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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3687

Mr FITZGIBBON (HunterChief Government Whip) (09:13): I again seek leave to move a motion to refer bills to the Federation Chamber for further consideration as per the agreement between the opposition and the government.

Leave granted.

Mr FITZGIBBON: I thank the House and move:

That the following bills be referred to the Federation Chamber for further consideration:

Judges and Governors-General Legislation Amendment (Family Law) 2012;

Corporations Amendment (Future of Financial Advice) 2011; and

Corporations Amendment (Further Future of Financial Advice Measures) 2011.

Since, I think, February of 1994 the Main Committee, now the Federation Chamber, has operated with great success. It has taken considerable pressure off the main chamber in this place and more often than not it has been used as a forum for bipartisan discussion and debate. For all of that period, part of its success could be, and has been, attributed to agreements about the way in which we refer bills to the Federation Chamber for further consideration. In my 16 years here—and I am sure back to 1994—never has the opposition of the day denied the Chief Government Whip the opportunity to refer bills to the Federation Chamber or what was then the Main Committee.

This is just another example of the wrecking ball being taken to this place by those who sit opposite. Their view, sadly, is if they cannot run the country, no-one can. They will do anything and everything to frustrate the processes of government in this country. I say to them: this morning was another very severe miscalculation on their part as was their decision to deny the member for Dobell leave during the week.

My advice to them is to get back into the game, become responsible and send a very clear signal to the Australian community that they are here for the right reasons. They are here to be a responsible opposition and, while it is their entitlement and their obligation to challenge government legislation and government policy, they are also here to make this place work and, if you like, shape the right outcomes for the benefit of the Australian people. What occurred this morning is another very unfortunate precedent and, in my view—and I am sure in the view of the Australian community more generally—was a disgrace.

Question agreed to.