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Thursday, 20 March 2008

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No. 19/2008

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The Senate met from 9.30am until 5.00pm

The Senate has now completed the Autumn (2) sittings and will commence the Budget sittings on 13 May 2008


Bills and related documents available on BillsNet

Bills considered

The following bills were introduced

  • A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Improved Access to Baby Bonus) Amendment Bill 2008 [private senator’s bill]
  • Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Amendment Bill 2008 [passed by the House of Representatives on 19 March 2008]
  • Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Communications Fund) Bill 2008 [passed by the House of Representatives on 19 March 2008]
  • Tradex Scheme Amendment Bill 2008 [passed by the House of Representatives on 19 March 2008]

The following private senator’s bill was defeated by a majority vote

  • Migration Legislation Amendment (Complementary Protection Visas) Bill 2006 [2008]–defeated at the second reading

The following bills were passed

  • Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2007-2008
    Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2007-2008
    –an Australian Democrats second reading amendment was agreed to
  • Tradex Scheme Amendment Bill 2008

[These bills will now be assented to]

Notice of motion

To restore a private senator’s bill to the Notice Paper

  • Plastic Bag Levy (Assessment and Collection) Bill 2002–notice given by the Leader of the Australian Greens ( Senator Bob Brown )

Messages from the House of Representatives


  • Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Bill 2008–agreeing to the amendments made by the Senate [This bill will now be assented to]


  • Infrastructure Australia Bill 2008–the message reported that the House of Representatives disagreed to the amendments made by the Senate. The Senate did not insist on the amendments disagreed to by the House. [The bill will now be assented to]


For scheduled public committee hearings

For committee reports


Additional information arising from estimates hearings was tabled.

Reports tabled

  • Appropriations and Staffing Committee–45th report–Department of the Senate’s budget: Ordinary annual services of the government; Parliamentary computer network
  • Community Affairs Committee–A decent quality of life: Inquiry into the cost of living pressures on older Australians
  • Eight standing committees –Examination of annual reports tabled by 31 October 2007
  • Publications Committee– 1st Report [report adopted]

Documents tabled

  • Regulations and Ordinances Committee–
  • Delegated legislation monitor–Disallowable legislative instruments tabled in the Senate in 2007
  • Ministerial correspondence relating to the scrutiny of delegated legislation for the period February 2007 to March 2008

New inquiries

The Senate referred the following matters to the Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee:

  • Broadcasting Code of Conduct–to report by 9 June 2008
  • Management of Australia ’s waste streams–to report by August 2008
  • Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network) Bill 2008–to report by 7 May 2008

Reporting date extended

The Senate agreed to extend the reporting date of the State Government Financial Management Select Committee to 27 August 2008.

Use of prior records by committee

The Senate agreed to enable the Economics Committee to consider and use records from the previous Parliament relating to its consideration of an earlier version of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Fair Bank and Credit Card Fees) Amendment Bill 2008.


The Senate agreed to various changes to committee membership [see Journals entries 26 and 33 ]


Delegated legislation

See Disallowance Alert for a complete list of notices of motion to disallow (and outcomes)

  • Clerk’s documents were tabled [legislative instruments and other documents required by statute to be tabled]

Notices of motion to disallow given

  • Amendment 2 to the Commonwealth Grant Scheme Guidelines No. 1, made under section 238-10 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003–notice given by Senator Mason
  • Road User Charge Determination 2008 (No. 1), made under the Fuel Tax Act 2006–notice given by the Leader of The Nationals in the Senate ( Senator Scullion )

Orders for the production of documents–Orders with continuing effect

Orders with continuing effect

Indexed lists of departmental and agency files published on the Internet

Statements of compliance for various agencies were tabled [Letters of advice about certain files created by departments and agencies are required to be tabled twice a year]

Documents tabled

Documents discussed

Government documents, committee reports, government responses and Auditor-General’s reports were discussed

Other business

Questions without notice and issues arising during question time–first question

Adjournment debate–first speaker

Motions negatived

  • China –moved by the Leader of the Australian Greens ( Senator Bob Brown )
  • Mercy Ministries –moved by the Leader of the Australian Democrats ( Senator Allison ) [See Journals entries nos 8 and 12]

Question on notice–Failure to provide answer

Senator Allison asked the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research ( Senator Carr ) why an answer had not been provided to question on notice no. 92 asked on 12 February 2008 relating to the Renewable Remote Power Generation Programme. Senator Carr provided an explanation and an answer.

Advance to the Finance Minister

The Advance to the Finance Minister for 2006-2007 was approved.


Debate continued on the Address-in-reply to the Governor-General’s speech.

Notices of motion

Notices of motion given today are available in the Senate Journals.


Statistics on the work of the Senate this week will be available in the Statistical Summary, which forms part of StatsNet–the Department of the Senate’s online statistical collection.

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The Senate Daily Summary is available on the Internet at

It is issued by the Senate Table Office as a convenient summary of each day’s proceedings in the Senate. For a complete account see the official record, the Journals of the Senate, on the Internet at

Related resources

The Order of Business (or ‘Senate Red’) and the Dynamic Red (which updates the Order of Business throughout the sitting day) are also available on the Internet at

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