In Parliament

Motion: Government Business Program



Tuesday, 17 October 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (16:03):

I rise to speak on the Government Business Program.

The Coalition will be opposing the Government Business Program, unfortunately. We will get to the substance of the motion, but the Coalition proposed to the Government that the Coalition was so interested in debating the substance of the Bills on the program that we would like an opportunity to take two of them into Consideration in Detail – the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 and the Environment Legislation Amendment (Circular Economy and Other Matters) Bill 2023 – and both of those requests were denied.

I can understand why – because they are difficult, complex Bills, and I certainly appreciate that the ministers would not have been able to take them to Consideration in Detail.

We know that over the life of this government we actually have not seen any bill

Mary-Anne Thomas: On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, the Government Business Program debate is not an opportunity –

A member: What is the point of order?

Mary-Anne Thomas: Relevance – for the Leader of the Opposition to attack our ministers in this place.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Leader of the House, the point of order is?

Mary-Anne THOMAS: He is being irrelevant.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Member for Brighton to continue.

James NEWBURY: Thank you, Deputy Speaker.

I understand why the Minister was nervous after denying the Ministers an opportunity, and I would say again to the Ministers responsible for the Transport Bill and the Environment Bill, I imagine you are perfectly able to go to the Leader of the House and say that you are not afraid to take these Bills into Consideration in Detail because the Coalition would like an opportunity to go through these Bills in detail.

We saw in relation to the Environment Bill, which is listed for debate this week – how embarrassing. We have a scheme that is starting after the recycling system in Victoria effectively collapsed five years ago, and five years later we still are not ready to implement the scheme – five years later. How embarrassing. Someone must be being paid by the hour, that is for sure. Five years later we do not have a scheme that is up and running. On Friday of last week one of 600 locations for people to deposit their cans was available and publicly stated to the community – one of 600 sites for the State. After the media drew attention to the fact, the Premier was rushed out to announce some locations, and in their haste, they forgot any in the CBD. So, the number one collection point for beverage cans in the State, I would imagine, being the CBD, has not got a single deposit point for the community. How very embarrassing. When it comes to business collection of cans – I will speak to that issue more in debate – there are no sites that are available.

So, the coalition will be opposing the Government Business Program because we proposed an opportunity for the Government to consider two of the Bills in detail, and it was denied. The Government has also listed the potential for a motion to be debated this week. Our principled view is not about the substance of the motion – there have been motions debated in this Chamber that have been extremely meritorious and many members on both sides have looked for an opportunity to speak to them – but we do feel that the Government should use the Government Business Program to debate legislation. That is the appropriate thing to do, and where there are motions listed, that is not an appropriate use, because we have seen numerous weeks where sledge motions have been listed and we have spent days of sitting weeks – two of three sitting days – debating motions. So, the Coalition will not be supporting the Government Business Program on those  grounds.

I note the Leader of the House spoke to a number of important Bills. I am sure that one of the most important Bills we could have been dealing with this week was the Member for Berwick’s Summary Offences Amendment (Decriminalisation of Public Drunkenness) Repeal Bill 2023. That should have been dealt with by the house this week. It is disappointing that next week we donot know what is going to happen. We do not know what is going to happen because the member for Berwick was not provided an opportunity to raise what was in terms of public safety a very important Bill. The government took the view of pride over public safety on that Bill, and it is particularly embarrassing for the Government.