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Pages tagged "Vote: abstained"

ABSTAINED – Matters of Urgency — Environment

Andrew McLachlan

Senator McKim has submitted a proposal under standing order 75 today:

Pursuant to standing order 75, I give notice that today the Australian Greens propose to move "That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

The Government is breaking an election promise to strengthen our environment laws and is attempting to prevent First Nations people having a voice by pushing through the Parliament a bill to fast track offshore gas projects."

Is the proposal supported?

More than the number of senators required by the standing orders having risen in their places—

Dorinda Cox

At the request of Senator McKim, I move:

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

The Government is breaking an election promise to strengthen our environment laws and is attempting to prevent First Nations people having a voice by pushing through the Parliament a bill to fast track offshore gas projects."

This government said back on election night in May 2022 that they were committed to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full and listening to First Nations voices. Now, this government has also committed to strengthening the environment laws and it's said it is committed to strong action on climate change. Schedule 2, part 2 of the offshore petroleum greenhouse gas and storage amendment bill currently before the parliament flies in the face of all of these commitments.

To add insult to injury, this change has been hidden in an otherwise exceptionally important bill that makes much-needed improvements to offshore worker safety—offshore worker safety, which has been campaigned on for many years. Not only is this government breaking an election promise; it's doing so under the guise of worker safety. It is shameless and it is spineless that this government wants us to think it's taking action on climate change seriously and that they are actually listening to First Nations voices when in reality this is a sneaky act. What will the Minister for Resources, in fact, obtain through these wide-reaching powers? We have no indication of what they are, just that we're going to carve it off and give it to the resources minister. We're going to hide it in a section of the bill away from the crossbench, other environment groups and other people from the crossbench, environment groups and other people that attended the hearing last Thursday here in this place. They didn't even bother to tell us here in the Greens about the bill at all, and I meet with the Minister for Resources on a quarterly basis. They clearly tried to sneak this one through and hoped that no-one would actually notice. They're embarrassed that this plan did not work.

This gives the resources minister a blank cheque to weaken consultation requirements and fast-track all those gas projects to open up any new fossil fuel projects against the wishes of First Nations people and against the climate science. Guess whose voices they're listening to. They're listening to Santos, Woodside, Inpex, Jera and others that they're so eager to please. This comes off that FOI letter from the CEO of Santos about traditional owners winning cases left, right and centre. This government is doing the bidding of the gas cartel. (Time expired)

Susan McDonald

This motion today confirms that the Greens don't support a prosperous Australia. They don't support Australian workers or understand the importance of supporting investment. They either don't understand the importance of the resources sector or are so arrogant that they don't care about the benefits that it brings. The Greens are simply empowered by one motive: playing politics. They would rather generate hot air in this chamber and fearmonger than come to the table like adults and work on delivering real policy that helps Australians. Whilst they all benefit from the resources sector, they refused to support it. The hypocrisy is rife because they're happy to drive on roads built by taxes resource companies pay, drink from glasses manufactured with gas and use their phones and laptops built with Australian minerals, yet they continue to appear in this chamber and try to drag the whole sector through the mud and shame the more than one million Australians who work in the sector.

We know that the resources sector is responsible for and is to thank for propping up the budget and is to thank for the schools and hospitals that we enjoy and the roads we drive on. Yet you won't hear the Greens acknowledge this. They just ask for more and more, until there is nothing left.

What you'll hear from the Greens is that they don't actually speak on behalf of all Indigenous Australians. They only like to talk about those that fit their ideological crusade. I'm sure you won't hear about the Indigenous voices who do support the resources sector. I've had the pleasure of meeting with members of the Top End Aboriginal Coastal Alliance, who gave evidence at this hearing last week. A group of Indigenous Australians—

How appalling to have those people undermined in this very place, when we are supposed to be here to represent them. I'd ask you not to do that. It is a group of Aboriginal Australians from northern Australia who support the resources sector because they know the value that projects like the Barossa project bring to their communities. The Greens never talk about communities like these.

The Greens would much rather parrot the talking points of the Environmental Defenders Office, an organisation that receives taxpayer funds to try and sabotage our nation's wealth-generating industries. What an outstanding, upstanding organisation they are, with allegations of witness coaching and confected evidence. Yet the Greens are happy to be strongly associated with that organisation. I'm sure that those on the government benches are proud to be spending millions of dollars on funding that organisation.

What about the government—the alleged party of the workers? Thanks to their terrible energy policies we are seeing manufacturing jobs leave this country. The mess this government has created is costing Australian workers and costing the country. We see senators on the other side talk about how proud they are of their union backgrounds and their support for Australian workers, so let's see what the unions have said. Brad Gandy, secretary of the AWU's Western Australian branch, called out the exploitation risk that is occurring in the offshore oil and gas regulations, saying:

The vulnerabilities in the regime that are being exploited must be closed, whilst retaining the integrity that the process needs.

