In Parliament

Speech - Government Business Program Motion


Tuesday, 10 November 2020.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (13:28):

I am very pleased to rise for the first time to speak on the government business program. Parliamentary procedure is something that has interested me for a long time.

In fact, in a past life I for a number of years ran the Federal Parliament for the Liberal Party and the State Parliament thereafter.

This Government Business Program shows how pathetic and disorganised this Parliament is. It shows how directionless this Government is. It shows how little substance and how little agenda this Government has, with bills that would not even be debated in the main Federal Chamber.

In fact, only this morning the Government approached the Opposition and sought assistance because they were not able to fill the speakers list for the rest of the day on the Consumer and Other Acts Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2020.

They sought help in bringing on another Bill today to debate. Normally this Chamber is not knee-deep in substance. I would say to Victorians: when you watch the Chamber later today, certainly do not judge us by the contributions of the Labor backbench on this one Bill. The debate on this Bill later today is going to be really looking at the dregs of the contributions in this Chamber.

This Government has used Parliament for two reasons, and they have used Parliament for only two reasons. They have used Parliament to extend the Premier’s power, and we have seen that time and time again over recent months. They have haphazardly brought Parliament back to extend the Premier’s power.

Secondly, they have used it to rubberstamp the limit of the Government’s taxpayer-funded credit card. Those are the only two reasons why this Chamber has been brought back. When we look at the sitting days, at the number of sitting days the Parliament is sitting this year, the number of days we are sitting this year is less than the last four election years. It is extraordinary.

A member interjected.

Mr NEWBURY: Compare it to the other Chambers around Australia. The Commonwealth, 58 days; New South Wales, in the 40s; South Australia, in the 40s; Tasmania, in the 40s. We are sitting at less than 40 days this year. There is no doubt that this is the laziest Chamber in the nation—30-something days, it is embarrassing.

We know, Leader of the House, why the focus has not been on this Chamber, because someone has been spending more time having quiet coffees in the corners of Parliament House. Their supporters are talking them up because they share the same initials as the Prime Minister of New Zealand. The woman who could save Victoria, the Leader of the House, who has been having quiet coffees around this Parliament more so than—

Members interjecting.

Mr NEWBURY: Absolutely legitimate, Manager of Opposition Business. I will pass you a copy. Having coffees around Parliament House with her backbench colleagues instead of running this Chamber. This Chamber is sitting haphazardly, it is sitting for the purposes of extending the Premier’s power, it is sitting for the purpose—

Ms Thomas: On a point of order, Deputy President, as much as we are enjoying listening to the Member for Brighton make a complete fool of himself, he is not talking to the Government Business Program.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no point of order. The Member’s time has expired.