It has been a very interesting week. I did have a genuine desire to try and offer what I thought was good advice as to how disputes in families are rarely improved by public discussion on the front pages of national newspapers.
I think my initial views have proved overwhelmingly correct but as expected in the rough and tumble of this place, I burnt political capital giving that view. I tell you what I do find annoying, though, is where it is thought that because you get along with someone then you take your riding instructions from them; you don't.
In politics you meet all sorts of people from all sorts of sectors and they all have their issues; it is quite obviously a part of your job. I have met priests and I have met prostitutes and I have no intention of becoming either but they have a right to be heard. I have met drug addicts and I have met farmers, I have met billionaires and I have met branch members. The one thing I have found is that underneath it all you would be surprised how every group has their strengths and their frailties, including me.
Now back to Parliament. I have just come from the chamber, where the Greens and Labor have voted to guillotine, that is, shut down debate on 16 pieces of legislation. This is bizarre. It is the start of the sitting year, you do not start guillotining things when you have the whole of the year to properly debate them.
There are very important pieces of legislation within this guillotine. One is the Mining Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) which, if they display the same management skill for this as they have shown for the carbon tax and the NBN, we will have a serious problem. As absurd as it sounds, this tax actually costs us money. They have given away more than they expect to collect.
It genuinely is something that you should know as much about as possible before, as your elected representatives, we vote on it on your behalf. Remember, you have drawn your account to $232 billion, but you only have a $250 billion limit and you've borrowed $10 billion in the past four weeks. Things for you are not looking too rosy and I believe that the more attention that we give to your affairs the better it is for you.
Then there is the so-called small business tax deduction. It is not a small business tax deduction, it is a company tax deduction, which big companies do not get. The vast majority of small businesses, however, are unincorporated entities, like partnerships and sole traders. They do not get any MRRT tax-inspired tax deduction.
The next issue that grates is a statement that the government is going to finance the superannuation increase from 9 per cent to 12 per cent through the MRRT. No they are not, the employer is going to pay for that superannuation increase. It is so frustrating when you have a right to know about all this but you have that right taken away from you because the Green-Labor-independent alliance has control of both houses in Parliament.
Here is another example of how your rights have been compromised; debate on the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers and Offences Bill 2012) will start at 10pm on the March 20 and finish at 10.30pm. This bill, among other things, will govern the collection of DNA material and the parole conditions for federal offenders. I can't work out why the Greens would be party to a decision to shut down a debate on a decision that involves the rights and liberties of the individual and the capacity that the government has to encroach on them.
Senator Bob Brown used to believe that the guillotine was counterintuitive to an open and transparent legislative system. Today he and his party voted for the guillotine not just on one piece of legislation but on 16. I wonder if he sticks that in his little green triangles at the next street march. Anyway, what will be will be, until the time comes to change the political mix at the next election.
Senator Bob Carr has also arrived this week. I thought he was going to bring some stability and sanity to the chaos of the Labor Party but after the hypnosis lecture he gave Australia at the Senate doors, I think I have been sadly misled.
Barnaby Joyce is the Nationals' Senate Leader.