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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 2560

Senator FISHER (South Australia) (12:05): When I was rudely interrupted whilst speaking on this bill earlier, I was admiring the government's continued inability to have the courage of its policy convictions. If this government truly does have so, as for example Senator Singh suggested, when speaking against this bill last week, that the government agrees with much of the policy underpinnings of our bill, so much so that most of them were reflected in a bill introduced into the House by then Minister McClelland. In referring to that fact, Senator Singh said:

… But while one could support the original intention of this bill we are debating here today, the Australian government is already acting on this issue. Last year the then Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, introduced the Social Security Amendment (Supporting Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas) Bill to achieve a similar purpose to that of the bill we are currently debating.

If the government is already acting, where has Minister McClelland's bill gone? It seems to have gone 'poof' and vanished pretty much in a puff of smoke as has, it would seem, his ministerial career, sadly, as a consequence of the leadership stoush. Where is the government's bill? It looks like it is missing in action, tragically, as are many Australians as a result of the various sorts of terrorist activities, the consequences of which this bill is designed to address. There is nothing radical in this bill but there is a lot of compassion in it.

Debate adjourned.