‘GOVERNMENT BUSINESS PROGRAM’.
Tuesday, 7 February 2023.
Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (15:25):
I would like to start on a point of unity and concur with the comments from the Leader of the House.
It is so incredibly awing as you walk into this place, as you walk into the building and the surrounds, and you know that your community has elected you and offered you the incredible privilege to represent your community in this place. And as you walk in you meet and see the wonderful staff in this place; they are the first thing you see as you come into this building. You interact with the
incredible staff. I know that it is something the new Members have spoken to me about, and I remember myself coming in as a new Member, meeting the staff as they greet you on the way in and as you work through your position in this place, the various Departments and areas, the advice they give you, or as you come across people who look after the offices and look after the corridors of this building. When the chamber sleeps, when the Parliament is not sitting, they are here, and it was incredible not only to walk into this building but also to reconnect with those Parliamentary staff members who have been here over summer making sure this place works and making sure that our offices, for those that have been privileged enough to return, are ready. These things do not just happen, and I put on record our thanks to the staff of this place.
But also, to meet the new Members of this place and talk to them about their perspectives on both sides of the Chamber, all sides of the Chamber, their communities’ wants and wishes – it is an incredible honour to talk to the new members about that. As the Leader of the House said, we will have the great privilege of hearing their first thoughts, their first contributions in this place, and
I would certainly encourage all of this place and my colleagues especially to come in and listen to the new members of all parties, to hear their perspective, the perspective of their community, because it is a humbling privilege. I remember very, very well, as I stood up in the back corner and gave my first speech, the honour of talking about the wants and wishes of my community in this place.
I also would like to note the comments and speak to the motion moved by the Leader of the House in relation to standing orders and adopting Sessional Orders. I know that we will have a more substantive debate later in the afternoon, but it is true that we need to look at the Standing Orders and Sessional Orders of this place and say, ‘Could we do it better? Could we represent the communities better in the way that this house operates? Are there ways that we can do things differently, that we can modernise, while keeping the traditions of this great place? Can we do that?’ I welcome the Government’s moving for an inquiry into these issues. I think it is important for this place to consider, and I think it is important to consider some of the findings of some of the committees over time on how this house operates. I know there have been some wonderful suggestions put by committees that have not been picked up. They would enable this place to connect better with the community and allow greater debate and opportunities for different types of debate, and you need only look at Parliaments around Australia to see the other ways that you can do things.
So, I finish where I started by saying that we welcome the opportunity for new Members to deliver their inaugural speeches and to hear what they have to say on behalf of those communities, and the Opposition will not be opposing the Government Business Program.