In Parliament

Motion - Government Business Program



Tuesday, 16 May 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (12:37):

We have seen today proof positive that the Government Business Program is nothing more than high farce.

For the fourth week in a row, the Government has been exposed as having no business and no legislative program and is having to effectively filibuster and waste the Parliament’s time because it cannot get its act together.

We saw that when the Leader of the House stood to speak on her own motion and had to read verbatim the talking points of one of the Bills that is going to be debated this week. She had to read the Government’s talking points because there was so little to say about what the Government is doing this week in the Parliament. The Leader of the House was reading the talking points and
effectively debating the talking points of the Bill because there is so little being done.

This is the fourth week in a row where the Government has run out of anything to do and is filling the Parliament’s time with sledge motions, and we have gone from one sledge motion a week to now two. I mean, how long is it going to take? We have got two new Bills introduced today, but how long will it take before this House is convened to just debate the government’s sledge motions?

We know that the Government has not got any work to do. You could complete the work of what the Government is proposing in a day. You could easily move the guillotine from Thursday, and that is something the house should consider.

Should the house consider amending the Government Business Program and moving the debate? Effectively what the government is doing is filling the Parliament’s time because it has run out of anything to do, and it is using particular parliamentary tactics to cover that fact.

Today we have seen two bills introduced, which will fill an entire week – two bills –

Juliana Addison interjected.

The SPEAKER: The member for Wendouree!

James NEWBURY: Last sitting week we saw the Government ram through one of its bills and only allow a 13-day community consultation, when we know that the Westminster system is built around a full consultation time, and that is a debate that this House had.

How shameful it was to see the Government ram through that Bill and not allow the community the consultation that it deserved.

The Government is using parliamentary tactics to be tricky – to cover the fact that it does not have a full agenda.

We heard the Leader of the House refer to the fact that we will be debating two motions – two sledge motions – this week, one of them being an education motion.

Let me tell you, I look forward to the opportunity to talk about how little funding is provided to Brighton. When you look at funding provided on the government’s own website, there is one big carve out in education funding to schools, and guess where that is? If you look at the map, there is a black swan on the map – a black swan area in the map of government funding – and that is in the electorate of Brighton. We have a school in my electorate of Brighton where kids with hearing deficiencies are being forced to learn in a demountable next to a train line because the Government refuses to invest money in kids –

Members interjecting.

James NEWBURY: You were reading out direct notes, so please!

The SPEAKER: Order! The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat.

Mary-Anne Thomas: On a point of order, Speaker, I ask that you remind theManager of Opposition Business that this is a procedural debate, and he is not to debate motions that are on the notice paper.

Members interjecting.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Eildon is not in her allocated seat. I remind members that this is a very narrow debate. I have allowed some expansion on that debate this afternoon, but I do ask Members to speak to the Government Business Program.

James NEWBURY: I understand why the Government would be embarrassed by that point. The Government Business Program is hiding the fact that the Government does not have an agenda. It is using parliamentary tactics to be tricky and wasting the Parliament’s time with what are effectively sledge motions every week, and it is a disgrace.

We will be opposing the program.