In Parliament

Motion: Government Business Program



Tuesday, 18 June 2024.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (13:52):

I will start on a positive note by just letting Members know that this is an important week. Around the building there has been an important show of bipartisanship in relation to Footy for Climate being in the building. The Minister for Environment and I, as Shadow have brought in Footy for Climate, an important organisation which is part of the AFL, to talk about climate. It is a bipartisan event. I want to give a shout-out to Tom Campbell from Footy for Climate and Stephanie McKew from Environmental Leadership Australia, and also the CEO of the AFL Andrew Dillon will be here tomorrow evening for an event, which will be fantastic. Members will be able to hold both the women’s and men’s premiership cups and have photos with a number of significant footy players if they are interested.

I thought I would start on that positive note before saying the Coalition will not be supporting the Government on the Government Business Program, and I can hear the shock from their side.

The Government and I had a discussion about providing an opportunity for the Shadow Attorney-General to debate one of the Bills in consideration in detail, the Justice Legislation Amendment (Integrity, Defamation and Other Matters) Bill 2024. It did not surprise me to hear that the Government did not feel that the ministers were capable of debating him and giving him that opportunity, so no time has been provided. He is an outstanding Shadow Attorney who will make a fantastic Attorney, so I can understand why the Government was fearful of allowing him that opportunity. On that basis, and on the basis that we have not had the opportunity to properly scrutinise in that way many Bills – once this term with one particular Bill, and one of the Nats often says to me in their time they have only seen it happen twice in this place – it would be good if the Government felt that their Ministers were able to take bills into consideration, which unfortunately they cannot. In the last sitting week, the Government on Thursday thought they would pull a little stunt and bring on a motion, which did end up quite lame in terms of their attempt to play politics and waste the Parliament’s time, and I hope that this week we do not see any stunts from the Government on motions.

I would note the Leader of the House spoke about the Budget Bills and the take-note motion on the Budget. I can assure the Leader of the House that our Members want to speak on these issues, and I would say that when the take-note motion was moved the Government took the unprecedented step of stopping anyone who had spoken on the original Bills from speaking on the take-note motion. So, I would say to the Government: you would have our support entirely in allowing every Member who spoke on the original Bills to speak again, because we all have so much to say. I put that ball in the Government’s court and ask them to consider revising that order so that anyone who did speak on the Budget Bills can speak a second time on the take-note motion, because historically that is what has always happened. We all assumed that would be the case, and unfortunately that has not been the case.

So, I just reiterate for the Leader of the House and the Premier that if the Government was serious about providing every Member the opportunity, they would amend that motion, which prohibits us – people like me – from speaking a second time. I would love to speak about the budget a second time, but unfortunately, I am gagged from doing so, and I know that many Members –

Members interjecting.

James NEWBURY: That is right – gagged Government Members. The Government Members agree with me. It is a gag, I know, and I know I have been speaking up on the Government Members’ behalf to find all of you more time to speak on the Budget, because the Leader of the House was not going to provide it. So, I am very glad that Government Members have thanked me for providing them more time this week to speak on the Budget. I put that ball in their court to provide all of us an opportunity – some of us a second time – to speak on it, but because of those reasons, we will not be supporting the Government Business Program. They should have allowed the Shadow Attorney-General an opportunity to take it into consideration.