The Greens say today’s move by the Coalition and Labor to reaffirm their dodgy deal to permanently axe Senate motions represents one more nail in the coffin for democracy and transparency.
The decision makes permanent the temporary arrangement between the Liberals and Labor in June which eliminated motions that ask the Senate to form an opinion, replacing them with two-minute statements.
Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters said:
“Last night we saw Labor join forces with the government to ram through laws designed to silence critical voices from the nonprofit sector.
“And today the big parties have renewed their anti-democracy pact by making permanent their decision in June to prevent Senators from moving and requiring a vote on motions.
“The elimination of motions removes a critical accountability mechanism from the Senate. It allows the big parties to weasel out of telling the public what their position is on issues that might be politically inconvenient.
“Axing motions means shutting down Senators’ rights to represent constituents and to put issues on the agenda that big parties want to stay silent on. It means that the Coalition and Labor will continue to be able to dictate which issues the Senate can vote on.
“Senate motions have been vital in building political pressure to achieve important outcomes, like the banking, disability and veterans Royal Commissions, and the passing of my National Integrity Bill by the Senate in 2019.
“The Liberals and Labor are clearly worried about the influence of smaller parties and independents and are trying to entrench their cosy duopoly.”