Pursuant to contingent notice of motion, I move:
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Hanson moving a motion to provide for the consideration of a matter, namely a motion relating to a review of the qualifications of senators.
The motion that I wish to move on the floor of parliament is:
(1) the Senate notes that the continued uncertainty regarding the qualifications of a number of parliamentarians under section 44(i) of the Constitution is undermining public confidence in the parliament; and
(2) in the interests of restoring the public’s confidence, the Senate is of the opinion that senators should work with the government to establish an independent review of the qualifications under section 44(i) of all senators by the end of the sitting week.
I can say—having spoken to the public as I move about the country, and also from calls that I get to my office—that the public have lost confidence in this parliament and the politicians. They’ve lost confidence in politicians around this country. We need to actually show that we are here doing the right thing by the people. If we are going to not address this issue, I have seen both sides of this parliament close ranks when it comes to proving the eligibility of holding their places in this parliament. If we pass laws in this parliament expecting the people to follow those laws and the rule of law then we must show by example in this chamber and the other place that people are eligible under section 44 of the Australian Constitution.
It has been basically a weekly process here that someone else is questioned over their eligibility. This needs to be put to rest. It is not up to the average person to come up with the documentation; it is up to the chamber, and up to each and every senator here, to prove that they have the right to be here and that they pass section 44(i) of the Australian Constitution.
Senator Brandis has said it is up to the person that is making the allegations to prove them. Well, I ask the chamber: how does anyone get that information? Where are they supposed to get it? They don’t. They can’t. And therefore, in all honesty, it is up to the chamber now, it is up to the government and it’s up to the opposition leader to make a review of all senators in this chamber to prove their eligibility. Then, in further elections, anyone newly elected to this chamber must prove their paperwork that they have.
Questions have come up in this chamber or outside about the eligibility of Bill Shorten, the opposition leader in the other place. He’s been questioned. His name has been raised. Also, Senator Wong’s name has been raised. Also Senator Dastyari’s name has been raised. So there are a few senators here whose names have been raised. Also, there are quite a number from the Labor Party in the lower house. These names have been raised. Why are you closing ranks? Is it because you’re frightened of going back to a by-election in which you may lose your seats? Give the public back the confidence and show them that you are prepared to abide by the laws and rules of this country. We have a Constitution. This is the highest law of the land. We are governed by the Constitution, yet you are not prepared to abide by the Constitution and prove to the people of this country your worth and that you will stand by the rules and the laws that we should be abiding by. I think it’s disgusting the way you’ve closed ranks. You did it in 1999 and you’re doing it again now. The people have lost confidence in you. They have no faith or trust in the politicians of this country, and no wonder. It’s about time you actually got some backbone, showed some leadership and showed the people that you are willing to stand up and be counted.
Chamber Senate on 4/09/2017 Item PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATION – Qualifications of Senators Speaker :Hanson, Sen Pauline / Parliment Transcript used for Truth in News Reporting.