AWU national secretary Paul Farrow expressed concern that workers were becoming 'collateral damage' in the campaign to destroy the oil and gas industry—a campaign the government is helping to fund through the payments to the EDO.

I raise this question: how can Australian workers have faith that Labor supports them? The answer is that Labor does not, and it's become apparent that the coalition is the real party of working Australians because Labor's only solution is to talk about how they support Australian jobs, while their policies lead to the closures and jobs fleeing offshore. As investment and capital flees, thanks to their energy policies and industrial relations disaster, more jobs will leave.

The coalition remains an ardent supporter of Australia's resources sector. We remain committed to ensuring that this crucial industry, which generates and delivers so much wealth, is able to keep investing in our nation. It's worth recognising just how important this contribution is. Australia's gas industry generated $92 billion in export earnings in the last financial year, which provided direct economic support to federal, state and territory budgets. It powers energy and manufacturing across the entire country and provides secure energy to many of our international partners.

Karen Grogan

We stand here with one party over there that's all about resources and absolutely nothing about the environment, we stand over here with the other party in this chamber that's all environment and no resources—with neither looking at a sensible punt down the middle that gives us the resources we need and protects the environment that we so desperately need to protect.

What we're dealing with in this chamber today is another case of misrepresentation of reality by our colleagues in the Greens. There is either a significant lack of understanding about what is in front of us here or wilful misleading for political gain. We are talking about a review of Australia's offshore environmental management framework to ensure that it's fit for purpose. We know, because we've heard from First Nations people and environmental groups, that it isn't working effectively at this point in time, so we are reviewing it to make sure it does. We've heard that consultation for offshore resource projects isn't targeted or culturally appropriate. That's not okay. The Albanese Labor government is working to fix that.

The plan is to actually make this consultation appropriate so that we are listening to First Nations people and so that it is targeted and culturally appropriate. There will not be any watering down of environmental standards. There will not be any rushed offshore projects, as has already been declared in this chamber. Those things are not happening. It is not true. I'd also like to point out that this review isn't a secret. It's not something that's just arrived in this chamber. It is something that was announced in the 2023 budget. It was quite some time ago, so those who are struggling to get their heads around it have had plenty of time to get briefings, to ask further questions or to investigate this. There is no need to just use this as some crazy ongoing political football, which we've seen for so many years.

The central premise of this motion is that the Labor government is breaking its election commitments. That is just a farce. It's not true. After a decade of environmental negligence and wasted time by the coalition, coupled with some less than helpful contributions from the Greens, the government is getting on with the job of delivering better outcomes for the environment and driving down our emissions. We've committed to net zero by 2050. We've committed to 43 per cent emissions reduction by 2030. We have significant investments in renewables and significant projects. We also now have stronger fuel efficiency standards and a $2 billion investment in green hydrogen. Our climate safeguard laws also mean that any project has some pretty strict guidelines and caps. Any coal or gas project must comply with that and must work towards our net zero commitment.

We understand that action to address climate change has to go hand in hand with protecting our environment and our biodiversity. We've invested significantly in projects across our environment. We've worked very hard to offset some of the significant decline that we have seen through a decade of inaction by those opposite when they were in government. They have neglected the environment. They have reduced the protections. They ignored the Samuel review. They held $40 million aside for Indigenous projects on the Murray and didn't spend a single cent. We have promised to provide stronger environmental protection, and that is what we are working on. That is what we are going to deliver. It is a huge task on the back of the neglect and the inaction that we've seen, which resulted in significant decline. Just to be clear: there will be no environmental standards watered down, there will be no fast-tracking of projects and there will be no weakening of consultation requirements. (Time expired)

Long debate text truncated.

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ABSTAINED – Documents — Afghanistan Inquiry Implementation Oversight Panel; Order for the Production of Documents

Malcolm Roberts

I move:

That—

(a) the Senate notes that:

(i) on 28 February 2024, order for production of documents no. 474 was agreed by the Senate, requiring the Minister representing the Minister for Defence to table documents by no later than 10am 29 February 2024;

(ii) the order has not been complied with by the deadline; and

(iii) in a letter of response dated 29 February 2024 the Minister claimed the document may contain prejudicial information but did not raise a public interest immunity claim;

(b) there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Defence by 2pm 19 March 2024:

(i) the advice referred to in the letter dated 29 February 2024 that the Final Report of the Afghanistan Inquiry Implementation Oversight Panel may prejudice criminal proceedings, with identifying details of the proceedings redacted;

(ii) the date government expects to complete consultation with the Office of the Special Investigator; and

(c) unless the Final Report of the Afghanistan Inquiry Implementation Oversight Panel has been tabled, the Minister representing the Minister for Defence be required to attend the chamber after motions to take note of answers on 20 March 2024 to provide an explanation, of no more than 5 minutes, of the failure to comply with the order no. 474; and

(d) any senator may move to take note of the explanation required by paragraph (c).

