Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme Amendment Bill 2016, Trade Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2016 - FIRST READING


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (17:52): It is not very often that I agree with Senator Di Natale, but I agree with every word he just spoke. He has actually brought some sense and rationality to this debate. Can I just explain to people who might be listening what exactly we are debating at the moment. It is not Mr Turnbull's economic credentials and not the electoral system but a bill to do a Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme. That is the bill that is before the discussion now. What we are doing is getting a message from the House of Representatives, where this bill has been debated and has passed. It has been brought in here and we are debating whether it should be dealt with as a matter of urgency. Can I just urge upon the Labor Party to remember—and explain to those who might be listening to this debate—that this bill is about providing money to people working in disability services and enterprises. I repeat that: this bill that we are debating is about making more money available to people with disabilities working in disability enterprises.

Senator Marshall: Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order of relevance. We are not in fact debating a bill at all. If Senator Macdonald thinks we are debating a bill, he is clearly not addressing the question before the chair.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Seselja ): Thank you, Senator Marshall. I will rule on the point of order. I have allowed Senator Conroy to go well beyond—

Senator Conroy: I never mentioned the bill!

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Conroy, I understand that.

Senator Conroy interjecting

Senator Cormann: He has no idea!

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: One at a time! I am ruling on the point of order—

Senator Cormann: Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. Senator Conroy just said he had no idea what the actual bill was, yet he is raising points of order. You should call him to order.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Cormann, but there is no point of order there. I am ruling on the point of order. Senator Marshall, I allowed a fairly wide-ranging discussion when Senator Conroy and others were speaking.

Senator Conroy: I never mentioned the bill!

Senator Cormann: That is how the Labor Party—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Cormann! I accept that it was wide-ranging. I will allow Senator Macdonald to continue.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. That point of order does not behove our Acting Deputy President, I have to say. We are here debating reasons for urgency—

Senator Marshall: Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I should not have to accept that. I am entitled to raise points of order. I was in fact seeking the call and thought I was entitled to the call, because it should go across the chamber. I wanted to address the actual question and the process and procedure, and not some of the politics that is being talked about.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Marshall. Senator Macdonald has the call.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I always know I am making an accurate point that people listening to this would be interested in when the Labor Party keep taking points of order on me. That was confirmed just now. This debate is about the urgency of the message from the House of Representatives to deal with the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme Amendment Bill 2016. It is a debate on why this is urgent. Why is this urgent? Because it deals with providing money to people with intellectual disabilities affected by the representative proceedings to claim and receive agreed payments increases.

I would assume that the Labor Party will agree with the bill, but it is important that it is dealt with now so that payments can start. That is why the bill is important. That is why it is a matter of urgency. For the previous speaker who took the point of order, that is why the bill is a matter of urgency. That is why we should deal with the message from the House of Representatives as a matter of urgency, so that we can get on to the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme that will provide more money for people working in disability enterprises. Why would the Labor Party be filibustering so we cannot start the debate on that bill to provide more money for people with disability enterprises? Why would you want to delay this, Senator Conroy? This is for money for people with a disability.

The Labor Party are using filibuster tactics to prevent the Senate from moving on and dealing with this bill. They do it because they spat the dummy over some other bill that we heard Senator Conroy talk about for five minutes without a word of a point of order from those in the Labor Party, who always find reasons to take points of order on me. The Labor Party are defending the indefensible on the electoral matters bill. As Senator Conroy spoke for five minutes on that, I feel I should just answer that for 30 seconds or so. Senator Conroy, and I ask Labor senators generally: what is wrong with allowing the Australian public to actually determine the preferences that they choose when they go to the next ballot for a Senate? The Labor Party want the bovver boys—the factional heads of the Labor Party—to determine who they will vote for in their preferences. We want the people of Australia to determine their own preferences.

I come back to the reason for the urgency with which we should accept and deal with the message from the House of Representatives: so that we can deal with a bill which will provide money to people with intellectual disabilities working in disability enterprises. It is a wonderful idea. I am sure the bill will receive unanimous support when it comes before us. Why is the Labor Party delaying debate on that essential bill? We should be debating it now.

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