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Thursday, 18 November 2010
Page: 1559

Senator Crossin to move on the next day of sitting:

That the time for the presentation of the report of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee on the provisions of the Civil Dispute Resolution Bill 2010 be extended to 2 December 2010.

Senator Cormann to move on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate—

(a)   notes:

(i)   the response by the Information Commissioner to three orders of the Senate seeking information about the Government’s proposed mining tax, dated 26 October 2010, which was tabled in the Senate on 15 November 2010, and

(ii)   that the Information Commissioner is of the view that it is not open to him to provide a report to the Senate as ordered because the statute which established his office does not encompass the function envisaged by the Senate in its orders, or by the Government in the agreements on parliamentary reform;

(b)   advises the Information Commissioner as follows:

(i)   that under section 49 of the Constitution the Senate has the undisputed power to order the production of documents necessary for its information, a power which encompasses documents already in existence and documents required to be created for the purpose of complying with the order,

(ii)   this power may be modified only by express statutory declaration, as required by section 49 of the Constitution,

(iii)   nothing in the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 is expressed as a declaration for the purpose of section 49 that would have the effect of limiting the exercise of the power by the Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament in respect of the Information Commissioner,

(iv)   multiple resolutions of the Senate affirm the principle that information may be withheld from it only following consideration by the Senate of a properly founded claim of public interest immunity, and

(v)   the Senate has on numerous occasions exercised its power to require statutory agencies and officers to produce information in response to orders; and

(c)   orders the Information Commissioner to reconsider his position as soon as possible and provide the information required by the Senate.

Senator Siewert and Senator Adams to move on the next day of sitting:

   That the Senate—

(a)   notes that:

(i)   bowel cancer claims the lives of approximately 3 800 people every year and causes more cancer deaths in Australia that any other form of the disease except lung cancer,

(ii)   as a result of the launch of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program in 2006, more than 1.6 million people have been invited to participate in the program and screen for bowel cancer but approximately 5 million at risk Australians are currently missing out on this vital program,

(iii)   early screening for bowel cancer has the potential to prevent as many as 2 000 deaths every year, and

(iv)   the current program ends in December 2010; and

(b)   calls on the Government to:

(i)   commit to maintaining the current funding for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program for at least 2 years while an implementation plan is put in place for a comprehensive bowel screening program, and

(ii)   develop an implementation plan for a comprehensive bowel screening process that includes people aged 60 and 70 and follow-up tests.

Senator Abetz to move on the next day of sitting:

   That the Senate—

(a)   notes the Government’s refusal to produce the following documents relating to the National Broadband Network (NBN):

(i)   the National Broadband Network Business plan, and

(ii)   the Government’s response to the McKinsey and Company and KPMG Implementation plan;

(b)   resolves that consideration of any bill relating to the National Broadband Network, including the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards Bill) 2010, be postponed and made an order of the day for the next day of sitting after the documents described in paragraphs (a)(i) and (ii) are laid on the table;

(c)   resolves that, until the documents described in paragraphs (a)(i) and (ii) are laid on the table:

(i)   a senator may, at the conclusion of question time on each and any day, ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy for an explanation of why the order of 17 November 2010 requiring the production of the documents has not been complied with, and

(ii)   the senator may, at the conclusion of the explanation, move without notice—That the Senate take note of the explanation, or

(iii)   in the event that the minister does not provide an explanation, the senator may, without notice, move a motion in relation to the minister’s failure to provide either an answer or an explanation;

(d)   resolves that, until the documents described in paragraphs (a)(i) and (ii) are laid on the table, the Senate shall not:

(i)   receive any statement related to the NBN by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, or by any other minister, except in answer to questions asked of the minister at question time, or

(ii)   consider any other business related to the NBN proposed by any minister; and

(e)   further resolves that, until the documents described in paragraphs (a)(i) and (ii) are laid on the table, so much of the standing orders which provide for ministers to present documents be suspended, so that a minister may not present any other document related to the NBN, except by leave of the Senate.

Senator Milne to move on the next day of sitting:

   That the Senate acknowledges that climate change is:

(a)   real;

(b)   human induced; and

(c)   that urgent action to reduce greenhouse emissions is required to achieve the goal, to which Australia committed under the Copenhagen Accord, namely, constraining global warming to 2oC above pre-industrial levels.