(e) any motion under paragraph (d) may be debated for no longer than 30 minutes, shall have precedence over all business until determined, and senators may speak to the motion for not more than 10 minutes each.

Carol Brown

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

The government will not be supporting this motion. As the Deputy Prime Minister made clear in his letter dated 29 February that was provided to the Senate, the final report of the Afghanistan Inquiry Implementation Oversight Panel sought in this order was handed to the government in November 2023 and is currently under thorough consideration. The advice is clear that premature release of the report may potentially prejudice criminal proceedings relating to war crimes, and further consultations with other agencies, namely the Office of the Special Investigator, are required.

Jonathon Duniam

I ask that the question on paragraphs (a) and (b) be put separately to paragraphs (c), (d) and (e), and in doing so I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

The opposition will be supporting the substance of this motion in relation to the order for the production of documents but will await the response before deciding whether the Minister representing the Minister for Defence should be required to attend the chamber to explain.

Andrew McLachlan

This motion will be put into two parts. The question before the Senate is that the motion moved by Senator Roberts, parts (a) and (b) only, be agreed to.

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ABSTAINED – Documents — Department of Education; Order for the Production of Documents

Matt O'Sullivan

At the request of Senator Henderson, I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 490 standing in her name.

Leave granted.

I move the motion as amended:

That—

(a) the Senate notes that:

(i) order for the production of documents no. 374, agreed to by the Senate on 7 November 2023, relating to the Minister for Education's review of the HELP ATO payments system, has only been partially complied with, and

(ii) a further order, no. 465, agreed to by the Senate on 27 February 2024, requiring the Minister to fully comply with order for the production of documents no. 374, by no later than 5 pm on 28 February 2024, has not been complied with;

(b) unless the order is complied with in full by 18 March 2024, the Minister representing the Minister for Education be required to attend the chamber after motions to take note of answers on 20 March 2024 to provide an explanation, of no more than 5 minutes, of the failure to fully comply with the order;

(c) any senator may move to take note of the explanation required by paragraph (b); and

(d) any motion under paragraph (c) may be debated for no longer than 30 minutes, shall have precedence over all business until determined, and senators may speak to the motion for not more than 5 minutes each.

Carol Brown

by leave—The government will not be supporting this motion. The minister responded to the order made on 27 February by letter on 29 February. The minister has maintained his claim of public interest immunity in relation to certain documents sought. That claim is consistent with longstanding practices under previous governments. The minister has previously said that this issue would be considered by the Australian Universities Accord. It has been addressed in the accord final report, which has now been released. A response to that report is under consideration by the government.

Andrew McLachlan

The question before the Senate is that the motion moved by Senator O'Sullivan standing in the name of Senator Henderson regarding compliance with orders for the production of documents be agreed to.

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ABSTAINED – Committees — Opportunities and Risks Arising from Artificial Intelligence Committee; Appointment

James McGrath

I move:

(1) That a joint select committee, to be known as the Joint Select Committee on the Opportunities and Risks Arising from Artificial Intelligence (AI), be established to inquire into and report on:

(a) the opportunities and risks that AI presents for Australia, including in relation to:

(i) the economy, including jobs, skills, productivity and financial markets,

(ii) national security, defence and cybersecurity,

(iii) democratic institutions, including misinformation and disinformation,

(iv) privacy,

(v) copyright,

(vi) health, and

(vii) wellbeing;

(b) the context for AI in Australia, including:

(i) the growth and trajectory of AI domestically and internationally, and

(ii) comparative international advantages, performance and regulatory and policy settings, and their impact on the uptake and growth of AI in Australia and Australia's AI capabilities;

(c) the education, skills and workforce required to harness the opportunities and address the risks of AI;

(d) potential reforms to harness the opportunities and address the risks of AI;

(e) alternative technological innovations to AI; and

(f) any related matters.

(2) That the committee present its final report by 29 November 2024.

(3) That the committee consist of 8 members, as follows:

(a) three senators or members of the House of Representatives nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate or the Government Whip in the House of Representatives, at least 1 of whom shall be a senator;

(b) three senators or members of the House of Representatives nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or the Opposition Whip in the House of Representatives, at least 1 of whom shall be a senator;

(c) one senator nominated by minority party or independent senators; and

(d) one member of the House of Representatives nominated by any minority party or independent member.

(4) That:

(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, the Government Whip in the House of Representatives, the Opposition Whip in the House of Representatives or any minority party or independent senator or member of the House of Representatives;

(b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee; and

(c) a participating member shall be taken to be a member of a committee for the purpose of forming a quorum of the committee if a majority of members of the committee is not present.

(5) That every nomination of a member of the committee be notified in writing to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(6) That the members of the committee hold office as a joint select committee until presentation of the committee's report.

(7) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that all members have not been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(8) That the committee elect as chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and, as deputy chair, a member nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate or the Government Whip in the House of Representatives.

(9) That the deputy chair shall act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.

(10) That the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, may appoint another member of the committee to act as chair during the temporary absence of both the chair and deputy chair at a meeting of the committee.

(11) That, in the event of an equally divided vote, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.

(12) That 3 members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee, provided that in a deliberative meeting the quorum shall include 1 Government member of either House and 1 non-government member of either House.

(13) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 3 or more of its members, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.

(14) That the committee appoint the chair of each subcommittee who shall have a deliberative vote but no casting vote, and at any time when the chair of a subcommittee is not present at a meeting of the subcommittee, the members of the subcommittee present shall elect another member of that subcommittee to act as chair at that meeting.

(15) That 2 members of a subcommittee constitute a quorum if that subcommittee, provided that in a deliberative meeting the quorum shall include 1 Government member of either House and 1 non-government member of either House.

(16) That members of the committee who are not members of a subcommittee may participate in the proceedings of that subcommittee but shall not vote, move any motion or be counted for the purpose of a quorum.

(17) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, to adjourn from time to time, to sit during any adjournment of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.

(18) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(19) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.

(20) That a message be sent to the House of Representatives seeking its concurrence in this resolution.

Carol Brown

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Andrew McLachlan

Leave is granted.

Carol Brown

The government does not support this motion. This is a complex policy area with work currently underway across government. The proposed inquiry is broad in scope, canvassing a range of topics related to AI across several portfolios and areas of parliamentary work undertaken over the full year. We believe there are more targeted vehicles for the Senate to consider this important policy area and look forward to discussing it further.

Andrew McLachlan

The question before the Senate is that the motion moved by Senator McGrath for the establishment of a select committee on the opportunities and risks arising from artificial intelligence be agreed to.

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ABSTAINED – Motions — Middle East

David Fawcett

The question now is that the motion moved by Senator Steele-John be agreed to.

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ABSTAINED – Motions — Middle East

Jordon Steele-John

I seek leave to move a motion to give precedence to general business notice of motion No. 451 relating to Gaza. The motion has been circulated.

Leave not granted.

How surprising! Pursuant to contingent notice of motion standing the name of Senator Waters, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent me from moving a motion related to the conduct of business of the Senate—namely, a notice of motion to give precedence to general business notice of motion No. 451 relating to Gaza.

As we sit here, as this Senate convenes, at least 31,490 Gazans are dead as a direct result of the State of Israel's invasion of Gaza. Of that figure, over 12,300 are children. This is an invasion which has proceeded with the support of the Australian government. Because of the shocking decision-making of the leadership of the government and the so-called leadership of the opposition in this place, this invasion has the formal support of this parliament by the passage of a resolution stating that the parliament 'stands with Israel'.

The Australian Greens do not stand with the policies of the State of Israel. We do not stand with the bombings of the civilian people of Gaza, perpetrated by the State of Israel. We do not stand with the war crimes committed by the State of Israel. We do not stand with the crimes against humanity committed by the State of Israel. The children of Gaza are being starved to death by the policies of the State of Israel. The children of Gaza are losing their fathers, their mothers, their brothers, their sisters, their grandparents, their entire families, their homes and their communities because of the invasion by the State of Israel of Gaza. These crimes, these cruel acts, cannot continue to be perpetrated with the support of the Australian parliament. These crimes, these cruel acts, must be condemned. The government must now take the opportunity—as the opposition must—to join with the Greens and to join with the vast majority of the Australian community who say: 'Not in our name. Not now; not ever.'

This parliament has heard clearly since 7 October the condemnation of every single party in this place in relation to the crimes committed by Hamas. This Senate records clearly the call of the Greens and of many other parties for the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages held by Hamas and of the political prisoners held by the State of Israel. So let us have no more of this atrocious gaslighting whereby the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, or whoever has the unfortunate responsibility to rise for the government today trot out these well-worn lines that this motion cannot be supported because it doesn't condemn Hamas or that this motion cannot be supported because it does not call for the release of hostages. Don't do the disservice to the community that those lines imply. Treat members of the community with respect and accord them the intelligence they actually have. Engage with the question before you; don't deflect.

The people of Gaza and the children of Gaza are being starved and are now at risk of dying in their hundreds of thousands from famine and disease, as the direct result of the invasion that this parliament currently supports. Every single one of those people calls on you to do better in this moment, to engage with the actual question, with the facts and with the reality, and to clean and clear this parliament from the current contemptible position of supporting this illegal and immoral invasion.

Simon Birmingham

The coalition does not support this week's repetitive weekly attempt by the Australian Greens in terms of bringing on a motion of this nature. We do not support it. Wars are tragic, wars are horrible and wars result in tragedy and the tragic loss of human lives. We mourn all of those lives. We mourn the lives of innocent civilians, be they Israelis, Palestinians or, as I have said before in response to the Greens' motions, those of innocent civilians in conflicts that continue right across the world that don't receive the same degree of attention and, indeed, don't receive the same degree of grandstanding from the Australian Greens.

Wars are fought for a variety of reasons, but often wars are fought between right and wrong, between interests that align with your values, and between interests that are evil and undermine those values. Let me be very clear: we should continue to stand with Israel against Hamas because we are supporting what is right in terms of the defence of values and democratic institutions that matter versus, in Hamas, a terrorist organisation that deliberately, on 7 October, targeted women, children and young people at music festivals, and deliberately murdered, raped, slaughtered and kidnapped those individuals, sparking this conflict and that continues to hold hostages. Apparently, according to Senator Steele-John, I am deflecting by mentioning Hamas or mentioning the hostages. Call it a deflection if you want. I think it is core to the conflict that is being waged.

We believe that Hamas is an evil terrorist organisation, their continued holding of hostages is an evil act and the way in which they have held those hostages using the Palestinian people as a human shield is a further evil that is perpetuating the cycle of violence and destruction so tragically. We should continue to stand with Israel against the defeat of Hamas just as we should continue to stand with Ukraine against the defeat of Russia, just as we should give support and encouragement to those oppressed Burmese against the Tatmadaw and the military junta in Myanmar and just as we should make sure that as a country we stand for right versus wrong. That does not mean that in all of these cases we unconditionally support every action, every behaviour and every decision that occurs in faraway places over which we have no influence or no direct say. We should be clear, as this Senate and parliament were when the joint motion was passed by the government and the opposition, that we have expectations in relation to respect for international law and to humanitarian support being made available, and we should absolutely make those expectations clear continuously.

The coalition wants to see more humanitarian assistance reach, and we would like to see a ceasefire but not the unconditional ceasefire the Greens call for, which would just give Hamas opportunities to reorganise, regroup and regain power while presumably continuing to hold the hostages that they have held ever since 7 October. We would wish to see a ceasefire where Hamas releases the hostages, surrenders, hands over its terrorist operatives and terrorist infrastructure and which puts the region on a path to greater stability and greater peace. That is an outcome that could be secured and would achieve steps forward, whereas the Greens' pathway is one that would just perpetuate the circumstance further. That is why we are very clear in continuing to support the words this parliament had in October last year, and we will continue to stand by those words.

Lidia Thorpe

It's been 163 days of a black and bloody dystopian nightmare in Gaza. It's been 163 days of genocidal horrors and barbaric destruction brought upon innocent children, women, queers, men, the elderly, animals and trees—all that has life—and intensifying every minute. We're watching the harrowing impacts, where 70 per cent of the killed and injured are defenceless women and children, with two mothers killed every 60 minutes. These are not just numbers; these are human beings with dreams, hopes and aspirations, cut short by senseless violence.

In Gaza, women face unimaginable challenges in the wake of genocide. They are not merely victims; they are survivors grappling with the loss of loved ones, the destruction of their homes and the shattered remnants of their communities. Mothers, daughters and sisters mourn the loss of family members and are often left to navigate the harsh realities of life without their loved ones by their side. The emotional scars run deep, leaving lasting trauma that reverberates through generations. Yet amidst the darkness, there is resilience. Their voices may be silenced, but their spirit endures, inspiring hope and solidarity in the pursuit of a better tomorrow.

Let us be reminded of the importance of solidarity and advocacy in the fight for the women, girls, children, queers and everyone in Gaza as the State of Israel shows no restraint in its ongoing invasion of Gaza. We must continue to recommit ourselves to the principles of equality, dignity, self-determination and human rights for all. The destruction of 70 to 80 per cent of the built environment in Gaza is not just collateral damage; it is a deliberate assault on the very fabric of Palestinian society. Homes, schools, hospitals and mosques lie in ruins, leaving entire communities shattered and displaced. This is not a war. This is a systematic campaign to erase the Palestinian identity and deny Palestinian people their right to exist.

We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of Palestinian brothers and sisters. We cannot allow the perpetrators of these crimes to go unpunished. The Israeli government must be held accountable for its flagrant disregard for international law and human rights. The world must demand justice for the victims of this genocide, but our outrage cannot end with condemnation. It must fuel our determination to fight for justice, for freedom and for the right of every Palestinian to live in dignity and peace. Let us stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza, amplifying the voices, advocating for their rights and demanding accountability for the crimes committed against them. We have to build a future where peace and justice prevail, where the rights and dignity of all are upheld without exception. Together we will not rest until the people of Gaza and all of Palestine are free from oppression, until justice prevails and until Palestine is finally liberated.

Jenny McAllister

The government will be opposing this suspension. I will start by making this observation: I understand and the government understands that the conflict in the Middle East is deeply distressing for many Australians. That's particularly the case for those with a connection to the region and those with loved ones who are directly impacted.

Australia is a respected voice in the conflict, even if we are not a central player in the Middle East, and we are using that voice. We are using that voice to advocate for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and humanitarian access. We're using that voice to advocate for the release of hostages. And we're using that voice to advocate for the protection of civilians.

It is of deep regret that the government does not have partners in this effort in either the opposition or the Greens, who are only, in their own ways, looking for opportunities to use this crisis to whip up conflict and whip up anger for votes. If they were sincere about the crisis in the Middle East then they would be engaged in the pathway to peace and in keeping our community unified. Mr Dutton and the Greens—

Opposition Senators

Opposition senators interjecting—

David Fawcett

Order. Minister, resume your seat.

Opposition senators interjecting—

Your contributions were heard in silence. Under standing order 197, I require you show the same respect to the minister, even if you disagree with her views or comments. Minister.

Jenny McAllister

Thank you. I remind the Greens that right now there are more than 130 hostages still being held by the terrorist group Hamas. I remind the opposition that we are faced with reports from the UN that 400,000 Palestinians in Gaza are starving and a million more are at risk of starvation. An estimated 1.7 million people in Gaza are internally displaced and there are increasingly few safe places for Palestinians to go. And I remind the Senate that we are seeing attacks by Iranian aligned militias across the region. Ansar Allah are conducting attacks in the Red Sea that are threatening international maritime trade and regional security, and we are supporting US and UK efforts to disrupt, degrade and deter them.

David Shoebridge

Is that why you are supporting the bombing of Gaza?

David Fawcett

Order. Minister, resume your seat. Senator Shoebridge, I have asked for the Greens to collectively respect the standing orders. I'm now asking you specifically to respect standing order 197. Minister.

Jenny McAllister

We are working with our partners to manage the risk, the real risk, of regional escalation. But, as you can see, we don't have partners for that effort in this place. The opposition and the Greens are not interested in a unified community here at home or in the pathway to peace; they are just looking out for what is in it for them. My view is that Israelis deserve better, Palestinians deserve better and Australians deserve a great deal better than what they are seeing this morning.

Lidia Thorpe

You're sending guns to kill women and children.

Jenny McAllister

I move:

That the question be put.

Lidia Thorpe

Shame on you. You're sending guns to kill women and children.

David Fawcett

Order! Senator Thorpe, you do not have the call. Your interjections are disorderly and against the standing orders.

Lidia Thorpe

I know that.

David Fawcett

Then show respect to the chamber. If we expect the world, including the Middle East, to operate according to rules that benefit people regardless of their views, then show that respect in the chamber.

Lidia Thorpe

You're complicit in genocide here. That's why.

David Fawcett

The question as moved by the minister is that the question be put.

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ABSTAINED – Business — Rearrangement

Sue Lines

The question is that the motion as moved by Senator Birmingham be agreed to.

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ABSTAINED – Business — Rearrangement

Anne Urquhart

I move government amendment No. 2 as circulated in the chamber:

That—

(a) the Senate notes that:

(i) during Question Time today, Prime Minister Albanese said 'what the Senate can do with the support of the Liberals and the Greens is to vote for these tax cuts and vote for them today', and

(ii) the Government has not put forward a proposal to enable the Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living Tax Cuts) Bill 2024 and Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living—Medicare Levy) Bill 2024 are passed today; and

(b) today, the hours of meeting be midday till adjournment and the routine of business from 7.30 pm be consideration of the bills;

(c) divisions may take place after 6.30 pm for the purposes of the bills only; and

(d) following consideration of the bills being completed, the Senate return to its routine of business.

Sue Lines

The question is that government amendment No. 2, standing in the name of Senator Urquhart, to amend Senator Birmingham's original motion, be agreed to.

