In Parliament

Motion - Debate Be Adjourned: Greens Apology



Thursday, 8 February 2024.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (10:19):

I move:

That debate be adjourned.

I move that the debate be adjourned because it is important that this House immediately debate the behaviour of the Greens, the pattern of behaviour of the Greens, and that a number of members of the Greens party have not apologised for the pattern of behaviour that is occurring.

It is deeply distressing not only to many Members of this place but to staff of Members of Parliament, to staff in this building and to people in the community that a repeated behaviour is occurring and yet, sadly, that behaviour has not been apologised for.

Every Member is elected to this place in their own name, every Member. We represent our communities, but no-one speaks on our behalf in this place. What we saw this morning was the acceptance of an apology from one Member by the Speaker for the behaviour of others, and many members of this place saw one Member of the Greens laughing after an apology was given. It is totally and utterly unacceptable, and as such the Coalition sought to move dissent from the ruling of the Speaker. I want to place on record how long and hard we thought through that course of action before doing so, how I personally spoke with the Speaker, how I wrote to the Speaker and how I met with multiple Members of the government because I did not want to go down that path. My strong view was that every Member should apologise for their own behaviour.

We have seen over recent months both Chambers shut down. We must debate the behaviour and the action taken. The action taken this morning was that one Member who has caused and led, frankly, this outrageous behaviour did not apologise. After an apology was given many Members of this place saw one of the Members laughing. This is very, very serious. This is about the behaviour of Members of this place. That is what we need to debate – appropriate behaviour from Members of this place and where they behave inappropriately in a way that does cause distress and does cause issues of safety concern. What we saw last year with the shutdown of the Parliament was a genuine concern for the safety of Members and for the staff of this building, and I put on record the Premier’s comments where she concurred with that principle that the behaviour recently not only is wrong but is deeply concerning and is, frankly, inciting issues around safety. We cannot have behaviour of that nature.

We must have a debate about whether or not behaviour is appropriate from Members in that way. When they are behaving inappropriately, we must debate what sanction they receive, and the sanction of not apologising today was totally inappropriate. It was totally inappropriate, and to know that a Member laughed about it – we should all sit here shocked by what we saw. It is not good enough to have a Member knowing that they do not have to apologise and then laughing about it, because what we know is it is going to happen again. The Speaker did note this morning an intent to act further. But I have no faith that poor behaviour will not happen again, and we must debate whether behaviour of this type is acceptable. We must debate, when behaviour of this type occurs, whether or not a Member apologises to the house for that behaviour individually and personally, as they rightly should. As such, because an apology was not required, we sought to move a dissent from the Speaker’s ruling, which we certainly did not take lightly.

We must debate those matters. We must debate that ruling. It is only appropriate that these issues be debated, and I do this noting for the house that this is not something that has been moved without fully thinking through the ramifications, fully thinking through what we are here talking about – the seriousness. But we cannot allow this behaviour to continue in this place, and we cannot allow Members to get away with it without even an apology.