In Parliament

Motion - Government Business Program



Tuesday, 21 February 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (12:16):

I rise to speak on the Government Business Program, and I start by saying the Opposition will be opposing the Government Business Program this week.

A member: Why?

James NEWBURY: Calm down. We will get to it.

But before I do get to the reason we will be opposing the program, can I start, on behalf of the Coalition, by welcoming our newest Member, the Member for Narracan. It is wonderful to see the Member for Narracan enter this place. What he went through is quite extraordinary. It was an extraordinary election that many of us would never see, a terrible circumstance in his electorate throughout the election day and a shock, I am sure, for the community and people in the broader area in terms of those events – terribly sad.

But the now Member for Narracan worked his tail off up until election day. I know that on our side of the Chamber we would all endorse that he worked his guts out in his seat, and he, I am sure, would have been elected handsomely on election day. So, to go through that twice –

Sam Groth interjected.

James NEWBURY: I do not want to take up the Member for Nepean’s interjection. I will ignore that one. But the Member for Narracan effectively ran two election campaigns. Those who have gone through an election know how difficult it is – how incredible it is to meet the community but how much you throw into that campaign.

By election day, I am sure, every Member of this place had given 100 per cent to that campaign, so to go through that twice is a significant ask of anybody. To see him walk in today: he is very welcome in this place, and certainly we are very happy to have him on our side of the Chamber. We are very happy to see him here, and we are very much looking forward to him giving his address-in-reply later this evening, just before five I would expect. I hope that all Members come in and see his first speech. It is going to be a terrific speech, I am sure. I know he has been putting his heart and soul into it. On behalf of the Coalition, welcome, and we look forward to seeing that speech later today, Member for Narracan.

In terms of the Government Business Program more broadly, other than the address-in-reply, the Leader of the House did speak about two Bills the government is considering this week – the Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2023 and the Human Source Management Bill 2023. Both of those bills are not new, as the Leader of the House pointed out. They are
Bills that were part of or seen by the last Parliament. In relation to the health legislation Bill, it was introduced in the last Parliament with a sense of urgency from the Government, an absolute need to get that legislation passed – so much so they did not pass it. They had the capacity to move that Bill forward and chose not to.

There were issues with that Bill, and I do not want to pre-empt the debate other than to say there were concerns and those concerns will remain. That is not to take away from the comments the Leader of the House made in relation to the importance of sharing information and making sure that our health system has the capacity to share information. That clearly is an important feature of the way our health system should work in best practice, but making sure that that information is used appropriately, accessed appropriately, and shared appropriately are genuine issues. I think that every Victorian would have concerns about making sure that whichever framework we put in place is one that properly takes those issues into account, and the Shadow Minister will certainly lead that debate.

The Human Source Management Bill – I know the Shadow Attorney-General is going to speak strongly on the Bill, has consulted very widely on the Bill and has a lot to say about that bill.

So, we have two Bills that there are a number of issues with, and we will have a vigorous debate.

The Opposition did seek the opportunity to take the Human Source Management Bill into committee, and unfortunately that was not made available, so on the basis of that we will be opposing the Government Business Program.

Other than a division on that issue, we do look forward to seeing the Member for Narracan’s speech later today.