I’ve got a suggestion, if Labor wants to keep disobeying direct orders of the Senate we can show them why there are jail cells underneath Parliament House.
I like Senator Farrell. He’s a good bloke. We don’t always agree. I accept that he’s overseas right now. Yet his repeated non-responses are not acceptable. His behaviour is not acceptable, because answering questions is important for accountability. The people that we serve deserve honesty and accountability. There’s only one word to describe this government’s attitude to Senate estimates, to questions on notice and to orders for the production of documents. That word is ‘contempt’. They continue to treat this chamber with contempt. Almost every order by this Senate to produce information is met with contempt from this government, and it is appropriate that we begin to treat appropriately the ministers who treat this Senate with contempt.
We have had explanation after explanation after explanation from ministers. Ministers are all too happy to come into this place and cop a lashing for an hour and continue to refuse to produce the information that this Senate has ordered. The explanations are not good enough. They are intentionally inadequate. It is not good enough that this Senate continues to accept them without any further action. It’s time for this Senate to use its constitutionally enshrined powers to hold ministers to account, and that must be through charges of contempt when they continue to disrespect this Senate’s orders.
I remind senators that it is this Senate, not the government-dominated privileges committee, that makes the final determination on matters of contempt. If this Senate is not happy with a minister’s disobedience of a direct order, then the Senate itself can vote on contempt, which we would do and which should happen. The time for meaningless, hollow blather, in explanation after explanation, is over. Start serving the people or face contempt motions. There are jail cells in the basement. It’s time for the executive government to be reminded why they’re there. That’s not a joke. That is fact. It’s time for the government to be reminded why there are jail cells in the basement.
Source – https://www.malcolmrobertsqld.com.au/there-are-jail-cells-underneath-parliament-house-lets-use-them/