In Parliament

Motion: Debate Be Adjourned: Members Be Heard



Tuesday, 30 April 2024.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (13:38):
I move:

That the debate be adjourned.

I am moving that the debate be adjourned because what we have seen today is an outrageous abuse of this place whereby the Government did not provide an opportunity for Members to be heard, and we must stop Government business now to debate that matter.

We must provide members in this place with an opportunity to speak on behalf of their communities. That is what this Chamber is about. It is a place where every Member can come in, having been elected, and speak for their community. What we saw today was the Government deny any Member from the non-Government benches an opportunity to put a notice of motion verbally in the Chamber, and we must debate that matter. We need to urgently debate the fact that non-Government Members must be provided with an opportunity to debate issues of importance. We cannot have a circumstance where a Government uses its numbers to gag every Member that is on the non-Government benches. It is an outrageous proposition. The only time we have seen something similar to this was in the dark days of Peter Batchelor. We need to debate this now. We need to debate this today.

There is no greater function of this place than for Members to be provided an opportunity to speak. There is no part of your job in this place more core than to speak on behalf of your community. To have the Government not allow that requires an urgent debate, so the coalition has moved to immediately and effectively suspend the matters that the Government is proposing to allow the
debate on those matters to be adjourned so that we can debate these more urgent matters. There is no matter more urgent than for a Member to be provided a voice in this place. Listening to the Government deny Members an opportunity to even speak for a moment shows that the Government has reached a very dark place. When you look at the Standing Orders which I think would inform the debate, we know that Standing Order 104 provides a Member with the opportunity to speak – and so it should. It is beyond any comprehension that a Government could deny a Member an opportunity to put forward a proposition before that proposition is put. How do you know what you are saying no to until you hear it, unless you stand against non-Government Members putting forward any proposition? We must debate that matter immediately and with urgency.

I would say that this is of such urgency that I suspect that this will be a preoccupation of the Parliament this week, because we cannot have a Parliament that allows a Government to so outrageously gag any member from having an opportunity to speak, as we saw today. I have moved that the debate be adjourned on an alternative matter and that we have a debate on these issues now, that we look to the standing orders and what they should provide and that we provide an opportunity for debate to consider these matters. And then I would of course hope that we can convince the Government to admit the error of their ways and not need to go to a division on it – if the Government were to stand for what they did earlier – to force them to divide against the proposition to allow a debate so that Members could have a voice. You would not see events like we saw earlier today in the other place, because the crossbench would not allow it. To know that the Government is now in such an arrogant frame of mind that it would not allow Members in this place to speak is deeply concerning, and it should concern every Victorian. The Coalition has moved that the debate be adjourned so that we can with greater urgency provide an opportunity to ensure that all Members have an opportunity to speak, as they have been elected to do.