The Albanese government should schedule normal times for the sitting week it has proposed to make up for the suspension of Parliament following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson said that by scheduling a solitary sitting day on Friday 23 September for condolence motions on the Queen’s passing, the Albanese government was wasting taxpayers’ money unnecessarily.
“It’s important elected members of Parliament are given time to offer condolences following the Queen’s passing, but there’s no compelling reason why this couldn’t take place during a normally-scheduled sitting week,” Senator Hanson said.
“To make up for the sitting suspended this week, the Prime Minister should have simply scheduled an additional normal sitting week from 26-29 September. Instead, he’s got a solitary day on 23 September and a shortened sitting week from 26-28 September.
“This means Parliamentarians will be flying into Canberra, delivering condolences on a Friday, going back home for the weekend only to return for the sitting commencing Monday. Or they will stay over the weekend in Canberra, charging that accommodation to taxpayers. What a thoughtless and completely unnecessary waste of money.
“It would be much more responsible to start the sitting week on Monday 26 September, reserving that day (which coincidentally falls on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday in Western Australia) for condolences followed by three days of normal Parliament business.”
Senator Hanson said while she considered a public holiday to mark the Queen’s passing was appropriate, Mr Albanese should have made it 20 September instead of 22 September.
“In this case I suspect he was only thinking about extending a long weekend in Victoria, which is about to go to an election, but he should have more pragmatic considerations,” she said. “Many Australians will want to stay up late to watch the Queen’s funeral the night of 19 September; scheduling the public holiday for the following day would allow more Australians to do this, and to reflect on the Queen’s amazing legacy.
“Upon achieving office, Mr Albanese cut the number of advisers available to cross bench senators on the basis of saving taxpayers’ money, although the likely real motive was to prevent the cross bench from doing its job effectively. Then he goes and wastes money with this thoughtless Parliamentary schedule.
“I’ll be offering my condolences on the Queen’s passing the following week. I’m not wasting tax dollars flying to Canberra for a solitary day of sitting when it’s completely unnecessary. One Nation calls on the Albanese government to reschedule this additional sitting week and reschedule the public holiday on 22 September.”