Thursday, 14 January 2016
Order of Business
It has been raised by all Senators and people can view the matter whichever way they wish. Senator Brennan also spoke about the Clerys workers and the Protection of Employment Act and suggested there may be a need for an amendment to that Act to protect workers' rights. My understanding is that another workplace relations Bill will be brought before us in the next week or two. Hopefully, that will address some of the concerns outlined by Senator Brennan.
Senators Barrett and Mullins and other Senators raised the insurance industry and the concerns about it. Senator Barrett said there is a need for greater regulation. Senator Mullins spoke about the review of the insurance industry which was undertaken by the Government and the Central Bank, which was welcomed. I note the points Senator Mullins has made about the costs for young drivers. I think everybody would agree on the issue of uninsured drivers, who are driving up the costs. The Senator called for greater penalties and his suggestion that vehicles be confiscated straight away should be acted on. I also note his points about fraudulent claims.
Senators Kelly, Coghlan and Mullins addressed boundary changes. Although that is the last thing we should be debating at this point, I note the points raised by Senator Kelly and others. Senator O'Sullivan spoke about the marking of examination papers and the need for greater training for examiners and so on. The Senator's point is a valid one and I will bring it to the attention of the Minister. Senator Mullins also welcomed the launch of the recently announced new physical activity plan. Senator Ó Clochartaigh raised the issue of children's rights, which was also raised by Senator Walsh. I will endeavour to have the Minister come to the House before the upcoming general election to debate that issue. I have already addressed the points raised by Senators Mooney and Paul Coghlan.
Senators Bradford and Barrett raised the issue of political reform, although most of the reforms spoken about related to the other House. While I welcome them, I do not propose to provide for a debate in this House on the issue of reform of the other House. We have enough to do to organise our own affairs.
Senator Walsh also raised the issue of the murder of Christians in the Middle East, which is appalling. I suggest that the Senator table the issue for debate as a Commencement matter with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. On the issue of support for the institution of marriage, I can assure Senator Walsh that this Government is very supportive of the institution of marriage.