In Parliament

Motion: Government Business Program



Tuesday, 28 May 2024.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (12:20):

The coalition will be opposing the Government Business Program – the Leader of the House will have to wait for another week.

The Leader of the House has gone through a number of Bills that the government is proposing to consider this week. What is noticeable I think for the Coalition, for the non-government Members in this place, is the Government is proposing to deal with three Bills, which is not necessarily common in this place. We know their legislative agenda is light on, but what is missing is confirmation from the Leader of the House that the Government will be providing time to debate the Budget.

Does anyone remember the Budget – the Victorian Budget? Because the Government do not remember it. The Government do not want Victorians to remember it. We would have expected the Leader of the House to spring up and say how the Parliament will be provided time, will be provided certainty, to talk about their Budget. I mean, I tell you, that Budget sank like a stone, didn’t it?

And what is missing in this Government Business Program and from the Leader of the House has been certainty that Members in this place will have an opportunity to talk about the $188 billion of debt. We know that is why the Government does not want to talk about it. We know that is why the Government will not provide us an opportunity to talk about funding cuts, promised funding
for our schools – two in my electorate who have had that funding snatched away. Fake promises they were.

The Leader of the House did speak about three Bills that are being considered this week if this Government Business Program passes, and two of them, as the Leader of the House spoke to, are about the Government cutting – cutting the native timber industry entirely. And as the Leader of the House said, the decisions around that on the Government’s part were based around natural disaster and the courts’ fault. It was the courts’ fault – so the Government had to come in here and shut down an industry. Well, I am absolutely sure that the industry and the communities, the families involved in that industry, know exactly who has destroyed their livelihoods. Every one of those people know who has destroyed their livelihood. And the coalition will certainly be looking forward to having an opportunity to speak on behalf of those communities – those good, hardworking people, who were promised some degree of certainty and timeline in terms of the decision the Government made. How quickly they rolled over on those promises to look after people. So, the Coalition will absolutely be looking forward to an opportunity to talk about those issues.

The Leader of the House also spoke about the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, an initiative the Member for Malvern certainly had a large part to play in in the former Coalition Government. And the Leader of the House spoke about the fact that the organisation needs to be scrapped because ‘It has met its objectives’. So, I presume that everybody in Victoria gambles responsibly. I presume that the Government is suggesting that everybody now in Victoria is gambling responsibly. We know of course that is not true. So, the Coalition will certainly be speaking to the fact that this Labor Government has decided to scrap the responsible gambling foundation, and we will speak strongly on those issues.

The Coalition went to the Government to propose an opportunity for our Shadow Minister to take that bill into consideration in detail, and I know that the Member would have done a sterling job holding the government to account. The 10-year Public Accounts and Estimates Committee Member would have done a sterling job at holding the Government to account. So, is it any wonder the Government said no? No Minister could have held up to the scrutiny of that Shadow Minister. The experience and wit he would have brought into that consideration I am sure scared the Government away, and so we were not provided with that opportunity. So of course we will, because of that, be opposing the Government Business Program, and I do hope that at some stage the Government stops hiding their Budget and provides every Member in this place with an opportunity to talk about the damage that it is doing to our great State.