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Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Page: 217


Senators Stephens and Mason to move:

That the Senate—

(a) pays tribute to the Irish poet and Nobel laureate, Mr Seamus Heaney, who died in Dublin on 30 August 2013 at the age of 74;

(b) notes that:

(i) he was the author of more than a dozen collections of poetry, as well as critical essays, translations and works for the stage,

(ii) he held lectureships at some of the world’s foremost universities, including Oxford, Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley,

(iii) as a Catholic native of Northern Ireland, he repeatedly explored the deep ethical conundrums that have afflicted Ireland, but that while much of his work concerned the strife and uncertainties of the ‘Troubles’, he avoided polemics and wrote poetry that was meditative and uplifting,

(iv) throughout his work, Mr Heaney was concerned with morality, but was never pompous; he was enraptured, as he once put it, by ‘words as bearers of history and mystery’, and his accessible, lyrical poetry made him one of the most widely-read poets in Australia and the world,

(v) he visited Australia in the early 1990s and was anticipating a return visit, and

(vi) he expressed a deep interest in our Indigenous and colonial history and found the experiences we all share are more inspirational than our differences, and at the close of his Nobel address, he spoke of ‘the power to persuade that vulnerable part of our consciousness of its rightness in spite of the evidence of wrongness all around it; the power to remind us that we are hunters and gatherers of values, that our very solitudes and distresses are creditable, in so far as they, too, are an earnest of our veritable human being’;

(c) acknowledges that the Irish community in Australia, the lovers of the thoughtful phrase, and all those who share Heaney’s fascination with the possibility of a world beyond the visible, are suffering the loss of a poet who had, above all, the human touch; and

(d) extends its deep sympathy to his wife Marie, sons Michael and Christopher and daughter Catherine.

Senator Fifield to move:

That the temporary order of the Senate relating to consideration of private senators’ bills, which applied until 30 June 2013, be adopted to operate as a temporary order until 30 June 2014 with effect from 2 December 2013.

Senator Waters to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) recent reports in the Sydney Morning Herald that the Prime Minister personally promised Tara resident, Ms Debbie Orr, that nobody should be forced to have a gas well on their property,

(ii) the Coalition’s election platform that access to prime agricultural land should only be allowed with the farmer’s agreement—the farmer should have the right to say yes or no to coal seam gas exploration and extraction on their property, and

(iii) that there are no constitutional limitations preventing the Federal Government from giving Australian landholders the legal right to say no to coal seam gas; and

(b) calls on the Government to follow through on these statements by giving landholders the legal right to say no to coal seam gas mining on their land under federal law.

Senator Xenophon to move:

That the following matters be referred to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 11 December 2013:

(a) the overall performance, importance and role of Australia Post in Australian communities, and the challenges it faces in the immediate and longer term;

(b) the operations of Australia Post in relation to Licensed Post Offices (LPOs), with particular reference to:

(i) the importance and role of the LPO network in the Australian postal system, with particular reference to regional and remote areas,

(ii) the licensing and trading conditions applicable to LPOs, including the Community Service Obligations, and any effects these may have on operating an LPO business, and

(iii   marketing, retail and trading arrangements between Australia Post and LPOs and other entities; and

(c) any related matters.

Senators Gallacher, Farrell, McEwen and Wong to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that the car industry contributes $21.5 billion to Australian gross domestic product and that the loss of the car industry would see the loss of 33 000 jobs in Melbourne and 6 600 jobs in Adelaide by 2018;

(b) congratulates South Australian Premier, Mr Jay Weatherill, and the South Australian Government on its ‘More than Cars’ campaign which seeks to create public consensus across the country for national investment in the car industry; and

(c) urges the Abbott Government to immediately announce a financial package to attract private investment in the car industry which will ensure that we secure the future of the industry for the long term.

