirth rates have not changed in two decades, and
(D) the rate of stillbirth and newborn death is higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
(b) congratulates the Government for implementing the Senate Select Committee on Stillbirth's recommendation for a national stillbirth action plan which sets an achievable goal of a 20% reduction in rates of stillbirth over five years;
(c) extends condolences and sympathies to families who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death;
(d) recognises previous generations who experienced such a loss during a time when the subject was taboo, and families were given even less of an opportunity to commemorate and remember their children; and
(e) officially and eternally recognises 15 October as International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
(2) That a message be sent to the House of Representatives seeking its concurrence in this resolution.
I ask that they be determined without amendment or debate.
I raise a point of order, Mr President. I just want clarification. The temporary order had a restriction on the number of times a senator could seek formality on a motion, with that being only one per sitting. I just want to make sure that everything is being done properly here.
Off the top of my head, Senator Patrick, and I will come back to the chamber and plead ignorance if I get it wrong, I interpret the previous motion as suspending so much of standing orders as would allow Senator Gallagher to do this, which includes the suspension of the temporary order you referred to. If I'm wrong, I apologise in advance and I'll correct myself in the chamber and make sure it doesn't happen again.
Parties may wish to vote differently if this were to occur in future. We also would normally exercise our right to seek leave to make a short statement to explain our voting position, which we were going to do in relation to the complex foreign policy motion that your party put, Senator Gallagher. We welcome that as a change of position on being able to debate complex foreign policy matters in this chamber and we look forward to you doing the same thing to us when we seek to move similar motions, but we also remain opposed to the restriction on motions. It has a disproportionate effect on crossbenchers and the Greens, and we continue to push to be able to use our democratic rights even where it's inconvenient to put you on the spot for your own policy positions.
In clarification of that, Senator Waters, I will seek advice if this matter comes up again. But, unless there is a strenuous objection from the chamber, I'm going to extend the courtesy of allowing these motions to be voted on separately as I would separate clauses of motions if senators wish to vote differently, and indicate that they will be voting differently, on them. Now, unless there's a strenuous objection—we haven't had this circumstance before—I intend to extend that courtesy. Again, if I'm wrong, it won't happen again, but the Clerk has said to me by message that my previous ruling was correct.
Unless there's an objection from someone, I am going to offer senators, if they indicate they will vote differently on at least one of them, the courtesy of putting them separately. Is that the case? It is the case. In that case, I will put matter No. 986, in the name of Senator Bilyk. Those of that opinion say aye; to the contrary, no. The ayes have it. I will put matter 989, in the name of Senator Wong and Senator Payne.
I'm going to put matter No. 989. Those of that opinion say aye; to the contrary, no. The ayes have it. I'm now going to put matter No. 991, in the name of Senators Dodson, McCarthy and Thorpe. The question is that motion No. 991 be agreed to.