In Parliament

Motion - 13 Day Adjournment: Transport Legislation



Wednesday, 18 October 2023.

Melissa HORNE (Williamstown – Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Minister for Local Government, Minister for Ports and Freight, Minister for Roads and Road Safety) (10:39): I move:

That the debate be adjourned for 13 days.

James NEWBURY (Brighton) (10:39): Can you believe, because I cannot believe, and I am sure that Victorians cannot believe, that the government is attempting to ram another Bill through this place?

I hear the Government shouting across the chamber that they have heard this before. They have heard this before; that is right. They have heard this before because the government keeps trying to ram Bills through this place. Let me tell you an interesting statistic: this Parliament in this term in this chamber has passed 26 bills, and before today – it is obviously one more now – we have had this debate on seven items. A quarter of the bills, the government has tried to ram through this place – a quarter. It has not happened once. It has not happened twice. A quarter of the bills the government has put to this place they have not wanted the community to see. They have not wanted the community to be given the time that they deserve to see them.

It is not too much to ask for this government to consider the Westminster tradition of allowing a Parliament to consider a Bill for two weeks before it is rammed through the Parliament – before the government uses its majority numbers to ram it through the Parliament. To think that we are now at the point where for one quarter of the bills we have had this debate and called out the fact that the government keeps trying to hoodwink the Victorian community, and the community now are speaking out about it. We saw it only two weeks ago with the introduction of two new pernicious Bills through the State Tax Bill, which will be dealt with, I presume, tomorrow by the Government. It was not just the Coalition who called that out; in that circumstance industry called out the fact that they had been surprised by two new taxes with no notice. In fact, if reports are correct, the Premier was not even aware, but I digress.

It is a quarter of the Bills. I will say that again: 26 Bills have been passed, I have been advised by the good assistants who help us in this place, this term in this Parliament in the lower house, and we have had this debate seven times before today. Now it is eight times. So, for a quarter of the Bills, the government has come in and said, ‘You know what, we know there’s been an 80-year tradition not just in Australia but around the world in terms of laying a bill on the table for two weeks so that the community and affected stakeholders can see it and read it.’ The Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 could be a set of good measures. It might well be. Who would know? The hardworking attendants, who I say do an incredible job in this place, have just handed me a copy of the proposed bill – I believe my colleagues might have been handed a copy too – and I see it is 170 pages. They have not even seen it yet. I am handing it down to my colleagues. It is 170 pages of new laws – 170 new pages. It is only reasonable that a government say to the community, ‘Here’s what we’re proposing to do. You can have an opportunity to read it. Let us know what you think, because you know better than we know.’

What we do know is that when governments try to push things through, they get it wrong. And haven’t we seen that with the High Court today striking down the electric vehicle tax. The High Court has intervened on this Government and said you got it wrong. How embarrassing. How outrageously embarrassing that the High Court has been forced to intervene and slammed down this Government for what they proposed to do. That is why all we ask for is that the Government provide what they propose to do to the community to consider. It is not too much to ask for. That is why the Coalition will be opposing again another instance of the Government trying to ram through another set of measures before the community have rightly had time to see