Thursday, 21 June 2012
Consideration of Legislation
by leave—The next bill that is scheduled in the government's guillotine motion is the Social Security Amendment (Supporting Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas) Bill 2011. I have been advised by the government that, due to technical issues in relation to the printing and transmission of that bill, the Senate will not be in a position to consider it. In the ordinary course of events that would not be an issue, because simply by agreement there would be a reordering of bills. But if we on this side of the chamber were to insist that the government's own guillotine motion, as passed by this chamber, was followed, the direct consequence of that would be that this particular bill would be bounced out of the guillotine and would be dealt with on Wednesday next week.
We on this side, contrary to what we hear from those opposite, are reasonable and practical. So we have agreed—and this comes at a forfeit of 20 minutes of debating time—to allow that bill to kick over until tomorrow and for the order and sequence of bills to be followed. We do that because we think that this bill, which is essentially a copy of Mr Abbott's bill of a similar name, is an important piece of legislation. We want to see it dealt with quickly. We have always pursued a reasonable and practical approach in this place, as evidenced by the fact that on Monday night 19 bills were passed. We facilitated the passage of 19 bills, and despite that the government instituted the guillotine motion.
We hope that the government recognise our very, very reasonable nature and that they reconsider in the future the use of these guillotine motions. They are not necessary. We are in this position at the moment, where we are happy to help the government, as a direct consequence of their own guillotine motion, which if followed by this chamber would see the bill bounced to next week. These guillotine motions are a folly. I put on the record that we are being reasonable. We have no cause and no reason to be, but we are. We want to see this place work. We hope the government learn the lesson of this week. I think there is a bit of internal division on the other side as to whether these guillotine motions should be pursued. With those words I will finish, but again I ask the government to reconsider the contempt that is being shown to this chamber.