Andrew Bartlett notes that the Government has used its Senate majority to stifle thorough examination and debate of the legislation it’s proposing over indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and over water management in the Murray-Darling Basin: both bills were introduced only this week, and they will be in Committee for only one day – today.
Many witnesses/experts/stakeholders were only informed yesterday that they would be required to give testimony today. But two witnesses who weren’t asked to appear were the authors of the Little Children Are Sacred report which the government used to justify its indigenous intervention under the emergency powers.
Rex Wild QC and Pat Anderson are going to the Senate and making themselves available for questioning despite not being invited – there is a lunch break in the Committee proceedings and Anderson and Wild will present themselves to interested Senators at that time. As Andrew says,
Given they were obviously available to give evidence, it is amazing that they weren’t invited to evidence to the formal Committee proceedings.
Bernice Balconey notes that the more we learn about the legislation for the indigenous emergency intervention plan, the more it smells of unredeemed racism, seeking to roll back every minor gain made by our indigenous people in the last half-century.
This sort of railroading of legislation, cynically bypassing full and proper review by the Upper House, is exactly why we need a Senate which balances the Lower House by not having a government party majority.