I’m writing this from the Senate chamber, where debate is drawing to a close on the package of laws relating to the Northern Territory intervention (although the laws also include some other matters which affect people outside the Territory). It will pause at midnight tonight, and we’ll resume tomorrow morning (Friday) to conclude the debate.
The government has refused to consider any amendments. Noel Pearson, normally seen as a big supporter of the government’s moves in the Territory wrote on the weekend that “it will be a grave mistake for the federal government to be as intransigent to amendments to its bill as those who have opposed the intervention entirely.” Unfortunately, their intransigence throughout the process has been total.
Following are a few quotes from the government Minister in the Senate debate on the Northern Territory intervention measures, demonstrating what the government’s attitude now is to the Little Children are Sacred report.
“I say though that, whilst the findings of the report were very distressing and compelling, the recommendations contained in that report were just proposing more of the same.”
” In terms of the recommendations of the Little children are sacred report, frankly, I think that most people who have had much to do with this debate and those who have considered both the shocking content of the report and the recommendations could not help but be underwhelmed, Senator. I do not think that you should be anything but disappointed.”
“In terms of the report, if you look at this whole suite of recommendations I think you will see that they are behind us.”
UPDATE (17/8): The final vote on the Bills happened just before 12:30pm. I supported the 2 Bills appropriating funds, but opposed the 3 substantive Bills.