Media Release by Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

27 hours of debate sees protection of Indigenous children

Minister for Community Services Senator Nigel Scullion said that after more than 27 hours of debate in the Senate, the legislation regarding the emergency response in the Northern Territory has been given extensive consideration.

‘The passing of this legislation is an historic day for the future of the Northern Territory. This is significant legislation that will improve the lives of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory,’ Senator Scullion said.

‘This legislation will help open Indigenous communities to overcome the circumstances that led to the shocking accounts outlined in the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report. It will allow people who have previously been denied the opportunity to make a brighter future for themselves by gaining an education and earning a living.

‘In the history of the Senate, only 30 Bills have had debates longer than 20 hours – 15 of these lengthy debates have occurred under the Howard Government, with only 6 lengthy debates occurring under the previous Hawke/Keating Labor Government.

‘The Indigenous package has become one of the longest debated bills in Senate history with over 27 hours of consideration in the Senate.

‘This is in contrast to the claims by Labor, the minor parties and misinformed interest groups that the Howard Government has misused its majority.

‘The exemplary management of lengthy legislative debates under the Howard Government shows that the Senate remains accountable.

‘The Howard Government encourages bills to be examined by committees and ensures adequate debate. The Government is proud of its management of the Senate and is committed to ensuring the Senate remains a robust house of review.

‘I head back to the Northern Territory with good news for all Territorians – the veil of silence about suffering in Indigenous communities has been lifted,’ Senator Scullion said.