In Parliament

Motion: Government Business Program



Tuesday, 28 November 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (13:03):

The Coalition will be opposing the Government Business Program.

Before going into further debate on the Program I do think is important to note a couple of things. As the Leader of the House rightly said, this is the last Parliamentary sitting week for this year, and one thing that perhaps has gone a bit unnoticed has been the construction work around this historic building slowly coming to a conclusion after the best part of 20 years.

Almost 20 years ago restoration works started at this Parliament, and so significant works have been going on for a very long time. In fact, there are many people here who have worked here on the restorations who have held over their retirement so that they can stay with the project until completion and new people who have come onto the job and learned the skills of the trade in a unique setting.

I think many Members will come back to this place next year and notice some differences around the building and Victorians will notice structural differences and less scaffolding around the building, so I think is important that this House notes all of the work that has been done around this building and thanks the companies and the workers that have been involved over such a long period of time. We thank them for their work.

We also thank at the end of the year the Clerks, the team and the attendants, who do an incredible job, and all of the staff of this place, who have done an incredible job this year and always do.

I think it is important to acknowledge their hard work this year, including my own team in my own office, of Allie Amey, Elouise Ager and Liz, who has just come on board. All of our staff do an incredible job, and I think it is important to acknowledge that at the end of the year.

In terms of the Government Business Program, as I said, we will be opposing the Government Business Program. I pick up the proposed Government Business Program, noting the difference between what I am holding and what was sent out to the public on Thursday as the proposed Government Business Program. A number of Bills proposed for the week’s debate are missing. Where are they? The Government shelved them, much like a number of other pieces of legislation the government has shelved. The State Electricity Commission Amendment Bill 2023 and the Constitution Amendment (SEC) Bill 2023 have both been pulled from the program that was sent out on Thursday – the program we hold before us. That tells us that the Government does not have a strong legislative program this week, and it has confirmed an intention to deal with a motion which, though important – it is an important matter – does say that there was capacity for further legislative debate during the week. But those Bills have been removed, much in the same way as the State Tax Bills have been shelved and the WorkCover Bill – who knows where that is at. The government’s legislative program is in tatters.

We hold a proposed program that is an amended program that is missing a number of Bills that were proposed last Thursday. This week we will, as the Leader of the House said, be debating three Bills. We could have been debating the SEC Bill and the Constitution Amendment Bill.

If you look to the vote that just occurred earlier, we had proposed including a further community safety Bill in relation to machetes and had hoped that that would be on the program. Unfortunately, that is not listed for debate. On the division on that debate there were 52 Government Members in the Chamber. You would note that the Constitution Amendment (SEC) Bill would have required 53 Government Members to be in the Parliament to pass that Bill and earlier today there were 52 in the Chamber. One would not like to reflect overtly on why the Government pulled the Bill, but it appears that they could not even get their own Members to the Chamber this week.

It is embarrassing that the Government has completely dropped the ball in relation to their Government Business Program and their broader legislative program. The Parliament is clearly in chaos in terms of legislative reforms. The SEC, being the most important thing the government committed to do at the last election, has been shelved. It is embarrassing, and the Coalition will be opposing the program