In Parliament

Motion: Government Business Program



Tuesday, 6 February 2024.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (12:27):

The Opposition will not be opposing the Government Business Program. We will not be opposing the Government Business Program.

Wasn’t it wonderful to start the year coming back into this place knowing that we had the opportunity to represent our communities, to speak on behalf of the community?

The first thing I did when I came in this morning was I saw a wonderful school group of kids come in and visit the Chamber, and it was terrific to see the schoolkids back in the Chamber today learning about democracy, learning about our Parliament and talking to me about their lack of funding.

St Brigid’s Primary in Mordialloc asked me to raise their case in the Chamber, and I promised to do that straightaway. St Brigid’s Primary this morning raised the fact that they do not have the funding they need and asked me to raise that on their behalf.

Mary-Anne Thomas: On a point of order, Speaker, I might have been tempted to stay in my seat if the Manager of Opposition Business had not called me on a similar point of order. I ask that you bring the member back to the Government Business Program. It is on relevance. It is not an opportunity to make a Members Statement, it is an opportunity to debate a procedural motion in this place.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Manager of Opposition Business will come back to the Government Business Program.

James NEWBURY: I do note I was referring to something that happened in this very Chamber today, so I am not sure how much closer you could get to the operation of this Chamber.

The SPEAKER: It is not part of government business.

James NEWBURY: There are a number of important matters and things that are happening this week, and that is why the Coalition will not be opposing the Government Business Program.

Of course, we have seen the new Member sworn into this place, and it is always important to both see new Members sworn into this place and also come in and hear them give their inaugural speech, which I understand will take place at the end of tomorrow. I do encourage all Members to come in to hear the new Member welcomed to this place, and we look forward to hearing the inaugural speech, as we also look forward to the joint sitting tomorrow evening and the new Member of the upper house being sworn in. For that one we are all required to be here, but for the inaugural speech I would encourage people to come in.

Then on Thursday there is the apology, and the apology is something that I know so many people in our community want to hear. It is a very important moment for this Parliament. It is an important moment for not only Members from both sides of the chamber but all people to hear that apology. For the victims to have that apology and to hear it I think will be an important moment for this Parliament.

There are of course a number of other Bills. The Minister has spoken to those bills. The Service Victoria Amendment Bill 2023 – I know that the Leader of the House was talking about her online app wallet, and I think every Victorian is looking forward to seeing their drivers licence in the app wallet when the Government finally gets around to doing it.

Look at what New South Wales has been able to do; to say we are laggards would be an understatement. Our app wallet is collecting a lot of dust. Unfortunately, the Government has been very, very slow in ensuring the services that people use every single day are provided to them. I am sure we look forward to action taking place to ensure that we have the level of IT serviceability for this State that Victorians deserve.

Also, we will be speaking to an amendment to building and consumer protection for people. There are so many people who have been hurt by a very small minority of builders, and that Bill will be an opportunity to talk about whether or not enough action has taken place quick enough and also to give a voice to people who deserve to have a voice. They must have a voice, and this Bill will be an opportunity to talk about the victims who deserve that voice and what protections need to be in place to ensure that people are protected into the future.

The Coalition will not be opposing the Government Business Program this week, and I know the Government is happy to hear it. I look forward to both the items that we will have and the debate on those important issues throughout the remainder of the week.