In Parliament

Motion: Debate be Adjourned: State Tax Bill



Thursday, 19 September 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (11:46):

I move:

That the debate be adjourned.

The reason I am moving that the debate be adjourned is that the Government, despite their protestations yesterday, are using this place, this Chamber, in a way to stifle debate on important issues. We have seen with the State Taxation Acts and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2023, which includes a number of pernicious new taxes, that the government is seeking to hide the Bill. It is seeking to hide the Bill firstly from the community and from industry in trying to ram it through this place, and now it is not allowing the Parliament time to debate the Bill. Is there any wonder –

Natalie Hutchins: On a point of order, Acting Speaker, I am not sure that the member has the ability to debate the movement of an adjournment. Could I ask you to rule as to whether we are going to debate the debate ending or not?

The ACTING SPEAKER (Paul Hamer): The Member has moved the motion, and he has the opportunity to speak on it.

James NEWBURY: Thank you, Acting Speaker. It is embarrassing that the minister does not understand the Standing Orders.

This House should be considering Bills of importance, and it has been this morning. But what we have seen this week is the Government refusing to allow any debate on the State Tax Bill. Of course, they are not, because we know that the Government is in a shambles when it comes to that Bill. We have seen today in media reports confirmation that a number of Members in the upper house will not be supporting the Government on that Bill, so there is little wonder that the Government is refusing to allow time for debate.

We have been consistent on the Bill in that we have said that the community deserves time to see it. We moved that they be allowed extra time. We have done that on a number of occasions. On a number of occasions we have asked for extra time for bills to be considered, and the Government has said no. We have said the Bill should be considered in detail. There should be some opportunity for debate on this Bill, because the feedback we have received and the feedback that industry has provided is that they want proper scrutiny of those new taxes – new taxes that were announced absolutely by surprise. There is little wonder the Government is trying to stop any debate on the Bill. When the new taxes were announced, the Premier did not even know about them – the Premier did not even know.

We have a procedural motion being moved now to say to the Government, you cannot keep hiding this Bill, government. The Government cannot keep hiding this Bill. There has to be time in this Parliament. There is a guillotine at 5 o’clock today. For the rest of the day we have a number of other things, as we normally would – we have question time, we have other procedural matters that will take place throughout the day – and a guillotine at 5.

We have three Bills that have been moved through the Government Business Program this week; within two days we dealt with one. That does not mean there were not other important matters that were dealt with; of course there were: the Middle East motion was a very important motion that many members in this place rose to speak on – but in the two days that this House has sat we effectively have only dealt with one of the Bills. There are two bills left, and the Government has scheduled them for one day. We are now not far short of question time, and how much time have we spent on the State Tax Bill? No time. The Government is hiding it. They are strangling debate on it. Of course they are. Of course the Government is stopping any debate on this Bill.

So the Coalition has moved that we adjourn debate on this Bill and we consider the State Tax Bill, as we should. The Parliament should consider that Bill and be provided time. There are so many members who want to speak on the State Tax Bill. The Government is trying to ram the Bill through. It is trying to strangle debate, and it is trying to hide the truth of what that Bill is going to do and the impact on Victorians.