Danny O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (11:03): I am pleased to speak on this and reiterate our objection to the shortening of the consultation period. If the member for Bentleigh wants to get on with the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Salute Prohibition) Bill 2023, he should have spoken to his side of government and said, make sure we adhere to the forms, traditions and processes of the house. Fourteen days has been the tradition of this house for 90 years, as the member for Eildon said, and what this is about is a complete disrespect for this chamber, disrespect for the stakeholders involved in this particular piece of legislation and disrespect for the people of Victoria.
We are seeing it here today again. Despite what we said, the member for Brighton and I get very disappointed. We spoke yesterday on the government business program, and we were surprised that at long last we actually had three bills to debate. After an entire year where we have been filling the government business program with motions, we have some bills this week. But one day later they have reverted to type. They are so disorganised, this government, that they are having to break the conventions of this house and shorten the period of consultation.
To highlight just how all over the shop the government is, not just on this management of the house but on indeed these reforms that the government is talking about, these reforms were actually announced on 16 July by the then Premier. That was more than three months ago. The government has had plenty of time to prepare this first tranche of the legislation. But what are we seeing in the interim – we are seeing now the government trying to rush this legislation through. Just last month stakeholders received an email from the department about this legislation six weeks after the Premier had made the announcement about these reforms. It indicated an attached policy paper, and it said this paper will:
… assist with the early stages of policy development.
How can you have the department saying they are trying to help with the early stages of policy development six weeks after the Premier has already announced what the government is going to do? It is just emblematic of what a chaotic government this mob is in terms of actually introducing policy, giving the community the opportunity to understand it and giving stakeholders the opportunity to provide their feedback, and now we get this disrespect for the chamber and we get this disrespect for the stakeholders and disrespect for the people of Victoria through abusing the forms of the house, just because it is so disorganised that it does not have a legislative agenda to go ahead with.
I would like to take up the member for South Barwon’s commentary. The government was elected to govern; it was not elected to rule. It is not here as a dictatorship. It is not here is an opportunity to say, ‘Well, we’ve got all the numbers, so we’ll just do whatever we want’. This is a Parliament.
Sam Groth interjected.
Danny O’BRIEN: As the member for Nepean indicated a moment ago, this is the people’s chamber. This is the chamber where the people of Victoria get to have their say – not where the government simply rules over us from on high. It is an opportunity for the government to share with the people of Victoria its agenda and to socialise its ideas and indeed its legislation. We get this government time and time again abusing the forms of the house and abusing the traditions that the Parliament has adopted for decades, and now we have to put up with this rubbish because the government is so disorganised. They are so disorganised on that side that they cannot actually deal with this properly.
The government should treat this Parliament, this chamber and it should treat the stakeholders involved in this industry, the entire industry, those who have businesses that are involved in gaming and also those in the gaming reform area – they need the opportunity to properly access the legislation, to assess it and to understand what the implications of it are, because this is not simply about a change in opening hours. There is more to this legislation, which was not previously announced by the government until a press release yesterday. What the government is doing is a sign of its chaotic nature, its disorganisation and indeed its disrespect for this chamber. I strongly oppose the government’s decision to try and short-circuit the consultation period on this legislation. As the shadow minister, I want the opportunity to look at it properly. The government is in chaos, and I do not support the adjournment of this for a 13-day period.
Assembly divided on motion: