The Government have given notice in the Senate today of their intention to gag debate on 53 Bills next week including the Local Government Referendum Bill.
Of the 53 Bills listed to be guillotined, there are 49 bills that will each be debated for less than one hour and of these Bills there are 30 that will be examined for less than half an hour, and 17 for less than fifteen minutes.
The Government’s most brazen and unprecedented decision is to allow potentially only thirty minutes debate on the Constitution Alteration (Local Government) Bill 2013.
The Government motion proposes that if the Referendum Bill has not been reached by 7.30pm next Monday it will be concluded in half an hour and debate gagged at 8pm.
If there is any legislation where debate should not be constrained it is on a Bill that proposes change to the Constitution.
Not only is the Government refusing to equally fund the “Yes” and the “No” cases to provide for full and fair debate for the Referendum, but now they want to prevent the Senate properly examining the proposition.
The use of the guillotine on 53 Bills is unprecedented.
The Coalition has been extremely cooperative in the management of business in the Senate. Today the Opposition helped facilitate the passage of 23 bills in one hour and thirty minutes through cooperation and good will.
The Government’s management of the legislative program is a shambles.
The Senate is the house of review and needs to be given the opportunity to do its job.
Media contact: Sarah Bridger
02 6277 3666 / 0435 183137