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senate vote 2012-09-10#5

Edited by system

on 2014-10-07 16:18:07

Title

Description

  • The majority voted against a [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?gid=2012-09-10.225.2 Greens amendment] moved by Senator [http://publicwhip-test.openaustraliafoundation.org.au/mp.php?mpn=Larissa_Waters&mpc=Senate&house=senate Larissa Waters].
  • Senator Waters explains that the amendment would "add public health and environmental impacts to the list of issues that the committee has to consider and advise the various ministers on".(Read the rest of Senator Waters contribution and the associated debate [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2012-09-10.225.1 here]. )
  • Background to the bill
  • The bill establishes an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development ('the Committee')(Read more about the Committee [http://www.environment.gov.au/coal-seam-gas-mining/ here]. ) to provide federal, state and territory governments with scientific advice on coal seam gas and large coal mining developments which may have significant impacts on water resources.(See [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4778 here] for explanatory memoranda and proposed amendments.)
  • References
  • The majority voted against a [Greens amendment](http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?gid=2012-09-10.225.2) moved by Senator [Larissa Waters](http://publicwhip-rails.openaustraliafoundation.org.au/mp.php?mpn=Larissa_Waters&mpc=Senate&house=senate).
  • Senator Waters explains that the amendment would "add public health and environmental impacts to the list of issues that the committee has to consider and advise the various ministers on".(Read the rest of Senator Waters contribution and the associated debate [here](http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2012-09-10.225.1). )
  • Background to the bill
  • The bill establishes an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development ('the Committee')(Read more about the Committee [here](http://www.environment.gov.au/coal-seam-gas-mining/). ) to provide federal, state and territory governments with scientific advice on coal seam gas and large coal mining developments which may have significant impacts on water resources.(See [here](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4778) for explanatory memoranda and proposed amendments.)
  • References
senate vote 2012-09-10#5

Edited by system

on 2014-10-07 16:16:07

Title

Description

  • The majority voted against a [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?gid=2012-09-10.225.2 Greens amendment] moved by Senator [http://publicwhip-test.openaustraliafoundation.org.au/mp.php?mpn=Larissa_Waters&mpc=Senate&house=senate Larissa Waters].
  • Senator Waters explains that the amendment would "add public health and environmental impacts to the list of issues that the committee has to consider and advise the various ministers on".[1]
  • Senator Waters explains that the amendment would "add public health and environmental impacts to the list of issues that the committee has to consider and advise the various ministers on".(Read the rest of Senator Waters contribution and the associated debate [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2012-09-10.225.1 here]. )
  • Background to the bill
  • The bill establishes an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development ('the Committee')[2] to provide federal, state and territory governments with scientific advice on coal seam gas and large coal mining developments which may have significant impacts on water resources.[3]
  • The bill establishes an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development ('the Committee')(Read more about the Committee [http://www.environment.gov.au/coal-seam-gas-mining/ here]. ) to provide federal, state and territory governments with scientific advice on coal seam gas and large coal mining developments which may have significant impacts on water resources.(See [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4778 here] for explanatory memoranda and proposed amendments.)
  • References
  • * [1] Read the rest of Senator Waters contribution and the associated debate [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2012-09-10.225.1 here].
  • * [2] Read more about the Committee [http://www.environment.gov.au/coal-seam-gas-mining/ here].
  • * [3] See [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4778 here] for explanatory memoranda and proposed amendments.
senate vote 2012-09-10#5

Edited by mackay

on 2014-01-30 12:02:53

Title

  • Bills — Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012; in Committee
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012 - In Committee - Environmental and health impacts

