In Parliament

Motion - Government Business Program



Tuesday, 15 August 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (12:23):

The Coalition will be opposing the Government Business Program.

What concerns the Coalition is that the very first item the Government has listed for debate this week is another motion. The Government has provided advice to the community, to Parliament and to the Coalition that the very first thing that they will be debating today is a motion – another motion.

In fact, it is the seventh motion we will have dealt with in this Chamber. What I know that the Members on the other side of the House will know quietly – they may not be saying it loudly – is that the Government has spent more time debating motions than the budget Bills and the Budget. The Government is so proud of this Budget that they are introducing motions that are completely unrelated to the Budget and spending Parliamentary time each and every week debating those motions.

As I have said in this Chamber before, every Member on this side of the Chamber wants to speak on the Budget – every single Member. We absolutely want to speak on the Budget, and we have had no opportunity. We have all got things to say because all of our communities were left out of the Budget. All of our communities were left out.

So, I note the comments made by the Leader of the House that the Budget take note motion may be debated this week. It may be. But I know that everybody, as I look around that side of the Chamber, wants to speak about the Budget, and they have not had the opportunity. Why? Because another Motion has been introduced into this place that is unrelated to the budget or any legislative program. I share their disappointment.

Members, I share your disappointment, and I would say to you that you need to lean on the Leader of the House. The other side of the Chamber should lean on the Leader of the House and say, ‘Why can’t we debate the Budget? Why can’t we? Our crowning glory of the year – why can’t we debate our Budget?’ I think it is a question all of us are asking in this Chamber, and the obvious answer, as we know, is it was a dud.

Danny O’Brien: It’s a shocker.

James NEWBURY: It was a shocker. It is a series of new taxes that are going to hurt a lot of people in this community. So, the very first priority of the Government today on their Government Business Program is another motion.

Well, I will also note that six motions the Government has moved, which I have previously referred to as sledge motions, have been debated so far – six – and there are three more in line which I am sure will see the light of day. One of the ministers introduced one earlier, and I am sure that will be spoken to tomorrow. I am sure that is on tomorrow’s agenda.

Six Government motions have been debated so far this term. Three are on the list from the Government to be debated shortly, I am sure. And how many non- Government motions are there of the 30 that are on the Notice Paper? Zero. Of the 30, zero, including important motions about ensuring that we all speak out strongly about antisemitism, and I am sure this House should be making that message loud and clear to the community. I am sure that we all would support a motion of that nature, and I would say to the Government: please, if you are considering the scheduling timetable for this week and further motions rather than any legislative agenda, I call on you to consider – through the Speaker, of course – an opportunity for this house to speak about important issues of antisemitism, not only in relation to policy but in relation to the university-related report that was released today, which I am sure is deeply distressing to the whole community.

This House, if it is spending time on motions, should certainly be spending time on that motion. It is an important priority this house should consider.

But the Coalition will be opposing the Government Business Program because frankly there is no legislative agenda. I think that case has been made clear. The government are now refusing to speak to their own Budget, and I am sure that Members on both sides of the Chamber understand why that is the case, why no-one wants to bring up the name of the Budget and allow opportunity on that. We are going to spend time again on some motion some Minister has moved, and frankly our Parliamentary time should be used in other ways. For that reason, we will be opposing the Government Business Program.