In Parliament

Motion - Government Business Program



Tuesday, 2 May 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (15:08):

I would like to start my contribution on a positive note and say that the coalition will not be opposing the government business program, but the positive contribution unfortunately will end there while I make a number of other broad comments.

What we have seen over recent sitting weeks is a Government, sadly, that has no agenda and is frankly misusing Parliament. At Parliament we sit for three days, which is not so much, and 1 and a half days in, the Government is moving away from their scheduled business program and moving on to whatever item on the Notice Paper they feel they can make a political point with, which is
disappointing. It is disappointing for a number of reasons. It is disappointing because the house could be doing so much had the Government the foresight to be working on and developing new laws and proposing issues of importance.

Instead, the Government is misusing the time of the House to effectively run a second Matter of Public Importance. For those that are not aware of the mechanisms of the house, most weeks the Government or Opposition have the opportunity to raise a particular issue and the House will spend some time debating that issue. But because the Government has run out of things to do, they are using about half of the Parliamentary sitting time each week for creating a new item of interest and sadly using that item and turning that item into a political hit, really. It is a political hit on the Opposition – it is no more than that – which is disappointing, because when it comes to energy security, when it comes to renewables, at the last election the Coalition brought forward some wonderful policies, some nation-leading policies, in this portfolio space.

As Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, there are a number of policies that were brought to the election that were fantastic policies, and I am really proud of those policies.

One of them that the Government has not picked up on is legislating the 2030 target, which is something that the community actually wants. The community want to see less politics in the environment space, and they want to see certainty of where government is going. That was some of the thinking around the proposed policy at the election, which was supported by not only so many people but also peak bodies and interest groups, and not just in Victoria.

One of the difficulties I think with the running of Government especially in Victoria is the lack of transparency, and we know when it comes to this portfolio space there just is not enough transparency in the operation of Government. So, the Coalition introduced a number of policies in this space which would have done that.

Not only will the Government waste time with another political hit job, or what I like to refer to as a sledge motion of the week – and that is what it will be – they are failing to talk about the issue that frankly most Victorians are thinking about right now, and that is the issue of a lack of integrity in Victoria. And we saw it today. When the Premier stood up you could almost feel the lack of integrity in the way he responded to issues in question time.

I would say it is disappointing that when we look at the way that Parliament is going to operate this week, we will not be considering a matter that is so important in Victoria.

When you hear the Victorian Ombudsman make the comments that she has made, there is no doubt that these types of issues are the issues that deserve the attention of the house, and that is why the Opposition, through me, has moved a motion in that regard.

I look forward to it and hope that the Government will consider debating my motion as well as their sledge motion this week – another sledge motion and one that we see is entirely to cover the fact that the schedule is so light on.