Description

  • <p class="speaker">Larissa Waters</p>
  • <p>by leave&#8212;I move Greens amendments (4) and (6) on sheet 7233 together:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(4)&#160;&#160;&#160;Schedule 1, item 4, page 5 (line 17), at the end of paragraph 505D(1)(a), add ", and any associated environmental and health impacts".</p>
  • The majority voted against a [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?gid=2012-09-10.225.2 Greens amendment] moved by Senator [http://publicwhip-test.openaustraliafoundation.org.au/mp.php?mpn=Larissa_Waters&mpc=Senate&house=senate Larissa Waters].
  • Senator Waters explains that the amendment would "add public health and environmental impacts to the list of issues that the committee has to consider and advise the various ministers on".[1]
  • Background to the bill
  • The bill establishes an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development ('the Committee')[2] to provide federal, state and territory governments with scientific advice on coal seam gas and large coal mining developments which may have significant impacts on water resources.[3]
  • References
  • * [1] Read the rest of Senator Waters contribution and the associated debate [http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2012-09-10.225.1 here].
  • * [2] Read more about the Committee [http://www.environment.gov.au/coal-seam-gas-mining/ here].
  • * [3] See [http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r4778 here] for explanatory memoranda and proposed amendments.
  • <p class="italic">(6)&#160;&#160;&#160;Schedule 1, item 4, page 5 (line 23), at the end of paragraph 505D(1)(b), add ", and any associated environmental and health impacts".</p>
  • <p>These amendments go to the committee's scope of consideration. The amendments add public health and environmental impacts to the list of issues that the committee has to consider and advise the various ministers on. There seems to have been some movement in that respect by the government and the opposition, which I welcome. Their amendments do not quite go as far as these amendments, but we will come to those amendments later and certainly the Greens will be supporting those. I welcome the reconsideration by both sides of the chamber of the scope of the committee's work. It is important that this committee be charged with looking at as many issues surrounding coal and coal seam gas as possible, although I note that it is unfortunate that that does not remedy the fact that the federal minister is unable to act on the advice of this committee where there are water impacts only as opposed to impacts also on other matters that are protected by our environmental laws already.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Ian Macdonald</p>
  • <p>I just wanted to speak generally on the amendments, but since we are on this I want to recapitulate as to where we are with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012. It was a bill setting up a scientific committee to look at issues relating to coal seam gas and large coalmining developments. The committee was to be an independent and expert committee. There were amendments proposed, which actually set down the types of expert scientists that would form part of that committee. The debate in the second reading ranged widely on issues relating to coal seam gas and I spent some time in my second reading contribution referring to the new Queensland government's GasFields Commission that had been set up under the leadership of Mr John Cotter, a distinguished Queenslander who has spent a lifetime living in Southern Queensland and former chairman of AgForce. I indicated to the Senate in my second reading contribution just what the role and remit of the Queensland GasField Commission was.</p>
  • <p>When we came to the committee stage, I asked Senator Conroy, the minister who is taking this bill through the chamber, being the representative environment minister in this chamber, a couple of fairly succinct and relatively simple questions. One was: what would the scientific committee do that the Queensland GasField Commission would not do? The other question was relative to how the government was going to select the members of this independent expert scientific committee. I asked those questions before question time. Senator Conroy indicated that he would, during the course of this debate, attempt to get me answers for those questions. He indicated, and I accept, because I am a reasonable sort of fellow, that he did not have that information at his fingertips, but here we are five hours later and I am sure that Senator Conroy in the five hours would have had his advisers and public servants working flat out to find that information. I would not have thought it would take terribly long. As an aide memoire to the minister, I look forward to the answers to those questions which you indicated you would provide.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>I am still seeking further information on the process. As I said, it will be far more rigorous than the Christmas card process that the Liberal Party normally engage in.</p>
  • <p>On the question of the overlap, you seem to be very familiar with the Queensland commission's responsibilities.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Ian Macdonald</p>
  • <p>I actually read it on the website.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>I am pleased you did. I am glad you admitted that. You have clearly read the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012, so you are familiar with the work of the committee, so I am struggling to understand how you are not able to make that assessment yourself. You have both pieces in front of you and you would like me to explain to you the differences. I would suggest that you put them next to each other and you would be able to work your way through it. You are clearly familiar with both, Senator Macdonald. So, if you would like someone to give you some assistance, perhaps your staff might want to help you.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Ian Macdonald</p>
  • <p>I thank Senator Cameron for his comments. My reading, Minister Cameron, was such that there did not seem to be any point in setting up this federal scientific committee when the work that the federal scientific committee was going to do was effectively being covered by the Queensland commission. The Queensland commission has reputable scientists, people who are well versed in these issues and live in the area where coal seam gas is a particular issue. Minister, having done as you suggest&#8212;that is, reading your bill and looking at what the Queensland commission does&#8212;I am not sure why you are bothering with this legislation. Sometimes I do miss things, so I am seeking your assistance and that of your advisers to explain to me what this committee will do that the Queensland commission is not already doing.</p>
  • <p>Perhaps by implication I raise the question: is this just another Labor Party 'regulate, legislate, build-up-the-books' exercise? Australia is crippled under red tape, green tape, this body and that body, and more legislation and more regulation. Minister, I believe your government actually has a minister for deregulation&#8212;a minister for getting rid of regulation&#8212;and yet you keep adding. It may will be that there is something in this scientific committee that does things that the Queensland commission would not do. I cannot see it&#8212;I am not always that bright&#8212;so I am seeking your assistance, Minister. You and your advisers should be able to succinctly point out to me what is different. Well, not what is different; I know what is different.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>So you know what is different but you would like us to tell you?</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Ian Macdonald</p>
