In Parliament

Motion - 6 Day Adjournment



Wednesday, 17 May 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (10:56):

The SPEAKER: The question is:

That the debate be adjourned for six days.

James NEWBURY: The Minister has just moved that a Bill be adjourned for six days. This is absolutely outrageous. In the last sitting week, we saw the Government ram through a Bill without proper consultation with the community.

Today we have just received a Bill, a substantive Bill – it is hot off the press; it is still hot after being photocopied – and the Minister is seeking to adjourn it for six days. The shame of this Government – I am sure that no Victorian thought that the Government could do worse than seeking to adjourn a Bill for less than 14 days or 13 days. This is now a standard breach –

A member: So arrogant.

James NEWBURY: a standard arrogant breach of the Westminster tradition, a breach that is now happening Bill after Bill. Bill after Bill is being adjourned and rammed through as quickly as possible, partly because the Government has not got a legislative program. We know that to be a fact. We know that they do not have the Bills being drafted, considered and put through this place in a meaningful way. They do not have the work being done. Ministers are getting lazy, Ministers are getting arrogant and Ministers are not doing the work they need to do to ensure that the Parliament’s time is being used appropriately.

So now we see a Bill being put to this place still hot because no-one has had the time to see it. It has just come off the photocopier and is being moved in this place, and the Minister has sought to adjourn it for six days. I have not seen this done, certainly in this place; I have not seen it being done since, frankly, the worst days with some of the Bills being pushed through the Federal Parliament.

I am not casting aspersions on only one particular Party in that matter. I am saying I have seen this happen in the Federal Parliament on both sides, by both parties. It was, I think, some of the worst behaviour of sitting governments in the Federal Parliament – the worst behaviour – and it was identified as bad practice. It was identified as a breach of a 100-year tradition to allow the community time to consider these Bills.

Why wouldn’t you want the community to look at what you are proposing to do? That is the question. Why would you not want the community to consider what is being proposed in this place? A Government should want the community involved in what they are considering doing. Yet this Government does not want the community to be part of this discussion. It is outrageous, and it is now the standard practice. It is now the standard practice to ram through Bills and not allow the community to consider them.

We know that with the State Budget coming up it will be difficult for the community to have the time to consider Bills. It will have difficulty. I cannot see any way in which the Government and the Speakers who respond after me can possibly get up and say that it is fair and reasonable to breach a 100-year tradition of our Westminster Parliaments – a 100-year tradition.

How could you possibly stand up and say that that is okay when it is not? Again, I make the point: this behaviour is something that I have only seen in the worst way in the Federal Parliament from, frankly, both sides of the Chamber, and it was recognised as such. It was recognised as being a breach and a disrespect to the community.

Lily D’Ambrosio: Do you know what the bill is about?

James NEWBURY: The Minister asks if I know what the Bill is about – having just received a copy. It is still hot after coming off the photocopier. Of course I do not and neither does the community, and that is why we are standing up to make this point, because we cannot have an opportunity to understand these Bills. We cannot have an opportunity because the Government is trying to ram it through. It is a disgrace, and it should be seen for what it is.