In Parliament

Motion - 1 Day Adjournment: Future Fund



Tuesday, 30 May 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (12:22):

This is a dark day for democracy – a dark day for democracy.

I am sure that no Victorian could have believed that the Government and the Treasurer would try and ram through a second Bill on the same day and guillotine it within 24 hours.

This is a very dark day for democracy, and not just for democracy but for our system of Parliament, our system of Government.

For 100 years it has been a tradition not only of this place but of other places around this country and internationally that Parliaments have the right to consider Bills put before them, that people have time to consider – in our case that Victorians have the right to consider – what is being proposed by a Government, and every Government should want that to be the case.

Why wouldn’t you want your community to look at what you are doing? Why wouldn’t you want to allow more than one day so that your community can look at what you are proposing to do and consider it, so that stakeholders can be part of that conversation, so that Members can consult with their community and stakeholders and can come back into this place, because this is the people’s place, and they can represent those views in the Chamber – they can put those views in this Chamber. But that is not the case here.

We have seen a slow degradation of systems of integrity in this place, and we have seen it just now. We have seen it this morning with two instances of a Government trying to ram through the most egregious changes – in the previous case, taxes being imposed on Victorians without giving the opportunity for Victorians to see it. As I said on the earlier Bill, the Bill was still hot because it had just been photocopied, and the Government is trying to ram it through this place without Victorians having the chance to see it.

I am up on my feet speaking in relation to the timing of a Bill before having even had the opportunity to see it. This is outrageous.

We have seen in recent weeks a degradation of the traditions of this place, the systems of integrity. Because that is what this is about – this is about Government having respect for the community and showing a level of integrity in the way they do business, in the way they do government.

This motion seeks to, within 24 hours, introduce a Budget measure and not show it to Victorians in a reasonable time that they can take to read it, in a reasonable time for stakeholders to consider it.

This particular Bill that we are debating – as to whether or not 24 hours is a long enough delay – is a significant Bill around a potential Future Fund and billions of dollars.

It is only reasonable that the Parliament and the community understand what checks and balances are in place. I think every Victorian, when it comes to taxpayers’ money, their money, would want to know that there are adequate checks and balances in big spending measures – or in this case a particular fund that the Treasurer has oversight of. What are the checks and balances? Who would know, because no-one has had the time to read the Bill.

We have seen over recent weeks a speeding up of the time in which governments are ramming Bills through this place, and the Victorian public have figured it out. They have seen what the Government is doing in this place.

It is outrageous that the Government is now pushing through Bills without even allowing Victorians time to read them. And this is the second time today – first on the state taxation measures, which introduce a set of punitive taxes, very punitive taxes that are going to hurt renters and that are going to hurt schools, and now we see this Future Fund bill. What are the checks and balances on this Bill? Who would know.

The Coalition certainly does not support the degradation of integrity in this place. It certainly does not support the way that the Government is ramming through bills and guillotining them – guillotining them day by day in a way we have never seen before. This is a disgrace. We will call it out, and we will vote against it.