The head of government affairs in the Senate, Finance Minister Katy Gallagher, said it was “very likely” that the upper house will have to sit extra days this year to pass its legislative agenda, including the controversial bill on industrial relations.
“Obviously there is a packed agenda, many bills to push through and particular bills that will require substantive debate, so I expect we will need hours and maybe- be extra days,” Gallagher said in the hallway to the press gallery.
The government needs the backing of the Greens and another MP to get the bill through the Senate, but most likely supporter David Pocock wants the bill split to pass the lesser aspects. controversial and reserve the debate on multi-employer bargaining until next year.
Gallagher said the bill works in its entirety. “To carve out a part of the negotiation [provision] going to jeopardize other parts of the bill,” she said.
“It is not unusual, I think, for a bill to reform the industrial relations system to be treated in this way. If you remove parts here and there, it’s much harder to deliver.
Earlier on ABC radio, Gallagher said the Senate will likely sit on both Fridays of the next two weeks to make up for extra sitting days.
“We’ll see where we get to at the end of the first week,” she said.
“We have a lot of bills to pay, and it’s pretty crazy just in the next fortnight… so I think we’re going to end up with overtime. We haven’t locked everyone in on it yet.