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ABSTAINED – Business — Rearrangement

Simon Birmingham

by leave—I move:

1) the Senate notes that:

a) during Question Time today, Prime Minister Albanese said "what the Senate can do with the support of the Liberals and the Greens is to vote for these tax cuts and vote for them today"; and

b) the Government has not put forward a proposal to ensure the Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living Tax Cuts) Bill 2024 and Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living—Medicare Levy) Bill 2024 are passed today; and

2) on Tuesday, 27 February 2024, the hours of meeting be 12 pm till adjournment and the routine of business from 7.30 pm be consideration of the bills;

3) divisions may take place after 6.30 pm for the purposes of the bills only; and

4) following consideration of the bills being completed, the Senate return to its routine of business.

Katy Gallagher

I am happy at any time of the day to debate tax cuts and Labor's tax plan, which will deliver greater tax cuts to millions of Australians, significantly more than under the previous plan. I would note that the opposition have been shamed into this today because of the way that they've been conducting this debate. I have been seeking a commitment from the opposition to deal with this bill this week since Sunday—it actually may have been before Sunday—and I haven't been given that commitment. I've been given, 'We want to deal with it, we won't delay it and we won't have many speakers.' Shock, horror, we've had lots of speakers. All of the commitments that we've had from the opposition haven't been delivered upon. I've sought to engage with the Manager of Opposition Business, and I again sought commitments from them this morning about how to deal with this bill this week, allowing all of their colleagues and others to speak and then the committee stage to deal with the bill. I still haven't got a response. Then there's this motion today because the Prime Minister has, quite rightly, called them out on seeking to delay this bill.

That's what's been happening. I was told you would have few speakers. You've had about 15. That is not a few speakers.

Simon Birmingham

No, we haven't.

Katy Gallagher

Over yesterday and today, there have been a number of speakers. You have not had a few speakers.

Simon Birmingham

You and the Greens have had more than us.

Bridget McKenzie

They're holding it up.

Katy Gallagher

I accept that a number of Greens have spoken on the bill, and we have had a few speakers. Anyway, the commitment that was given has not been delivered upon, and now you've been shamed into it because you're worried that you're going to be seen to be standing in the way of the tax cuts, because we're running out of time.

Simon Birmingham

For what?

Katy Gallagher

We're running out of time to pass the bills. We wanted it done this week. The commitment we were given was that you weren't going to stand in the way, and now you appear to be standing in the way—

Simon Birmingham

When is this going to make a difference to people getting their cuts?

Katy Gallagher

Madam President, I'm being constantly interrupted. Senator Birmingham had the opportunity to speak for 15 minutes to his motion. He chose not to speak to it. He now seeks to use my time.

Sue Lines

Minister, please resume your seat. The minister has quite rightly drawn my attention to the interruptions. They are disorderly and disrespectful. Minister, please continue.

Katy Gallagher

This motion's been circulated today after the Prime Minister has, quite rightly, called out the tactics of the Liberal Party, who, whilst wanting to support the tax cuts—Labor's tax cuts—want to delay them at the same time. Now this motion's come here to upend the program and the business that it has been agreed to consider this afternoon. We will support the motion, but we are considering amendments to it. I wasn't given the courtesy of having a look at this motion with enough time to consider our position, so we will be wanting to move a couple of amendments. We don't see any reason why we can't go straight to this tax bill. If it's so urgent, why can't we start it now and put the question at seven o'clock this evening? People are working—

Jane Hume

Family-friendly hours.

Katy Gallagher

That's right, Senator Hume—family friendly. Your motion is open-ended. I am actually seeking to move a family-friendly amendment. Under our amendment to Senator Birmingham's motion, we would go straight to this bill now, a priority bill that you have now indicated your support for dealing with, and then we would finish consideration of the bill at seven o'clock this evening, allowing those family-friendly conditions that you've been speaking of.

Simon Birmingham

We're happy to assist.

Katy Gallagher

Well, there is no reason, if we go to these bills now—and I foreshadow that amendment, and I will seek to have that circulated; I'm not sure of the procedure of that, in terms of having it written so people can consider it. The amendment the government will be moving to this motion will be to ensure that we go to these bills straight after the conclusion of this debate; that final questions be put at seven o'clock; that divisions may take place after 6.30 for the purposes of those bills only; and that, presumably, once those divisions are finished, the Senate can adjourn. I think that's a reasonable position, having been given a lack of courtesy in having this motion dumped on us in about two minutes.

I have engaged with your Manager of Opposition Business a couple of times on these bills, to get an indication of how you wanted to handle these bills. I have been unable to get confirmation on that. I followed up this morning—I think it was this morning—on how the opposition would like to deal with these bills, seeking a commitment that we were dealing with it today, drawing to the Senate's attention the fact that we have Closing the Gap statements tomorrow and that on Thursday we have a joint sitting of the parliament. I wanted to make sure we had time to deal with these bills this week.

