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Thursday, 27 August 2020
Page: 4243


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (12:00): Senator McKim has just let the cat out of the bag. Whether there's another inquiry or no inquiry, the Greens are going to fight this legislation all the way. An inquiry will make no difference. It is just another step—and this is what this is all about—in delaying and delaying. Senator Hanson-Young said that this legislation is a carbon copy of a piece of legislation that was introduced by the Abbott government. That is how long this has been inquired into by the Senate. This is how long the Greens have been fighting to delay this in going ahead. It's a carbon copy of a bill that was previously inquired into by a Senate committee.

So you want to have another committee into a carbon copy of a bill into which there has already been an inquiry. You have just exposed the absolute insincerity with which you are seeking to pursue this amendment. I can see how you're smiling and smirking, because you know that what I'm saying is true. This is not about scrutiny. This is not about assessing a piece of legislation. This is about delaying, pure and simple, fighting it all the way and making sure that here in Australia we can't secure passage of a piece of legislation that is designed to appropriately balance environmental protection with economic opportunity.

We want to continue to grow our economy. We want to create opportunities for Australians to get ahead, to get a job and to pursue a career. That is why we've always got to make sure we appropriately balance environmental protection with economic opportunity. That is why we need to ensure that we streamline and make the environmental approval processes more efficient. We completely reject the proposition that we're avoiding scrutiny. But we are not going to be part of a charade whose sole objective, as Senator McKim has confirmed on the record in this chamber today, is to fight this legislation all the way. He's going to fight it on the beaches—

Senator McKim interjecting

Senator CORMANN: He's agreeing. So why would we waste our time with an inquiry that has absolutely no prospect of changing the Greens' minds? They're not going into this with an open mind. They're going into this with a very clear determination to kill the bill. I have to say that I am deeply disappointed that the Labor Party yet again have made themselves complicit in Greens' efforts to kill a bill that is designed to promote economic opportunity in a way that is environmentally responsible. We are proposing to work with the state Labor government in Western Australia. The state Labor government in Western Australia wants to work with us in order to get projects up in an environmentally responsible fashion.

We are always up for proper inquiries into new reforms that are coming forward, but we believe that six years of debate, six years of inquiries and six years of fighting this out is long enough. It is time to get on with it. It is time for the Senate to get on with it. We call on all senators who care about economic opportunity, who care about jobs for working Australians, to vote with us to reject this amendment to this Scrutiny of Bills Committee report.