We’ve just heard word from Ed Husic, MP for Chifley, who has tweeted that the Coalition has asked that the R18+ bill be sent for an inquiry.
As part of the legislation process, if one MP calls for an inquiry on a proposed bill, that bill must undergo extra scrutiny and further examination by a Standing Committee. This inquiry process is usually utilised for bills that are deemed complex or controversial.
The good news, however, is that these inquiries are usually fast tracked, and made up of people with responsibilities in that portfolio area, so to not delay the passage of the proposed legislation. It’s probably worth noting that, since 1990, approximately 30% of bills have been sent to Standing Committees.
Still, it is yet another stumbling block, and a step that further delays the progress of the R18+ bill through Parliament. Hopefully it’ll ultimately be a minor one.
“I’m just flabbergasted that after 10 years this has been pushed to an inquiry,” said Ed Husic. “Everyone is in support, people have basically spoken. We’re ready to get this done.
“It only takes one person to do this and you lose time.”
Husic suggested that the inquiry could just be an attempt by the Coalition to hold up the R18+ legislation or, worse, kill it off entirely, but admitted that he wasn’t sure which way they would sway at this point.
“The Coalition hasn’t indicated what they’ll do yet,” he said. ” But I’ve spoken to Independents, and tried to make it clear that this is an issue that’s been going on for years.”
Husic is confident, however, that this inquiry could be a quick process.
“People will want to move quickly,” he claimed. ” It could be one day enquiry and get it over and done with, the committee may just refer it straight back.”
A full blown inquiry, however, is a far lengthier process.
“First they have to call for public submissions — again,” explained Husic. “They may hold a public hearing based on the submission. Then they have to draft a report, the Committee has to agree to that report and then they submit it back to Parliament.”
Logistically the process can be done in under a month, but if it’s not done quickly, there could be other roadblocks.
“The issue is that we’ll sit in March, but we don’t sit in April,” said Husic.
“If people want this inquiry to move quickly, they should make their voices heard on the issue.”