Senator Madigan to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) in 2010 the Australian Bureau of Statistics published the Agricultural Land and Water Ownership survey (December 2010), which indicated that 11.3 per cent of Australian agricultural land was foreign-owned,

(ii) according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Vote Compass, a significant majority of Australians want to ‘further restrict foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land’, and

(iii) Australian agricultural land is a national treasure and should not be treated as a global commodity; and

(b) calls on the Government to table an updated Agricultural Land and Water Ownership survey, outlining foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land as at June 2013.

Senators Rhiannon and Moore to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) 15 November 2013 is the 75th anniversary of the start of industrial action taken by waterside workers to stop pig iron being loaded on the Dalfram and shipped to Japan,

(ii) the strike was called in support of growing community opposition to Australia shipping resources that could be used as war materials,

(iii) the shipment was part of a contract for 300 000 tons of pig iron to be supplied to Japan Steel Works, which was producing military materials,

(iv) the Federal Government accused the Waterside Workers Federation (WWF) of dictating foreign policy, arguing that, as the elected government, it had the sole right to decide what relationships were to be established with foreign powers, and

(v) on 24 January 1939, WWF General Secretary, Mr Jim Healy, met with government representatives and was informed that no more pig iron would be shipped to Japan; and

(b) congratulates the workers involved in the dispute in taking a stand for peace and acknowledges the sacrifices they and their families made during the nine week dispute when they were not paid.

Senator Milne to move:

That the following matter be referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for inquiry and report by the last day of sitting in March 2014:

The legislative proposals to reform the Senate voting system to abolish group voting tickets and introduce optional preferential above-the-line voting.

Senator Milne to move:

That the Senate—

(a) acknowledges the rights of global citizens to free assembly and peaceful protest;

(b) notes:

(i) with deep concern, the ongoing detention of two journalists and 28 crew of the Arctic Sunrise from 18 different countries who have been detained by Russian authorities since 18 September 2013 after peacefully protesting in the Pechora Sea,

(ii) that the arrest of the Arctic 30 occurred in international waters in apparent violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and

(iii) with disappointment, the absence of meaningful Australian support at the ministerial level for the 30 people detained, including one Australian citizen, one Australian permanent resident and an Australian dual national, while government leaders of the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Brazil and Germany have all made forceful representations to Russia; and

(c) urges the Prime Minister (Mr Abbott) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Ms Bishop) to be in continuous, direct contact with the Russian Government to seek the urgent release of Australian citizen, Mr Colin Russell and the other 29 individuals detained.

Senator Whish-Wilson to move:

That there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Investment:

(a) the current draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) plurilateral free trade agreement, by 5 December 2013;

(b) any revisions to draft texts of the TPP plurilateral free trade agreement, within 5 days of the revision; and

(c) the final text of the TPP plurilateral free trade agreement, within 5 days of the conclusion of negotiation.

Senators Ludlam and Lundy to move:

(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on the National Broadband Network, be established to inquire into and report on the Government's reviews of the National Broadband Network (NBN) and the governance of NBN Co, with interim reports as the committee sees fit and a final report on or before 10 June 2014, with particular reference to:

(a) the establishment of the Government’s strategic review of the NBN including:

(i) the adequacy of the terms of reference,

(ii) the selection of personnel and expert advisers to the review,

(iii) the data provided to the strategic review, in particular, any variation between that data and data used by NBN Co in preparing its annual report and corporate plan, and

(iv) the impact of the strategic review on the operational effectiveness of NBN Co;

(b) the outcome of the strategic review of the NBN, including:

(i) the extent to which the review fulfilled its terms of reference,

(ii) the reliability of assumptions made in the review, including, inter alia, the cost of alternative network equipment, the revenues of NBN Co under alternative scenarios, construction requirements and access to Telstra's copper network,

(iii) the implications of any alternatives considered for the long-term structure of the industry, in particular, the structural separation of access networks from retail operations, and

(iv) any other matters arising from the strategic review;

(c) the establishment and findings of the Government’s cost benefit analysis;

(d) the conduct and findings of the Government survey of the availability of broadband in Australia; and

(e) any related matter.

