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Wednesday, 4 December 2002
Page: 7101

Senator BROWN (10:02 AM) —The Greens were partly instrumental, through Christabel Chamarette, in having the cut-off brought in so that bills could not be landed in the Senate and passed through without time for the senators to go back to the community and discuss the ramifications. The Greens are inherently opposed to the repeated use of the cut-off and its increasing use by the government.

There is not on this list legislation that could not have been brought here earlier. What happens here is that the government ministers who are responsible for these bills do not get them together in time and do not get them brought to the House of Representatives, knowing that there is a delay between then and when they come to the Senate, and do not allow the Senate adequate time. This happens at the end of every year, but we are now seeing the cut-off being used more and more throughout the year as well. I feel very defensive about it.

The mechanism was brought in by all parties, I think, except the Labor Party at the time, because they were in government— please correct me if I am not right about that. It was brought in so that the community could be adequately consulted. All of the pieces of legislation that are on this list are of intense interest to different sections of the Australian community. To accede to the cut-off is to simply say, `Anything goes.' We are back where we were. Ministers who have not done the work and who have not ensured that the bureaucracy, at their assistance, did the work to get the legislation before the parliament in time for it to be properly canvassed with the community by parliamentarians are not going to be rebuked over that. I think they should be, and we oppose this cut-off motion.