In Parliament

Motion: Attempt to Introduce Control of Weapons (Machete) Bill



Tuesday, 28 November 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (12:21):

I rise in support of the Member for Berwick’s introduction of the Control of Weapons Amendment (Machetes) Bill 2023. I strongly support the Member in his introduction and urge that the House consider that both today and on the Government Business Program.

One of the hardest calls that I have made as a Member was to speak to a family only a few short weeks ago who had woken in the morning to head out to have their breakfast. It was just before 7 o’clock, and as they walked out to the kitchen, the partner of one of the daughters who lived in the home walked out to have breakfast, get some Weeties, and there were two home invaders in the kitchen with giant machetes.

What the Member for Berwick has proposed to do is to say we cannot accept that – we cannot accept these types of weapons being used in the way that they are – because every single person deserves to be safe in their home. That is what this Bill is about: every single person deserves to be safe on the streets.

So, to hear the government talk politics instead of dealing with this important matter of community safety appals me, and I am sure it appals all Victorians. This is an important Bill. This important Bill goes to the heart of ensuring that we have a community that is safe.

We have seen these debates over recent weeks where the Coalition has proposed a number of important reforms around enhancing community safety, and every time the Coalition has proposed important reforms, the Government has said no. Many of these reforms have come at the behest of Victoria Police. Last week we spoke about move-on laws, and the Member for Malvern proposed important reforms in relation to those matters. ‘No,’ said the Government.

The Coalition is proposing, constructively, important ways to keep our community safe. No family should wake up to find home invaders in their kitchen with giant machetes, and what this bill would do is send an important signal and change the law to ensure that carrying that weapon is equivalent to the crime it deserves to be. That is what this Bill is about.

Why is it so important to introduce it now? Because this Bill should be on the Government Business Program today. Though we will speak to that at a later point in the debate, we know that the Government Business Program that is proposed this week is an absolute shambles. So, there is the opportunity to include his Bill on the Government Business Program. There certainly is time to include this Bill and debate it on the Government Business Program, but instead what does the Government say on this important proposed reform? ‘No.’

Sadly, it is all about politics; it is not about looking at a proposal and saying to the family in my community ‘You shouldn’t wake up to two people with giant machetes in their hands as you go out to have your cereal’. This is not right. We need to ensure that this behaviour is stamped out. We need to ensure that the laws send the message to criminals that it is a prohibited weapon.

In my community there has been a 578 per cent increase in aggravated home burglaries – 578 per cent. It is extraordinary. And the Government have gone very quiet over that, that Brighton has now got more aggravated home burglaries than any other inner-city suburb. These things matter.

Members interjecting.

James NEWBURY: I am being asked by the government about local police, who do a wonderful job. It is a shame that the government has just shut 43 police stations at night, and we have got a missing Police Minister –

Mary-Anne Thomas: On a point of order, Speaker, you earlier ruled that speakers talk to the narrow procedural motion before us. I would put to you that the member for Brighton is using this as an opportunity to score political points and is not actually addressing the proposed Bill by the Member for –

The SPEAKER: Order! Leader of the House! The Member for Laverton.