Bill's Speeches

ADJOURNMENT SPEECH - PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA - THURSDAY, 6 DECEMBER 2018

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

Thank you, Mr Speaker.
 
I don't normally take the adjournment but today Australians deserve an explanation.
 
They deserve an explanation why this government, which lurches from “crisis to crisis, embarrassment piled on embarrassment, week after week,” Australians deserve to know why they don't have national security encryption legislation, why the kids are still on Nauru and why their power prices are still going up. 

This Government has said that these are very important issues, in particular, national security. 

At the beginning of this week they threatened Labor and said: "You must not stand in the way of encryption legislation"

And indeed, earlier on the 22nd of November, the current Prime Minister said about encryption legislation, and I quote:
 
 "Our police, our agencies need these powers now. I would like to see them passed, in fact I would insist on seeing them passed before the end of the next sitting fortnight." 
 
But I regret to advise the Australian people that we've arrived at the end of the sitting fortnight, there is legislation passed and amended in the Senate which then comes back to the House of Representatives to be finalised. 

It has ever been thus in the Australian parliamentary system. The House of Reps, or the Senate, amend laws and the other house then considers them. 
 
Now what happened is this government rushed a set of encryption laws which were just frankly, botched. This Opposition absolutely worked to get agreement to repair them as best we can, and this morning the Government gave us 170 amendments on vital legislation to do with digital privacy, tracking down terrorists and criminals, security, economics. 
 
And Labor in the Parliament, and the crossbench, have considered 170 amendments and ratified them in the Senate in the last hour.
 
But apparently, this Christmas, when it was so vital to have national security laws, the government now say: “Five o'clock, time to go home. We will worry about national security next year.” 
 
Shame, shame, shame.
 
You use national security as a stick to try and score a political angle, Labor looks at national security and says how do we work together to make Australians safe.  
 
And what has happened is these laws are ready to be passed right now. And every year past when the Parliament has laws which arrived late, because the Parliament was scheduled to finish at five o'clock for the year, we sit later. 
 
Both political parties tell their members of parliament, don't book your flights, don't make commitments in the electorates tomorrow.
 
Because a tried and true system of government under John Howard and Bob Hawke and even Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull was that if you have laws which need to be passed, and the government has made the case they need to be passed, you stay and do the job. You don't go home. 
 
But under this government, apparently national security is only national security till five o'clock on a Thursday.
 
Because the bad guys don't worry about our national security, they will stop at 5 o'clock.
 
We have got a work-to-rule government who is divided and the real reason why we're not dealing with these laws is because the Parliament is expressing the will, in addition to the proper scrutiny of laws.
 
We want to see the kids off Nauru, kids who need medical treatment where the treating medicos say they should be done. We simply say, they should get that treatment and the decision-making should be transparent and accountable. 
 
But this is where we now find out the real priorities of this ideologically bankrupt, this morally abject failing government. They are more keen to be seen to maintain their political pride than either protect Australians or get kids off Nauru or even deal with lower energy prices. 
 
This is a government who are so consumed by their own pride, they have been divided all this year, they got rid of their sitting prime minister, they lost an electorate, and lost some of the members of parliament for whom they have relied on.
 
They bullied the Member for Banks out of the Liberal Party and because of their own internal discord, they are now concerned that children might be able to have a transparent process to receive the medical treatment they deserve. 
 
But this is a government who says national security is number one, unless it’s Prime Minister Morrison's pride, because then national security is number two. 
 
It says the safety of children is number one, unless the pride of Prime Minister Morrison is in danger, then that comes first. 
 
This government should be ashamed of itself. It has put its own pride, its own political bacon, ahead of the children on Nauru, ahead of national security and the people of Australia.


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