Short (but probably not sweet) Senate inquiry

Yesterday the Senate referred Minister Tehan’s universities bill to the Education and Employment Legislation Committee. It could have been worse for the government

Yes, the committee hearings (submissions due September 10) will give critics of the legislation another platform but the government did not have much choice.

On Tuesday cross-bench senators Stirling Griff, Jacqui Lambie, and Rex Patrick voted with Labor and the Greens to send the bill to committee. The vote was tied, so the motion failed. But the three demonstrated they wanted an inquiry – and the government will need at least one of them for the bill to pass.

So, there will be an inquiry – just not as long as the Greens and Labor wanted yesterday. The parties did not have the numbers for their proposed committee reporting date of November 30 (they asked for Hansard to report their votes).

The Senate agreed to the government’s proposed reporting date of September 25.