Thursday 21 March 2019

Hansard of the Legislative Council


Justice and Related Legislation (Marriage Amendments) Bill 2018 (No. 47)
Referral to Government Administration Committee B


Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, reflecting on the process we have been through up to this point, it has been interesting this issue came to most of us in November.  We are now in the middle of March, but it was signalled in early 2016 that this was going to be an issue the community and lawmakers in parliament should embrace.  Then all of a sudden we have a situation where we do not understand what is going on with this.  If I look at my own experience, in November we had discussions, debates and briefings that opened up a Pandora's box; then we had the rest of November, December, January, February and now we are in the middle of March.  Not a day has gone by in that time when I have not thought about this issue.
I have spoken with Archbishop Porteous, who briefed us.  I have spoken with Launceston Christian School and the Australian Christian Lobby.  What research I have needed to do, I have done in that time to understand as best I can the facts of the matter so I could present how this has affected me and how I feel about it.  In my contribution to the second reading debate, I referred to how I feel about the people who are affected and how we go about the business of developing our legislation that will have some satisfaction from what we produce here.
As members all know, we have had the opinions from both sides, and if you have not the information now, you will never have it.

Mr Dean - That will come back to haunt you.

Mr FINCH - Why would it haunt me?  I am making a statement.  What would you do with that information, member for Windermere?  Why would it come back to haunt me?

Mr Dean - When we start looking at other bills, with suggestions being made for further consultation.

Ms Forrest - You cannot reflect on a member's previous votes.

Mr FINCH - Are you going to tell me about the member from my electorate who trawled through all my speeches and found a refence I had made to unintended consequences five years ago?  That is what we are dealing with.  That is true, as I stand here - trawled through my speeches to find where I had mentioned unintended consequences.  That was the big stick that was bong, bong, bong at me to say, 'You have spoken about unintended consequences, why are you not thinking about them now?'

Mr Dean - Who was that?

Mr FINCH - I will not mention names - the person who knows will be watching and will know who it is.  I can tell you privately, but I do not have permission to reveal the person's name.

Enough of the diversion, member for Windermere, because we did not divert you too far from what you were trying to say when you were trying to put your thoughts together over a very elongated time.  I thought you were going to keep going until seven o'clock.  This will give us some indication of what we are going to put up.  I realise, Mr President, that I am digressing.  This is an indication of what we are going to put up with when we get into the Committee stage of this legislation.  'Filibuster' is the key word we are going to have - filibuster to elongate this out.  Good, okay, I do not mind because what we have to do is get this on the Floor of parliament and get the debate going.  We need to have the amendments up before us so I can hear the arguments you people are going to put forward, whether they make sense or do not, so I can vote accordingly.

Bring the amendments on.  I know people have worked hard on them, so I am looking forward to what people have promulgated to convince us we should come to their way of thinking.  That is the process we should be heading to now; that is our job and what we do.  We do it here on the Floor of parliament and take the evidence.  Now, if we have concerns about our amendments, we can call in Chris Gunson to give us another briefing or the Solicitor-General to give us further information rather than sending it out to a committee.  We all know where a committee is going to go and it will take a long time.  I do not think I have been on a committee yet that has done a deliberation under 12 months.

Where does that leave our people who are urging us to move forward with this debate because they are suffering?  It is a plea from them to do it.  I am prepared to push forward and I am not thinking of the end result - I am thinking we have to do our job and make sure we are doing it as efficiently and effectively as we possibly can.  This means we start the debate now, not stalling and putting this off.  We have to take action and, as I have mentioned to the Leader, we need to when we come back because we are not going to make much progress with our second reading speeches at the moment.  When we come back, we need to make a start as soon as we can and work as diligently as we can to make sure we cover all the nuances, the misinformation and the truths, and get all of that right here on the Floor of parliament.

We do not need to go to a committee to achieve what we need to achieve to get a result with the facts of the matter.

Mr Dean - Do you know what the unintended consequences are then?

Mr FINCH - That is quite a ridiculous sort of thing to say.  When we get into the Committee stage we will explore and investigate the amendments that come forward to try to achieve a result, and we will explore the unintended consequences that may occur.  What the hell do you think the Committee process is all about in this House?  It is about trying to cover the unintended consequences.  Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose.  You have been here when we have had unintended consequences occur.

Mr Dean - Are we going to have the Solicitor-General here during the Committee stage?  Are we going to have Chris Gunson here?

Mr FINCH - We can make the request to the Leader if we get bogged down in the Committee stage.  I do not know, when we have had contentious -

Mr Dean - Come on, be fair.

Mr FINCH - Do not start to get ridiculous by interrupting just for the sake of it.  When we have a circumstance where debates need to occur, we seek the Leader's help so we can clarify what our amendments mean.  We have a briefing and we do that; that is where we start to do our work as legislators.

To save the member for Windermere continually interrupting me, I will say now that I am not supporting his motion.