If the view of the opposition is that we need to deal with these bills today, let's get on with it, let's get cracking with it and let's allow what would be a good three hours and 15 minutes to deal with three second reading amendments and two substantive amendments in committee. That should be more than enough time to deal with these bills today, and we will get the job done. This is the position of the government and we look forward to the support from those opposite, if they are prepared to deal with it. This would be the chamber working together to get it done with the fastest arrangements possible.

I don't seek to delay the chamber but I foreshadowed an amendment; we'll have that circulated as soon as we can. I'm happy to let other speakers put their position. But, if we are going to upend the program to deal with these bills, let's get on and deal with it now. There is no reason to sit late tonight. We can deal with it in plenty of time. We are very happy to deal with the committee stage and deal with it quickly. Before 1.30 we finished the second reading debate—the debate was summed up by the acting minister—and we can move straight to the committee stage. Unless those opposite are seeking to filibuster through the committee stage and delay the passage of these bills, I can't see any reason—they don't even have amendments; the amendments are from the crossbench. We can deal with those very quickly, and have these bills passed and sent back to the House of Representatives as soon as possible.

Jane Hume

The extraordinary irony of this is that the Labor government are so desperate to ram their tax cuts, Labor's tax cuts, through the Senate because they say it's urgent, because they say they're running out of time. Yet the tax cuts don't actually kick in until 1 July. Why are they running out of time? I'll give you one guess, and it starts with the letter 'd'; it's the Dunkley by-election on Saturday. That's the reason why Labor is so keen to ram these changes through.

They have accused the opposition of standing in the way. How ironic! This is legislation based on a mistruth that they told by telling the Australian public, over 100 times after the election and numerous times before, and even 10 times since they changed their mind, that they were going to stick with the stage 3 tax cuts. But that disappeared with the ultimate mistruth told by both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer. They commissioned Treasury to look at stage 3 tax cuts on 10 December last year.

And then, after that time, they told the Australian public that they had no plans to change that, that they were not reconsidering changes. Now it's urgent, even though the cuts don't actually kick in until 1 July. There is no urgency to this.

The opposition's position has been clear: we will not stand in the way of tax cuts for ordinary Australians; we will not stand in the way of tax cuts that will reduce the 19c in the dollar range down to 16c. We won't stand in the way of that, but that doesn't mean we condone the mistruth—that was told more than 100 times by the Prime Minister, more than 100 times by the Treasurer—that got us to where we are today. We are not standing in the way of that tax cut. Quite the opposite. In fact, when the statistics bear out how this legislation has played out in this chamber, you will see that the opposition only had nine speakers on the list. That is less than one-third of us.

We feel pretty passionately about tax cuts on this side of the chamber. Tax cuts are part of our DNA, not part of yours. You don't join the Labor Party to cut taxes. You do join the Labor Party, however, to reverse decisions of the coalition that were genuine reforms. They were real reforms that attacked pernicious bracket creep that robs your future prosperity. That's why stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3 of those tax cuts were put in place by a coalition government. This mob over here had every intention of reversing those tax cuts from day one, and now they're trying to spin it to you that Labor are the party of tax cuts. 'They're here for ordinary Australians.' That is absolute nonsense. Not only is it nonsense, but they're trying to sell it to you with $40 million for an advertising campaign on the same day that they announced $14 million for Foodbank! If they were genuine about cost-of-living relief, why would you give $14 million to Foodbank but $40 million to an advertising agency to sell their mistruth?

Nine speakers from the coalition—nine only—and yet this shameless Prime Minister has had the audacity to say it is the coalition holding up tax breaks—hardly! In fact, there have been eight speakers from the Greens, there have been four from the crossbench and there have been four from the government, desperately trying to convince themselves that tax cuts are all part of being a member of the Labor Party. What nonsense. They squirm in their seats every time they talk about it.

They would love to have given handouts like lollies, but they know it would have been inflationary. They have been sitting there looking at the coalition tax cuts that were genuine reform. They've been doing it for months. They've been doing it since before the election when they looked you in the eye and said, 'We won't change that.' They've been looking at it since the election, and more than 100 times they looked you in the eye and said: 'We have no plans to change that. Our plans haven't changed.' Then they looked you in the eye more than 10 times after they'd commissioned the work to do it and said, 'We're not reconsidering our position.' This is a shameless government that is now delivering Labor tax cuts on the basis of a mistruth. There is no doubt about that. And now they're perpetuating that mistruth by saying that the coalition are trying to hold it up. What nonsense.

Nine coalition speakers, eight from the Greens, four from the crossbench and four from Labor themselves. When they tell you that we're trying to hold up a tax cut, don't believe it for a second. Check the facts because, quite frankly, this Prime Minister's integrity is nowhere to be seen. He has sold it to you—

Sue Lines

Senator Hume, withdraw.

Long debate text truncated.

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ABSTAINED – Motions — Middle East

Andrew McLachlan

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