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Thursday, 3 November 2005
Page: 105

Dr LAWRENCE (4:28 PM) —It does seem a rather bizarre way to begin my contribution, but it will take only a minute for me to say that I am amazed on another matter to see the Attorney-General come into this place, introduce legislation of profound import and take just 10 minutes to read his speech into the Hansard. I must say that, given the importance of that legislation and the debate it has generated, it is consistent with the pattern that we have seen in this Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Bill 2005 that the parliament is treated with such contempt.

When you are making momentous changes of this kind, it is incumbent upon ministers to take the parliament seriously, at least for public display, even if they do regard the parliament as a rubber stamp for the executive. We have seen this pattern repeated over and over again, and it is becoming very galling not just for members of the opposition but for the community at large to see their elected representatives held in such disdain. I believe that Australians generally would want to see this government held to account on this bill, as on others, for setting aside the usual procedures and protocols of this parliament.