I rise to oppose both this contingent motion and indeed the amendment from the Manager of Opposition Business, both for the same reasons. The Manager of Opposition Business indicated that they had first eyes on this bill at eight o’clock this morning. Well, the crossbench had first eyes on at around 9.30. This is important legislation—so important that the government wishes to implement it urgently but not important enough that members of this place can undertake due diligence and sound scrutiny.
I oppose this contingent motion and the amendment on the grounds of good governance. This is not good governance. Each and every member of this place is elected to be a conscientious legislator, and I cannot in any way return to my community and say, ‘I gave this bill conscientious scrutiny.’
I simply cannot. Since the briefing this morning, I have sought to get independent legal advice. No-one was available in this short period of time. I’ve sought advice from academics. They said they’d try and call me this evening. This is simply not good enough. It’s simply no way to go back to the Australian people and give them confidence that what we do in this place not only stands up to the scrutiny of those of us who are sent here to vote on it but also stands up to the scrutiny of the High Court itself.
This is really disturbing. I agree with the Manager of Opposition Business. I would be happy to stay here into the evening, for as long as it takes, to give people the amount of time they require to engage in solid debate. This bill is so important; it deserves that at the very least. I can’t continue to support government contingent motions that ask us to rush through legislation with the narrowest opportunity to engage with the legislation in any meaningful way. For me, it’s an absolute no to this contingent motion. The Manager of Opposition Business seeks to amend the bill, which advantages the opposition by a factor of only a few more minutes for the shadow minister. It does nothing to assist anybody else in the House, so I want this recorded: I simply cannot support this.