I rise to speak to the message delivered to the Senate by the Governor-General. It is extraordinary that we are meeting here today. It is an extraordinary measure to recall the parliament in the way that this government has done.
I rise today to speak against the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 [No. 2]. This government tells us that the establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission is critical because there is widespread corruption within the union movement, we have a productivity problem within the construction sector and, to use the government's words, we need a 'tough cop on the beat' to deal with those issues.
I was able to hear the first part of Senator Leyonhjelm's speech, which was more of a pitch for tobacco donations to help fund his re-election campaign than it was based on evidence or fact. Senator Leyonhjelm is, clearly, somebody who benefits substantially from those huge donations from the tobacco industry.
Government of the people, by the people and for the people. For centuries people across the world have been prepared to lay down their lives for this democratic ideal. They do it because democracy provides citizens with freedom, with prosperity and with opportunities to flourish. They do it because democracy allows people to speak freely and to shape their own destiny.
I am pleased to resume my contribution to the debate on the Greens' Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Donations Reform) Bill 2014.
If passed, this bill would stop certain industries, often linked with having a corrupting influence on the political process, from donating to political parties. The Greens' donations reform bill bans political donations from developers and the tobacco, alcohol, gambling and mining industries.
That the following bills be introduced: A Bill for an Act to amend certain territory legislation to restore legislative powers concerning euthanasia and to repeal the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, and for related purposes.
Question agreed to.
I present the bill and move:
That this bill may proceed without formalities and be now read a first time.
First, let me make an apology. I want to apologise to all the people who are listening on broadcast right now who have had to endure 20 minutes of vitriol, of nonsense from the Labor Party. The Labor Party are intent on frustrating the business of this parliament. We get that we have a Labor Party who are torn and divided over the issue of electoral reform. We understand that. We understand there is a big tussle going on at the moment within the Labor Party—there are those people who support electoral reform and those people who do not. That is a legitimate position to take.
I think the government's problems on this tax reform debate, indeed the government's problems under its former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, can be sheeted home to the simple proposition that really is its underlying philosophy. That proposition is this: this government, consistent with their philosophy, want to reduce taxes—income taxes, corporate taxes—and the cost of doing that is that we then do not have the revenue to fund essential services, things like health care, education, or to fund vital public infrastructure.