In Parliament

Motion: SEC Concurrent Debate



Thursday, 30 November 2023.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (10:18):

I move:

That the words ‘, and that general business, notice of motion 79,’ be inserted after the words ‘State Electricity Commission Amendment Bill 2023’.

Before I speak to the Amendment, I note that the Government has been so excited and so ready to debate the SEC Bills that they gave notice that we would this week and then shelved them. That is how ready the government was. That is how urgent the Government was to debate these Bills. Notice was given, and that is what is at the heart of what is being proposed to this House – a readiness and a Government ready to debate these Bills. In fact, the Government proposed to do so and then shelved them – not for two weeks, for two months. Had the Parliament debated them this week, we would have –

Mary-Anne Thomas: On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, as you instructed me, this is a very narrow procedural debate about debating concurrently two Bills that are before the house.

James NEWBURY: On the point of order, Deputy Speaker, it goes to the heart of the Government’s motion on the SEC Bills and the style of debate that will occur – the debate processes around that very matter.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The procedural debate in front of us is regarding the bringing together of the two Bills and now your Amendment. I would appreciate it if you would keep the procedural debate to that.

James NEWBURY: In relation to the amendment and item 79: item 79, for the house’s refresh, was:

That this House notes the importance of respecting the community and Parliament by transparently dealing with proposed Bills and … condemns the Minister for Energy and Resources for blatantly disregarding Victorians in the way she has refused to consult on the State Electricity Commission Amendment Bill 2023 and the Constitution Amendment (SEC) Bill 2023.

I note, to assist the House, that the government and the Minister have refused to provide any briefings on these two Bills, despite, to assist the House, the Secretary of the Department contacting the Minister, confirming that the Department is ready, willing and able to provide a briefing on those Bills. In relation to the Amendment that I have moved, going to the very substance of that Amendment, the Department has provided advice that the Minister has been advised by the Department that they have been ready, willing and able to provide briefings on these Bills, but the Minister has chosen not to provide them. It is outrageous that a Government would refuse after being advised by their own Department that the Department wanted to do so. How can the Government stand here today and say that not only are they ready to deal with these Bills – Bills that they have shelved, Bills that they are refusing to brief on, with two months delay – we now have to deal with those Bills concurrently? Why has the Government moved a motion to deal with those Bills concurrently? It has nothing to do with anticipation. The Government does not want to deal with these Bills separately because they do not want to provide two opportunities for the House to deal with these issues and deal with them in their substance. That is why the Government does not want to –

Mary-Anne Thomas: On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, once again, I think that we are seeing from the Manager of Opposition Business –

James NEWBURY: What is the point of order?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Without assistance, Member for Brighton.

Mary-Anne Thomas: Thank you. Can I get it out, please?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Through the Chair, Leader of the House. Without assistance, Member for Brighton.

Mary-Anne Thomas: The point of order is that the Manager of Opposition Business is misleading the House in the assumptions that he is making about the –

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is not a point of order, Leader of the House.

James NEWBURY: The constant interjections are proof positive of how the Government is trying to stop the Opposition putting the point in terms of its opposition to what is being proposed. The Clerks have not provided advice to the opposition that there is any requirement to debate the Bills in this way, and wewill be opposing it.