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Clear the decks: Greens outrage as Coalition and Labor combine in Senate majority to pass 33 Bills in three days

Posted by gmarkets on 4 October, 2007

The role of the Senate as house of review was lost under last week’s rush, said Senator Bob Brown (Tasmania—Leader of the Australian Greens). He told the Commonwealth Senate on 18 September 2007 it was unacceptable that the Coalition Senate majority of 2, with Labor support, had forced the Federal Senate to pass 33 Bills in three days. This process had removed the intended public review of Bills, he said. Brown said the government was “clearing the decks for the election but being rude and noncommunicative in the process”.

Vote this government out, says Brown: “If ever you needed a further example of why the government deserves to lose its majority and its ability to treat this Senate with contempt, here it is again. … I expect the government will be on this side of the chamber and in smaller numbers, and we will get back to;

• discussing properly the programming of Senate sittings so that the public gets the best out of them; and,

• at the same time, senators are able to plan the way in which we are able to deal with legislation.

Role of the Senate: Brown said: “The role of the Senate as house of review is to be able to go to the electorate and talk about legislation and to come back better informed, with amendments and with a government that is able to take them into account. None of that is happening here. This is just a directive from the Prime Minister’s office which says, ‘Clear the slate on Thursday night or Friday and get us out of here so that we can get ready for an election’.

Reference: Bob Brown, Senator for Tasmania, Leader of the Australian Greens, Commonwealth Senate, 18 September 2007

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