In Parliament

Bill Debate - Sustainable Forests (Timber) Repeal Bill 2024



Wednesday, 29 May 2024.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (12:48):

When I grew up, the Labor Party stood for something. When I got involved in politics, as much as it pains me to say it, the Labor Party actually stood for something –

The ACTING SPEAKER (Alison Marchant): Can I just ask, are you speaking on the Bill or are you making –

James NEWBURY: Yes.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Alison Marchant): Oh, good – good to know.

James NEWBURY: Good. The Labor Party stood for something, and they would often talk about the fact that they stood for workers. Well, today shows there is nothing left in the values that once underpinned the Labor Party. The Labor Party stand for nothing. 15,000 workers – that does not include the towns, that does not include the community –

Belinda Wilson: On a point of order, Acting Speaker, on relevance, the Member for Brighton seems to be not really speaking on the bill at all.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Alison Marchant): I ask the Member for Brighton to come back to the Bill.

James NEWBURY: I am speaking to the heart of the Bill, Acting Speaker. 15,000 workers and their associated businesses, families and communities are being destroyed because of this State Government. That is what has happened – a Government who have gone silent on the fact that all of these people are having their livelihoods destroyed. Have you seen one single Member get up and speak on behalf of these communities, on behalf of these workers? No, you have not seen any. In fact, you have seen fakeness coming out of the Government when they talk, around attacks they are making on other parties in this place and their Opposition to that what the Government is proposing. Seriously, talk about blame shifting. It is outrageous that the Government is coming in here and causing such destruction because of base ideology.

And you see it on gas, you see it on the lock-up of forests – all these issues are policy decisions that have been made purely on ideology. But what this Bill does is put the final closure to an industry of good Victorians. It is more than shameful, it is an absolute disgrace that we stand here debating. We have got a Government who has put forward a bill in this place to say 15,000 people do not get a job: ‘Fifteen thousand people, you no longer have a job, and we will be happy about it. We will put this bill forward.’ The Government should be ashamed of themselves.

Richard Riordan interjected.

James NEWBURY: I’m asked by the Member for Polwarth what the trade-off was. I am sure there has been a trade-off. The CFMEU have been very, very quiet, haven’t they? They have also had preferred deals when it comes to other bigger government contracts. We can all see that. We know what dirty deals and sellouts have come from this Government.

But for the Government to move a Bill forward to destroy a group of people and their communities – how can they even have the face to get up and speak on it? No wonder they are speaking for 2 minutes. I challenge any Member on that side to say a single thing in support of these good people. That shows the truth of what has become of this State Government – a Government with no values, with no principles. That is what this Bill is about, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

What we do now know is that communities have seen it. Communities now see what has become of the once – I hate saying it – great Labor Party. Communities now see it. They know, and you can see how strongly they are shifting away from Labor, who once stood up for them. They once stood up for them, and now they will not – of course they will not.

Belinda Wilson: On a point of order, Acting Speaker, on relevance, the Member for Brighton seems to be speaking a lot about the Labor Party and not referring to the Bill at hand.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Juliana Addison): I will ask the Member for Brighton to continue but to refer to the Bill, please.

James NEWBURY: Of course. That is exactly what I am doing, Acting Speaker. I am talking about a Bill that has been moved by the Labor Government – a Labor Government who have forgotten thousands of workers, forgotten about communities – and aren’t they ashamed to be hearing the truth. I have not heard a single one of them get up on their behalf. It is outrageous. I know how many people on this side of the chamber are speaking on behalf of those people who do not have the voice that they deserve. But we are speaking on their behalf – on behalf of everybody who has not got a voice and does not have a job, does not have security and rightly has concerns about their future. What this Government has done is outrageous, and every single Member who votes for and speaks on behalf of this should stand condemned. The Government have an opportunity to hear these words, to hear these pleas, and do something about it. I would hope that in good conscience some of them go to their leadership, who have forgotten the community, and lobby them to see some sense.