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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 2633

Senator FEENEY (VictoriaParliamentary Secretary for Defence) (15:58): I do not think it will surprise you or the chamber to learn that the government will be opposing the second reading amendment. Let me deal with some of the issues raised by Senator Brandis. I congratulate him on what was a most artful speech but, while he offered us cooperation with the legislation—and I say most earnestly thank you for that cooperation; that is valued and important—it was an artful speech because this is a bill that provides certainty for family court orders with regard to matters following two proclamations in the Family Law Act that were not made, the first of those not having been made in 2006 and the second not having been made in 2009. In both instances this was a departmental oversight, given this is a very rarely required proclamation under the act. But I think the relevant point is that while, in 2009 this was an error for which Labor takes responsibility given that we were in office, in 2006 it was under the Liberal-National government and, if one were simply listening to Senator Brandis's artful speech, one would have concluded that some grotesque error had occurred entirely on the watch of the Labor Party. In fact, let the record make clear that this was a mistake that, while departmental and administrative, has its origins in 2006. This is a pertinent point that I notice was startlingly absent from the speech of Senator Brandis.

While I thank him for his cooperation, I think his speech makes plain just how dreadfully painful cooperation is for those opposite. No opposition and obstruction is obviously their preferred mode. But here the good angels have prevailed, Senator Brandis, and you have assisted us in this important matter for which I thank you. But let us make clear that, notwithstanding the artful speech of Senator Brandis, this is not a matter on which those opposite are entitled to be quite so high and mighty.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question is that the second reading amendment on sheet 7228 as circulated and moved by Senator Brandis be agreed to.

Question negatived.

Original question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.