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CONSIDERATION OF LEGISLATION
- Parl No.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Watson)
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Childs)
- Question No.
- System Id
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Table Of Contents
Previous Fragment Next Fragment
- Start of Business
- NOTICES OF MOTION
- ORDER OF BUSINESS
- ACTS INTERPRETATION LEGISLATION (DELEGATED LEGISLATION) AMENDMENT BILL 1991
- GREAT FAMINE IN IRELAND
- URANIUM MINING AND MILLING COMMITTEE
- CONSIDERATION OF LEGISLATION
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
- DEATHS AT PORT ARTHUR
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Senator FAULKNER, Senator HILL)
(Senator MacGIBBON, Senator ALSTON)
(Senator SHERRY, Senator SHORT)
(Senator CALVERT, Senator SHORT)
(Senator WEST, Senator NEWMAN)
(Senator KERNOT, Senator HILL)
Family Court of Australia
(Senator BOLKUS, Senator VANSTONE)
(Senator CRANE, Senator HILL)
(Senator BOB COLLINS, Senator HERRON)
Women in Federal Parliament
(Senator PATTERSON, Senator NEWMAN)
(Senator COOK, Senator SHORT)
Telephone Call Charges
(Senator BOURNE, Senator ALSTON)
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
(Senator FORSHAW, Senator ALSTON)
(Senator KNOWLES, Senator SHORT)
- Aboriginal Flags
(Senator SHERRY, Senator SHORT, Senator Cook, The DEPUTY PRESIDENT, Senator Michael Baume)
(Senator MICHAEL BAUME, Senator Kernot, Senator Hill, Senator SHORT, Senator Wheelwright, Senator Murphy)
- Wages Outcomes
- QUESTION TIME
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
- ORDER OF BUSINESS
- Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee
- Community Affairs References Committee
- Economics References Committee
- Electoral Matters Committee
Thursday, 2 May 1996
Senator CHAMARETTE(11.26 a.m.) —I rise to indicate that the WA Greens support the motion put by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Hill) with a proviso on one of the bills that is under consideration. I would just like to clarify that I understand Senator Hill was merely moving the motion that related to the exemption of the three bills from the cut-off order rather than actually referring to another motion that he has on the Notice Paper which deals with some amendment to that cut-off motion, requesting that a new government should have some kind of automatic exemption in its first sitting of a new parliamentary session. I will speak to that motion when it is before the chamber.
I would like to respond in passing to comments made by Senator Hill and Senator Harradine. It is not quite accurate to say that a new government is not able to have any legislation to debate in this place, for the very reason that is demonstrated by the motion that is at hand.
We have, unfortunately, a myriad of pieces of legislation from the last session of parliament where there was already demonstrated bipartisan agreement on the content of the bills by the major parties. This new government has legislation which is quite familiar to members of this chamber and also to the community. Regardless of whether a government is a new government or a continuing government, the principle of the cut-off motion is still valid: it provides the opportunity for community scrutiny and for checking that legislation has been able to be assessed adequately.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Watson) —Order! The chair is having difficulty hearing. If honourable senators want to hold a conversation, would they please go outside the chamber.
Senator CHAMARETTE —Thank you. I was having difficulty hearing myself. For the benefit of Senator Hill I will repeat my remarks. The principle is still valid. In a new government, community scrutiny may be even more valid and necessary and a good government will demonstrate, right from the beginning, its commitment to public consultation and scrutiny.
There are no grounds for saying that a new government can suddenly push through legislation within the first two-thirds of its first sitting and expect to have it passed in the Senate when it opposed, when it was in opposition, that exact behaviour by the former government, who did it in the last two weeks of the session. There is an hypocrisy there, and I think that the whole benefit of a cut-off motion debate is demonstrated by what we are doing here.
To go on to Senator Hill's specific motion, the Greens have no problem with exempting the hazardous waste amendment bill from the cut-off motion. It is, as has been pointed out, a bill from a previous sitting of parliament. The same thing applies to the therapeutic goods bill. They are very familiar. Because time has drawn on, there is urgency associated with both of them. We have no problems there.
But we would like to request an assurance from the government in relation to the Health Legislation (Powers of Investigation) Amendment Bill. If I thought I had the numbers to oppose it and to amend this motion to remove it, I would, and I would do a separate cut-off motion for it. In my view, the reason to have a sunset clause in any legislation is to allow the re-evaluation of the important measures that were introduced by the community.
We know that with this particular bill, the Australian National Audit Office has concluded that the requirements of the sunset clause have been met satisfactorily. They do not believe that the broad-ranging powers provided for in the act—about which the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs expressed concern—should be removed.
Therefore, I think that it is very important that we do not give consideration to the removal of that sunset clause until the last week of the coming sittings. If it is done straightaway, it really prevents the community from being able to have an input into the removal of the sunset clause and a say as to whether there would be unintended consequences of the broad-ranging powers which could not be brought to the attention of the Australian National Audit Office or parliamentarians in this place.
So, with the exception of the Health Legislation (Powers of Investigation) Amendment Bill, the Greens support this motion of the Leader of the Government. We would like to see an assurance from a member of the government that it is not intending to pursue a very quick process of debate in relation to that particular bill. To have it within this sitting is quite appropriate, but to have it in the last two weeks is honouring the whole intent and purpose of a sunset clause. It does violate the cut-off motion because it has not been introduced in this parliament before. The removal of the sunset clause is something that has not been introduced in this place before and I alert honourable senators to that because we will be moving something that may have ramifications within the community.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Childs) —Senator Harradine, can I clarify whether you have moved an amendment?
Senator Harradine —No, I have not moved an amendment to this motion.