Page 419 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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The Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (No 3) enacts appropriate and necessary changes to legislation in the justice and community safety portfolio. The amendments are designed to improve the efficient administration of existing laws. During consultation following the tabling of the bill, advice was received that an alternative interpretation of one clause was possible.

This amendment clarifies that government contracts can include privacy protections “other than” rather than “in addition to” the territory privacy principles. That was the express purpose of the amendment and one I stated in introducing the bill. It is also made clear in the explanatory statement.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.42): We will be supporting this amendment because it does what we have all agreed, I think, here today, and that is that we want to see JACS bills or SLABs or PBELABs deal with minor and technical amendments—in this case the addition of the word “or” to provide clarity about the intent of the bill. It is not changing the intent of the bill.

In doing so, I think it is useful for me to make some comment then on the speeches in the debate that has occurred. It was an attempt by the Labor Party and the Greens to take the debate about this bill, which specifically is about technical, minor amendments, into a broader national debate, and that really is not the purpose of the bill. That is not what we should be debating here. But it is what happened, and it was ruled in order by the Speaker. Obviously the debate is about the context of the amendment that was put forward that recognises interstate and overseas relationships that will be recognised herein as a civil union. That is a good amendment, it was supported by us and I would agree that it does not make a significant change.

So it was, I think, strange that the Labor Party and the Greens would then put this in the context of, and start talking about, same-sex marriage as part of a national debate. In doing so they made a number of statements which I think were not correct, which were not worthy of debate. So I will just spend a couple of minutes clarifying those.

I make the point firstly that despite all the concern being raised about same-sex marriage observance and the need for it—whether you support same-sex marriage or not; I personally do—it is worth noting that last Saturday would have been the day that this country would have had a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. I am confident that it would have got up. Others would disagree with me perhaps. I would have liked it to get up. Others would disagree with me. It does not matter.

The point is that the people who stood in the way of that pretty significant policy position from the federal coalition, a $160 million commitment for a national plebiscite, were the Labor Party and the Greens. So I think that coming in here and having a debate about the nasty Liberals not moving this debate forward when it was the Labor Party and the Greens that stopped that debate cold, the national plebiscite, is hypocritical. Whether you agree with the outcome of that plebiscite, what your position is on that, to be the people that stopped that debate and stopped that plebiscite and then complain that it has not moved forward is hypocritical. I believe it is a missed opportunity. I am sure there are people more on the conservative side of

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