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Call to extend parliamentary sittings

Independent ACT Senator David Pocock is calling on the parliament to support an extension to the number of sitting days for 2022.

While welcoming the Government’s move to make up for the sitting days lost due to the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Senator Pocock said more is needed.

Senator Pocock is particularly concerned to ensure there is sufficient time to debate and bring to a vote urgent bills such as Restoring Territory Rights, legislation to ensure 10 days paid domestic violence leave and other key priorities.

Parliament was due to sit for four days from 12 to 15 September. Instead, it is now proposed to sit on 23 September for condolence motions only, and then for three days from 26 to 28 September 2022. 

Senator Pocock is seeking support to extend the sitting days to include Thursday 29 September in the first instance given parliamentarians will have already gone to the trouble and taxpayer expense of returning to Canberra and to consider adding an additional sitting fortnight later in the year.

He will move a motion in the Senate proposing the change when parliament resumes and is encouraging his senate colleagues to support the idea.

“While I appreciate the conventions we observe following the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, following that I believe Australians expect politicians to be attending to the work of the parliament in debating and legislating on behalf of our communities and our constituents,” Senator Pocock said.

“There are some really urgent pieces of legislation the parliament needs to consider and vote on.

“The Government has a raft of legislation it is seeking to pass by the end of the year, everything from 10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence leave to housing to the national anti-corruption commission.

“For people in the ACT and Northern Territory in particular, seeing debate continue on the Restoring Territory Rights Bill is urgent and important.

“We’ve been waiting 25 years to have equal rights as people in the states. I don’t think it’s fair to put off debate until next year on this issue, and that is a real possibility given how few sitting days are left this year.

"I know I am new to the parliament and the sitting calendar is up to the government of the day, but I have heard loud and clear from my community that there is an expectation we will get things done on their behalf. There is absolutely the opportunity to get more good work done this year for the people of Australia.”

Media contact: Fiona Scott M| 0407 294 620 E| [email protected]

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