Senate debates

Monday, 23 August 2021


Morrison Government

1:48 pm

Photo of Rex PatrickRex Patrick (SA, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

It's unbelievable. Today I asked the Senate to support my private senator's bill to ban the import of goods produced with slave labour. How could anyone not support a measure to disrupt this abhorrent trade? How could anyone not support a measure to stop Australian companies having to compete with cheap imported goods?

The bill came out of a bipartisan recommendation from a government controlled committee. Thankfully, the Senate supported my bill, but the government didn't, and that is unbelievable. The government want to talk some more. They want to think about things. They want to ponder. This attempt to deal with modern slavery is going into the same basket as ICAC and the same basket as whistleblower protection—all too hard for this government.

The government shies away from any measure that involves integrity or decency. We saw it this week with Afghan security guards. The government makes a call. Their instinct is wrong. They make the wrong call. They did the same thing in relation to making it a criminal offence for Australians to come back to their own country. Of course, they let that pass, and hopefully we'll never see that again. Again, there was the refusal to deal with all of the disrespectful things that happened, particularly to women, in this place. The government were forced to change their mind. The Prime Minister basically is lacking a moral compass. This was not a good day for the government.