The question now is that the amendment as moved by Senator Chisholm to the Selection of Bills Committee Report be agreed to. Senator Shoebridge.
The Greens oppose this amendment for reasons that have been articulated by my colleague Senator McKim. This is the amendment to not refer the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Prohibited Hate Symbols and Other Measures) Bill 2023 to an inquiry. As we understand it, the rationale for not referring it is that the PJCIS—the secret spooks and harm committee, the organised spooks and injury committee of this parliament, that only the coalition and Labor get to sit on—is going to have a nice, secret inquiry amongst the club. The club are going to go and hear from the national security apparatus. They are going to say why they desperately need yet more coercive powers to monster people in the country. It'll be secret. It'll be in the usual club. There'll be the cigars and the heavy carpet in the smoke-filled room.
Out of that secret inquiry, which you can only go to if you have membership of the Labor Party or the coalition, despite the law saying that's not how the committee should operate, will come a recommendation that this set of most recent antiterrorism laws are absolutely necessary for the protection of the country. We could write the report now, because the club always writes the same report. Because those guys like extra secret powers, they are giving more and more ways of spooking on Australian citizens. They like all of that stuff. And if anyone comes into that committee and they have a little bit of gold braid on their shoulders or a little bit of gold piping on their sleeves, they all just bow down. They lie down and say: 'Please, sir. Please, madam. How can we give you more power? How can we give you more money? We promise not to check how you use it? You can flush the money down the toilet. You can abuse the powers. We promise not to ask any hard questions, because we love you.' That's what they say—'Come here with braids and we'll lie down and you can have whatever you like, however much public money you like, whatever new powers you like, because that's what the club does.'
It may surprise them that as a party on the crossbench and the third-biggest party in this place we think that's cooked. It may also surprise them to know, if they ever lifted their noses away from the sort of gold-braided, smoke-filled rooms that they love making these decisions in, the rest of Australia thinks it's cooked too. They don't trust them making these kinds of decisions in smoke-filled rooms where no-one gets to see what's happening. They see what happens when they do it. They've seen how they have these little secret meetings. They hear from the military brass and then we wake up one morning and they have committed $368 billion to a bunch of nuclear submarines that are likely to never turn up. We have seen that. We all went to bed one night thinking we had a $200 billion problem with nuclear submarines and we woke up and found out that those guys, in secret, had cooked up a $368 billion problem with nuclear submarines.
We have all seen how they have mismanaged public funds on the Hunter frigate disaster. They started by saying they wanted a $30 billion program, and then they let the same Defence officials pull the wool over their eyes, not even doing a costed tender, and we woke up with a $45 billion problem and we still don't even have a boat in the water. That's what happens when they do it in secret. That's what happens when Labor and the coalition just give Defence and the security apparatus whatever they like without asking any tough questions.
What is there to be scared of in having a public inquiry into this? I will tell you what they are worried about. They are worried that business as usual is going to get some scrutiny. They are worried that the obvious, apparent failings of the club are going to be exposed. We believe that, if there's merit in this legislation, we should take it to a proper inquiry and test it in the public light, and then we will see about passing it.
Before I put the question on this amendment, I remind senators that calling out is disorderly, and even more so when most of the senators who were calling out are not even in their correct seats. The question is that the amendment as moved by Senator Chisholm to the Selection of Bills Committee Report be agreed to.
Date and time: 11:34 AM on 2023-06-15
Senator Pocock's vote: No
Total number of "aye" votes: 25
Total number of "no" votes: 14
Total number of abstentions: 37
Adapted from information made available by theyvoteforyou.org.au