In Parliament

Motion - 1 Day Adjournment: State Tax



Tuesday, 30 May 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (11:49):

This is outrageous. It is outrageous that the Treasurer would bring a tax Bill into this Chamber that no Victorian has seen – this Bill is also hot because it has just come off the photocopier – and move that the Bill be considered tomorrow and guillotined tomorrow.

It is a Bill that does a number of things. It is a long Bill. It is an 80-page Bill of new taxes to be imposed upon Victoria, and I note that one of them that is particularly egregious and has been received so incredibly poorly by the community is the new tax on non-government schools.

In fact, I know of a number of schools that will be making comment at some point. Their view is they will be made insolvent by these new taxes, and I do not say that lightly. They are going to talk about that publicly. They are going to talk about the fact that these new taxes are going to make them insolvent. This government is going to make non-government schools insolvent with this new set of taxes.

This package of measures is something that we have never seen before, that Victorians have never seen. Victorians have not seen what is being proposed in it, and the Treasurer has wandered into the chamber and said, ‘Not only, Victoria, have you not seen it, we refuse to give you time to consider it,’ despite the fact that only last year the Government did the right thing – I will give them credit; they did the right thing – and they allowed the Parliament to consider these budgetary measures for two weeks, as would normally be the case.

So why this year is the Government hiding these measures from the community? Why are they hiding it from the community? Because they know how dangerous these measures are. They know the impact of these measures, and as I said, I only spoke to one.

There are a number of measures that are going to cause absolute havoc in the community. One of them that I mentioned was the new tax on schools, the new tax on kids – taxing kids! – overturning an almost 100-year principle in this nation that schools, benevolent institutions, are not taxed.

This Government is now proposing to overturn that principle, and we know that that will not be the end of where these measures go. This is only the start, and every member of this place should be aware that these new tax measures on schools are not going to end here. This is the thin end of the wedge. If you have a child who goes to a non-government school, any non-government school, you should be worried; if you ever want your child to, you should be worried. This is a debate about whether or not these state tax measures are given the time in this place to be considered by Victoria.

Pauline Richards: On a point of order, Acting Speaker, this is a procedural debate, and as such we should stick to the rules of procedural debates.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Paul Hamer): Manager of Opposition Business, you were straying into debating the Bill, and I ask you to talk about the procedural debate.

James NEWBURY: The sentence, Acting Speaker, that just came out of my mouth was that this is a debate around whether this bill should be given time to be considered by the Victorian community. That is exactly what the procedural motion is about.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Paul Hamer): Yes, and in the previous 4 minutes you had been talking about the content. I ask you to talk about the procedural motion.

James NEWBURY: Acting Speaker, with respect, no Member raised any concern at any point in my debate, so therefore I would ask you to rule that point of order out of order.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Paul Hamer): No. I have ruled on the point of order, and I ask you to come back to the procedural debate.

James NEWBURY: The Treasurer has moved to ram through a set of new tax measures in one day – ram through and guillotine them.

Fortunately, we now know Victorians have seen what the Government is doing in this place.

We know that Victorians can now see the Government for what it is and its tactics in this place for what they are.

You cannot introduce such punitive, nasty measures that are going to hurt people – they are going to hurt children; they are going to send schools to the wall – and not allow the community to see them.

We oppose the Government’s measure to do that. We oppose it, and we certainly will be voting against the Government trying to ram this Bill through.