Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (13:08): I want to express the great disappointment of the Australian Greens on the vote that just took place, when the government and the opposition and a significant number of the crossbenchers voted not to refer the citizenship bill, also known as the Allegiance to Australia bill, to the full scrutiny of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee of the Senate.
The Australian Greens say the Abbott Government's citizenship laws outlined today are a cynical attempt to bypass the courts yet again, but will not make Australians any safer.
Spokesperson for Legal Affairs Senator Penny Wright said the Prime Minister had made it clear the power to determine who would lose citizenship still rested with the Immigration Minister, who would decide which terrorist organisations are proscribed under the Citizenship Act.
The Greens say Tony Abbott will prove he is scared of his own Cabinet if he does not explain his citizenship laws before introducing them to Parliament next week.
"The constitution is not a mere inconvenience. If Mr Abbott was truly confident about these laws, he'd be taking them back to cabinet before introducing them," said Greens Legal Affairs spokesperson Senator Penny Wright.
"Only a couple of ministers have seen the legal advice and they won't say whether Abbott's citizenship laws are constitutional or not.
The Australian Greens have called on the government to increase the powers of the newly appointed Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.
Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright said the Monitor needed greater funding and scrutiny powers to oversee the Abbott Government's massively expanded national security framework.
"The announcement of the new Monitor is long overdue and very welcome - but we now need to boost the position's powers to make sure it's more than a toothless tiger," Senator Wright said.
I am pleased to rise and speak to this important bill, which I have introduced with the aim of preserving and enhancing the crucial role of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM).
In a world characterised by unrest and fragile peace, the Australian Greens understand the need to have a robust conversation about our national security laws. We also have the highest regard for human rights and freedoms.