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Thursday, 5 December 2013
Page: 949

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (12:26): The opposition is prepared to facilitate debate on the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Amendment Bill 2013 today and also understands that this matter needs to be dealt with by the parliament by 12 December. Given that time frame the opposition is prepared to facilitate finalisation of debate on this legislation by Monday lunchtime.

In listing the bill for today the government would have been aware of the relatively short time available to deal with government legislation, and the chamber will deal, as you said, with noncontroversial legislation at 12.45 and, by agreement, any remaining time after question time is available for other government legislation. Today the government has listed just one of the bills that have been agreed as noncontroversial, which is the Australian Capital Territory Water Management Legislation Amendment Bill 2013. They are choosing not to list the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2013 or the package of legislation restructuring the wine industry, which, I understand, are also on the noncontroversial list.

The opposition agrees that the Commonwealth inscribed stock bill can be activated after the one noncontroversial bill. We do not agree that the approximately one hour available before question time is enough time to debate a substantial change to how the government's debt ceiling is dealt with. The Greens' latest proposal on this bill, with government support, will mean there will be no effective check on increases to the debt ceiling. This needs substantive discussion, not just an hour or so debate today in the chamber.

In terms of the time of management, this chamber would know that over the last week there have been significant times where debate could have been more disciplined, and in terms of the processes that have gone on we are worried that there has not been the kind of management that we would think would be important. As I said, we are prepared to be cooperative, but we are disappointed that there have been times over the last week where time management has not been effective. On that basis we strongly believe that we need to understand that there are time limits available for the decision and we do not intend to extend debate but we do expect sufficient time for a reasonable amount of time to present alternative ways of handling things in the process. So we will support part of Senator Fifield's proposition, but in terms of process we are putting on record that we are concerned that the time has not been well managed. We will watch and we will be cooperative when we can but we are concerned so far on the process.

Question agreed to.