In Parliament

Motion - Government Business Program



Tuesday, 1 August 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (16:03):

The Coalition will be opposing the Government Business Program.

The Government, each week prior to a sitting, publicly announce what they intend to debate in the Chamber. They make that available to the broader community and stakeholders and other members of this place and then come into the Chamber and move a motion relating to the Government Business Program, as they have just done.

Last week the Government gave notice of the Government Business Program and referred to the two bills and again referred to – this is a direct quote – ‘the Government may also debate some of the motions on the Notice Paper’.

I notice the Leader of the House did refer to both the two Bills up for debate but also other matters and Members having an opportunity to debate other matters throughout the week through those other motions.

For context, the Government has not given any indication around what those Motions will be or when Members will be provided an opportunity to speak on those matters. I would expect and hope that Members will have an opportunity to speak on the Budget motion, which is a continuation of the Budget Papers takenote motion, because I know so many Members of our side of the chamber want to speak about their communities being let down in relation to the Budget. But on the Notice Paper as it stands there are six Government motions, 11 Coalition notices of motion –

Mary-Anne Thomas: On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, the leader of opposition business should know that, strictly speaking, the government business program only comprises –

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The point of order is –

Mary-Anne Thomas: It is on relevance.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Relevance?

Mary-Anne Thomas: I am sorry, yes. It is on relevance because, strictly speaking, the Government Business Program only comprises the Bills that are to be debated.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Minister. There is no point of order.

James NEWBURY: Thank you, Deputy Speaker, for confirming that there is no point of order.

The Notice Paper as it stands has six Government motions, 11 Coalition motions and a number of Greens motions. Today we have just seen the Coalition introduce 15, the Greens one and the Government one.

What we have seen over this year are repeated instances of the Government moving motions in this place without notice. Those motions for debate are effectively an opportunity to attack the Coalition. The Government has given notice to refer to those motions throughout the week. What they are we do not know, so the community is none the wiser about what will be debated. I think it would be fair to say that is why it is clear to the broader community that the Government has lost its way in terms of managing the House, because the Government Business Program is an opportunity to let the community know what is happening in this place and the Government has not done that. So we are none the wiser on any of the motions that will be debated and how much of the Parliament’s time will be wasted on debating the Government’s attempts to sledge the Opposition. We are none the wiser as to how much time will be spent on that.

As I referred to, in terms of the motions on the Notice Paper, we know that disproportionately almost 30, as of tomorrow, will be Coalition motions, and there is no opportunity for Members of the Opposition or non-Government members to debate any of those matters – both the Coalition and the Greens have raised this issue repeatedly – whereas the Government regularly brings motions to this place with no notice and lines up to sledge the Coalition rather than outlining an agenda. It is very disappointing to see parliamentary time used in that way.

The Parliament’s time should be used to debate important issues for the community. There are so many important issues: issues around the $2 billion wasted as a result of the Government cutting the Commonwealth Games – $2 billion of taxpayer funds wasted. I mean, the Government are going to raise almost $2 billion in new taxes this year, as announced in the Budget, and those new taxes are straightaway wasted in the Government’s waste on the Commonwealth Games. So we will be opposing the Government Business Program because of their lack of capacity to run this place.