In Parliament

Motion: Government Business Program



Tuesday, 17 October 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (16:03):

I rise to speak on the Government Business Program for the week, which does propose three Nills, and in doing so I do feel that it is important to acknowledge the time the House spent this afternoon speaking to the matter of the events in Israel, the terrorist attacks in Israel, 10 days ago and the community that came into Parliament today, both in the Queens Hall and out on the steps. Hundreds of members of the Jewish community came in to hear both sides of the Chamber speak to those matters and show their solidarity and support. It was an important opportunity to see both sides of the Chamber with the community, outside the Chamber and on the steps.

In terms of the Government Business Program itself, I move an Amendment:

That the words ‘State Taxation Acts and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2023’ be omitted.

I move the Amendment on the basis that the Government have put forward a Bill and should not be surprised that only two weeks ago, when they introduced it into the Parliament and the community, the property sector and, frankly, mum-and-dad home owners all very quickly expressed their deep concern about what was being proposed with the Bill and the pernicious nature of the Bill, the Coalition moved that the community should be given more time to consider the impact of that Bill, and the Amendment that I move today on behalf of the Coalition is in aid of that.

In the same spirit that we sought to extend the amount of time that the Bill would be laid on the table, this Amendment would seek to take that item off the Government Business Program so that the community can be fully across or better across what is being proposed – a Bill that we know the community had incredibly deep concerns about when the Bill was first introduced, and I will not go into the details of that. Those have been covered quite extensively in the media – a surprise introduction, some might say, a surprise announcement. The industry was very quick to point out their concerns. I will not quote them again, because I do not think that it would go to the matter of the question before us. But it would be fair to say there were genuine concerns by industry that what was being proposed was being proposed without any notice, and all industry was asking for was time to understand what was being proposed and an opportunity to provide feedback on that. That is what the Amendment that I move today is in aid of.

Over the last week we have had a government briefing on the Bill, and there are genuine concerns. There are genuine, detailed concerns that we have with the Bill and what is being proposed. There were some pretty troubling details provided in that briefing around people who own homes having to provide receipts of where they shop nearby to prove they are using their own homes. That is what we are talking about here. We are talking about a new tax that is being extended to people on their own homes – people who work hard, people who save and buy a second property and will now in some circumstances have their water and sewage sifted through to work out how often they are at the site.

I moved the Amendment in the hope that the government will consider a fair and reasonable attempt by the coalition – we have heard from the industry, we have heard from the community about their concerns about this Bill, and we would say to the government, ‘Don’t be arrogant. Provide the community, provide industry, with an opportunity to understand what’s being proposed. Provide an opportunity for the community to understand what’s being proposed.’ That is what this Amendment would seek to do. Initially we proposed an extra two weeks – and we would accept the extra two weeks if that is the way the government saw fit – to provide industry with an opportunity to understand the new measures in the Bill, especially ones around spying on homeowners.