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Thursday, 13 May 2010
Page: 2835


Senator LUDLAM (5:50 PM) —I assume that Senator Fielding is interested in speaking to the amendments that he has proposed.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Forshaw)—I am assuming he will actually move them shortly.


Senator LUDLAM —I presume that they will be moved when we give him the opportunity. I gave a speech in the second reading debate that I think lasted for about 15 seconds when we were trying to conclude this—


Senator Fisher —They were good seconds.


Senator LUDLAM —They were. They were great. It was a great speech. We were trying to conclude the debate before two o’clock and I think Senator Feeney thought that my complimenting of the government was a little bit backhanded, so I will just make clear what it is that I mean. This is obviously a bandaid. It is a quick fix, but it is one that is appropriate. I would prefer that the government do this, even though they are going to cop a bit of a flogging from the opposition and the crossbenchers for the awkward way in which it is being passed. Better that than to just persist with something that is broken and wrong. I would always prefer, and the Australian Greens would always prefer—and we will not be giving you much of a kicking for—coming back with something that works, with improved legislation that saves the Commonwealth money, rather than pig-headedly persisting with something that is obviously flawed. So we appreciate the opportunity and the consent of the coalition for at least bringing this back so that we can debate it.

We are keenly aware of the consequences if this is held over for another month. Every day that this lapses costs the Commonwealth money, and so we are happy to see it pass this evening. For many of the reasons that Senator Cormann outlined, we will not be supporting the amendments proposed by Senator Fielding, although I have some affinity for them. We believe that maintaining the list in perpetuity will perhaps leave us with many of the issues that the government has used to justify giving us a couple of years extension to sort the system out in future. Presumably we will be revisiting this legislation some time in the new parliament. Hopefully we will be doing it in a fashion a little bit less awkward.