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Friday, 22 June 2012
Page: 4275


Senator EDWARDS (South Australia) (14:44): I must protest, Mr Deputy President, that this is the third time—third time lucky—that I have tried to speak today, and I have eventually made my way. There were some bills this morning that I was keen to speak on to support my colleagues in their views. However, I have been denied this opportunity. I again look at Senator Whish-Wilson over there—our newest senator elected to this place—who has taken his seat today. He must wonder what he has walked into. We have two weeks of sitting in which 36 bills will be guillotined. I look at the people in the gallery and I ask: is democracy served? No, it is not. Do we want to have a say? Absolutely.

I rise to speak on the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2012. This bill looks to make technical amendments to 21 acts across six portfolios, constituting part of a continuing program of reforming the efficiency of the financial framework as issues arise. The coalition does support these reforms in principle. This is the 10th financial framework amendment bill since 2004. This bill is designed to rectify inconsistencies and further clarify and remove anomalies across government legislation. In doing so, it will seek to keep legislation up to date with current and efficient financial practices. It is totally consistent with constitutional rigour.

This bill contains 140 items of amendment—and, understandably, I will only talk on some of them. This is one of the few bills the government has introduced to make legislation simpler, more efficient and less burdensome for those working underneath it. It is a sad reflection on this government that they have not taken this approach with more of their legislation and programs they have foolishly embarked upon. The government promised a one-in one-out approach to new regulation. As we all know, however, this government is all talk and spin and very little action. In reality, 18,089 new pieces of legislation have been introduced and just 86 items repealed—86 items of the 18,089 new pieces of regulation.

This is a government, in conjunction with the Greens, that just want to come and live in your homes. They want to dictate how you live your life. Make no mistake all of you who are listening to this: we should be vigilant in ensuring that this does not continue to occur. Take, for example, the financial advice bills that came before the Senate earlier this week. I had planned to speak on those bills but was unable to because the government, in collusion with the Greens up there, right under your noses, gagged the debate on those bills as they have done for most of the bills this week. The FOFA bills are a good illustration of the government's bungling of financial legislation. Certainly doing business has become a lot harder and more complex in Australia. That legislation will lead to increased costs and reduced choice for Australians seeking financial advice—a poor outcome for Australians badly bruised during the financial crisis, when a number of high-profile Australian financial service providers collapsed.

In the one minute I have left I will move to some concluding remarks. While the coalition offers in-principle support for the reasonable changes contained within this bill, we believe there has been a frank attempt to improve the efficiency of the financial framework. As I said, it is a shame the government has not been as studious with the other pieces of legislation. Of course, being a Labor government in power, it cannot resist introducing new regulations and more red tape—this despite another top-level talkfest called by the government to reduce red tape only a week ago in Brisbane. More regulation is part and parcel of the Labor Party's DNA. The Labor Party takes too much notice of vested interests and has its own financial reasons for wanting legislative changes.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! The time allotted for consideration of this bill has expired.

(Quorum formed)

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.