  • <p>No; I am asking why you are bothering with this committee when one could be excused for thinking that what this committee will achieve is already being achieved by a commission set up by the Queensland government some months ago. I might say that it was set up by the new Queensland government&#8212;the Campbell Newman 'can do' Queensland government&#8212;after years of vacillation by the previous Labor government in Queensland. The Labor government in Queensland, prior to the stunning success of Campbell Newman, talked about this for four or five years, as I recall, and fumbled around. They showed the same sort of management capability that the federal government has shown with pink batts, school hall constructions, the carbon tax&#8212;now in its sixth version&#8212;and the mining tax.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>Are you still talking?</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Ian Macdonald</p>
  • <p>You are clearly not listening, Minister. I am just saying&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>I am not sure how the mining tax has anything to do with this bill, but you keep elucidating.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Ian Macdonald</p>
  • <p>Minister, you clearly do not hear too much. I just want to make it clear to you, Minister, that I personally think that you are a great guy. It is just the duplicity of yourself and your colleagues in the federal government ministry that I really detest. I might as a throwaway line say the same about the Greens. I love them all personally as people but I detest the duplicity and the hypocrisy and sometimes that distracts me.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>And we have the honourable Liberal and National parties sacking 15,000 people&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">David Fawcett</p>
  • <p>Order! Minister, you will have the call in due course.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Ian Macdonald</p>
  • <p>Minister, I hear you talk about sacking people. Perhaps you have not heard yet that BHP have just closed another coalmine in Queensland.</p>
  • <p>The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Senator Macdonald, I remind you to come back to the amendments to the bill in question.</p>
  • <p>Thank you, Mr Temporary Chairman. I was distracted by that unruly interjection from the minister. What I was saying in relation to coal seam gas in Queensland is that the previous Labor government in Queensland showed the same expertise in managing the coal seam gas issue in Queensland prior to the change of government as the federal government have shown in relation to pink batts, green loans, carbon taxes, mining taxes&#8212;you name it. They have just been incapable of delivery. That was my point, and that is how I got onto that line.</p>
  • <p>I can well understand that the minister does not personally know the answer to this, but he has four advisers sitting there who would. Unfortunately they cannot speak; they can only speak through the minister, regrettably. What I want to know is what this committee will achieve that the Queensland commission will not achieve.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>Senator Macdonald can probably ask that question, among his streams of consciousness, four or five more times before the dinner break and the answer will be the same. He has already expressed to the chamber that he knows the differences. I am not sure I am going to be able to add much more to your knowledge than you already claim you have, Senator Macdonald. The will of the other place created this committee, is my understanding, and that is why this legislation is before us. You have already professed your expertise. You have examined this and you know what the differences are. Unlike your earlier claim that the committee stage is about seeking information, you are actually asking questions and, even funnier, answering your own questions as you ask them, which leaves me not in a position to give you any further information than you already admit you know.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Richard Colbeck</p>
  • <p>I would like for a minute to reinforce the question that Senator Macdonald has been asking in relation to the establishment of the committee. I think it is a very reasonable question. It is a bit symptomatic of the way this government work that they put up a piece of legislation and have no concept of how the fundamentals of it might work. I think it is a reasonable question for Senator Macdonald to ask&#8212;a very reasonable question. He did ask Minister Conroy this morning how that process might operate. I acknowledge that Senator Conroy said that he would have to seek some additional advice&#8212;and, as Senator Macdonald has just said, some five hours have passed since he asked that question. I think it is quite reasonable that this chamber have some understanding of the process through which the committee might be established.</p>
  • <p>It is all very well for Senator Conroy to make comments about how other processes may have worked, but that really is not quite relevant to the questions that we are asking. We are asking some genuine questions about how the panel might be appointed. There are a number of mechanisms that are relatively standard. Will there be a selection panel appointed with a recommendation to the minister? Or is the minister just going to make his own appointments based on information from staff in his office? Or will the department recommend to the minister names for appointment? Given the contention that exists around this issue and given the concerns that have been raised both in this chamber and in the other place, it is reasonable that we ask these questions and get a serious response. This piece of legislation has been around for a while. It has been through a Senate inquiry process and I find it difficult to understand why the minister has absolutely no idea what particular process might be undertaken to select the panel. It is perhaps one of the fundamental issues of how this whole process is going to work. If we cannot have confidence in the efficacy of that process, if we do not understand while we are passing the legislation how that process is going to work, what can we have confidence in?</p>
  • <p>Senator Macdonald has mentioned some of the previous and numerous failures of this government around process. He mentioned pink batts and I think that is a pretty prime example. He mentioned school halls and the complete disaster that was the process of allocating funds, particularly through the former New South Wales government. If the minister cannot tell us, at least, what the process might be or give us an indication of how the process might work, are we going to find out prior to the passing of the bill? I do not think it is reasonable that we do not know that information prior to the passing of the bill. It is a simple question. It is a reasonable question. This piece of legislation has been around for some time and I think it is quite reasonable that the chamber actually ask the question and receive an answer.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>I am advised&#8212;and most of this I have already advised&#8212;that the minister is looking widely for suitable expertise and the minister has written to the states under the national partnership agreement seeking possible candidates. As I said, we are consulting the states.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Richard Colbeck</p>
  • <p>Why didn't you tell me that before?</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Stephen Conroy</p>
  • <p>I told you that four hours ago. Check the <i>Hansard</i>.</p>
  • <p>The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: The question is that the amendments be agreed to.</p>