Tuesday, 6 September 2022
Climate Change Bill 2022, Climate Change (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2022; Declaration of Urgency
by leave—The consequences of this motion are that we would be able to ensure that both of these bills progress within the standing orders. It does allow us additional procedural flexibility, but within the standing orders, to ensure that these bills are dealt with in a timely fashion.
President, again, if I can seek indulgence in terms of a little further understanding of what that procedural flexibility may be. I note these bills are listed as the first item of government business for the day already, so this is clearly not a motion to change the order of government business. So it's not clear entirely, from the Manager of Government Business in the Senate's explanation, as to precisely what flexibility they are seeking to utilise from this motion.
by leave—Having the bills declared urgent bills means that, within the standing orders, we're not seeking to extend time at this stage, although we would note that yesterday, during the day when we usually get the most government time, we did not get to these bills at all. We do want to send a signal to the chamber that we are going to progress these bills and that we will progress these bills. This allows us some capacity, if needed—if we are not progressing these bills—to manage that within the standing orders. We are not seeking to gag or take away anyone's ability to speak on the bills, but we do want to send a message that we are serious about getting these bills done and this allows us some flexibility. If we were to need to move motions to progress the bills, we would have to win those motions as they were put, but it does give us some procedural flexibility for that.
by leave—Again, the example I would give you is that, if the bills are not progressing—that is, if we are having a filibuster going on—we would have some flexibility within the standing orders to move motions to try and progress that and keep the bills going. That's essentially what this allows us to do.
I thank the chamber. This is quite an extraordinary motion for the government to come in and move at these earliest days of consideration of legislation from the government. The Senate sat for the previous two sitting weeks, during which we dealt largely with ceremonial business and address-in-reply business, and in that time we cooperated with the government for the passage of one urgent bill that it had identified. We're now on only the second real sitting day of the Senate, getting down to genuine business, and the government is coming in, seeking in an opaque way without prior notice, to put in place arrangements that it says will give extra flexibility, and then saying, 'We're not intending to use that at present.' We should be getting down to business. It's on the Notice Paper. We should get into debating the bill, and if the government wants to move motions later, it should do so in the ordinary way, not through this very unconventional practice.