(2) That the committee consist of 7 senators, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and 1 nominated by the Australian Greens.

(3) That:

(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority party or independent senator;

(b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee; and

(c) that 3 members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee.

(4) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(5) That the committee elect as chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition and as deputy chair, a member nominated by the Leader of the Government.

(6) That the deputy chair shall act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.

(7) That the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, may appoint another member of the committee to act as chair during the temporary absence of both the chair and deputy chair at a meeting of the committee.

(8) That, in the event of an equally divided vote, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.

(9) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 3 or more of its members, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to examine.

(10) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings, the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.

(11) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the president.

(12) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such documents and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.

Senators Madigan and Xenophon to move:

That the following matter be referred to the Finance and Public Administration References Committee for inquiry and report by the first sitting day in March 2014:

The current ratio of Australian goods and services versus imported goods and services utilised by the Commonwealth through procurement procedures, with particular reference to:

(a) the current policies and procedures for procurement in Commonwealth departments and agencies, including:

(i) the current effectiveness of procurement policies and procedures,

(ii) the effectiveness of any policies or procedures designed to preference Australian goods and services, and

(iii) the operation of procurement divisions of departments and agencies, including oversight and scrutiny, cost, and requirements relating to transparency and information-sharing;

(b) the current policies and procedures for procurement for major Commonwealth-funded capital projects currently underway or foreshadowed in the budget, including:

(i) the current effectiveness of procurement policies and procedures for these projects,

(ii) the effectiveness of any policies designed to preference Australian goods and services, and

(iii) the transparency and accountability of project management;

(c) the economic, social and environmental benefits of utilising Australian goods and services; and

(d) any related matters.

Senator Moore to move:

That the Senate condemns the Government for its failure to rule out cuts to health and education programs, instead making it clear, when the Commission of Audit was announced by the Treasurer (Mr Hockey), that no area of the budget was ruled out, declaring that there are ‘no restrictions’ for the work of the commission.

Senators Rhiannon and Milne to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) that the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Stephen Harper, the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, and the Mauritius Prime Minister, Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, will be boycotting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka due to concerns about human rights violations,

(ii) that the British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, has said that he will attend CHOGM in Sri Lanka and communicate directly to President Rajapakse that if Sri Lanka does not deliver an independent investigation, the world will need to ensure an international investigation into war crimes is carried out,

(iii) the recent remarks by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Navi Pillay, about the huge levels of insecurity, fear and surveillance of the Sri Lankan population, and

(iv) that the Prime Minister, Mr Abbott, and Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Bishop, have said they will be attending CHOGM in Sri Lanka; and

(b) calls on Prime Minister to:

(i) follow the lead of the British Prime Minister and tell President Rajapakse if Sri Lanka does not deliver an independent investigation, the international community will need to ensure an investigation into war crimes is carried out, and

(ii) raise issues of freedom, failure to uphold the rule of law and human rights violations with President Rajapakse while he is at CHOGM.

Senator Siewert to move:


(a) the inquiry into the ownership arrangements of grain handling in Australia of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee of the 43rd Parliament be re-referred for inquiry with the same terms of reference, granting the current committee access to all inquiry submissions and documents of the preceding committee; and

(b) the committee report to the Senate by 13 December 2013.

Senator Ludlam to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor site is progressively deteriorating,

(ii) that Australian uranium was in each of the reactors at Fukushima on 11 March 2011, and

(iii) the nuclear utility TEPCO is embarking on the risky removal of more than 1 500 highly irradiated fuel rods from Unit 4 of the reactor complex; and

(b) calls on the government to:

(i) provide an assessment of the likelihood of success, and consequence of failure, of fuel recovery operations;

(ii) inform the Senate of whether or not it has evaluated the contamination risks to Pacific Ocean ecosystems, fisheries and communities in the event of a fire or other accident during fuel recovery operations, and

(iii) regularly advise the Senate of the progress toward the removal of fuel from Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 and subsequent progress toward reducing the flow of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.