Senator MOORE (Queensland) (11:56): I move an amendment:
At the end of the motion, add 'and, in respect of the provisions of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 [No. 2], and the Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013 [No. 2], the Education and Employment Legislation Committee report by 15 March 2016'.
The reason we have asked for this date is to allow fulsome debate in our process. We all know the sensitivities of this legislation; we all know the issues around the legislation and the importance of having engagement on the evidence in front of us. Since we these bills were originally put to the Senate, we have had the TURC report and there is a great need to examine the evidence that came through in that inquiry. We all know there are elements of that which have not been opened to the wider public, so if we are moving to such significant legislation-and these bills are significant legislation-then there should be absolute scrutiny from the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee of the evidence in front of us before we actually come to taking a vote on such important elements.
As I have said in these discussions many times, that is the role of the Senate. The role of the Senate is to scrutinise legislation. That role does not belong to anybody else. It does not belong exclusively to the royal commission, it does not belong to the media; it belongs to the Senate, and the process for Senate scrutiny is the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee. We have an extraordinarily busy couple of weeks in front of us. If you check the calendar, we have Senate estimates, we have two intensive periods of sitting. Arranging for effective scrutiny will take time, and we submit that a report by 15 March gives time to have that scrutiny and also bring back that report for effective debate in the Senate.