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Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Page: 11114

Mr ANDREWS (Menzies) (22:56): Isn't it significant that the Assistant Treasurer has actually explained on the second consequential bill in very brief detail what the amendment is about? This is a night in which we have had the government move significant amendments and not even had the courage to come into the chamber and explain what the amendments were about. I will be brief. I will not hold the chamber up.

Government members interjecting

Mr ANDREWS: I will keep talking for my whole five minutes, if you like. This is the night the government has sold out the charitable sector in Australia. The government has failed, week after week and month after month, to explain to this chamber and to the people of Australia what the great mischief is that this bill is required for. It has not come out it in here tonight. Look behind me. I say to the people behind me: do we reject this legislation? Yes, we do. Do we think this legislation is unnecessary? Yes, we do. Look behind me: yes.

Why couldn't the government tonight get more than one or two or three speakers to stand up and defend this legislation? Because the reality is when they went back to their own electorates, consulted with the charitable sector and asked the surf club, the sporting club, the cultural club and the service organisation what it was that demanded this legislation, what did they get? They got a resounding silence. Why? Because this is legislation which has been foisted upon the charitable sector in Australia which they do not want, which there has been no case made by the hapless minister at the table—and I do not blame him because he is the third minister in line to bring this legislation forward. The reality is there is no support for this legislation within the charitable sector within in Australia.

What we proudly say tonight is that we stand to oppose this legislation. Yes, we have allowed the amendments to go through because what they do is add some slight improvements to bad legislation. But the reality is this is bad policy. This is bad law—and not only do we oppose it tonight, not only will we vote against it now but, if we get the chance to be entrusted to government in the future, we shall repeal it.

Question agreed to.