Second Reading

Danny O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (10:47): I rise to support the Manager of Opposition Business in opposing this 13-day adjournment, and I say to those over there, you cannot be surprised. Every time in the last Parliament –

The SPEAKER: Through the Chair, member for Gippsland South.

Danny O’BRIEN: Speaker, every time in the last Parliament the government tried to do this in breach of the forms of the house, of the conventions of the house, we took objection. So do not be surprised now when we do it again. It is disappointing to us all that the member for South Barwon has vacated the chamber, but I would like to take him up on the point that apparently we cannot get this done in 13 days. We are debating this week an entire piece of legislation that was passed in 2021 and was due to come into effect in June this year, 2023. This week we are debating legislation to defer that for another 12 months because the government has not got around to consulting people about it. And you are complaining that we cannot do this in 13 days.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Gippsland South, through the Chair.

Danny O’BRIEN: They are complaining, Speaker, that we cannot do this in 13 days when this very week the government is deferring legislation for another 12 months because they have not done the consultation with the community. Yet we get this piece of legislation –

Will Fowles: That’s not right.

Danny O’BRIEN: ‘That’s not right’ – the member for Ringwood says that is not right. That is what the bill is. Go and have a look at the bill. Didn’t you speak on the government business program this week?

The SPEAKER: Order! Through the Chair, member for Gippsland South.

Danny O’BRIEN: Speaker, I apologise, but it is very frustrating when government members do not know their own business program and do not know their own legislation and they complain that we are taking up valuable time. We have had 14 speakers on the water legislation, which is pretty much about the River Murray. Not one government member represents that area, and we have got 14 speakers on it. The government is so bereft of ideas –

Will Fowles: On a point of order, Speaker, in following the framing set by the member for Brighton, I think this is a very narrow debate. The member for Gippsland South is now spending a great deal of time talking about a bill that is not this bill and talking about a motion that is not this motion. I would ask you to bring him back to the subject of this debate.

The SPEAKER: The member for Gippsland South will come back to the motion before the house.

Danny O’BRIEN: Thank you, Speaker. I would like to talk about this bill, but I do not yet know anything about it. It has just been presented to this Parliament. The conventions and the forms of this chamber are that members of the Parliament and members of the public are given 14 days to consider legislation before it is debated, and there are very good reasons for that. This legislation is 29 pages. It amends four different acts relating to gambling, including the Casino Control Act 1991, the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998. These are big, important issues, and they involve potentially billions of dollars when it comes to the wagering licence, so these are very, very, very important issues that need to be given full consideration.

I say again the government should not be surprised that we would object. We have consistently objected to the inability of the government to manage its own business program going forward and it having to force the Parliament to truncate the process that has been agreed and accepted for many, many hundreds of years in the Westminster system and certainly for the time Parliament has been operating in this place. It is, as I said, a result of the lack of agenda and a lack of respect that the government pays to the Parliament in giving people the opportunity to fully consider things and the opportunity for me as the Shadow Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation – and potentially the Shadow Minister for Racing and no doubt the Shadow Treasurer might be interested and may want to consult various stakeholders on this. It is a due consideration of the forms of the house and a little bit of respect to the house to say, ‘Hey, we haven’t got our act together. We’ll give it 14 days as we normally do.’ Let us not just rush things through for the sake of the government’s agenda and make it easier for them.

I say again it is not through there being too much on the agenda. The two bills on the government business program this week are both bills that are basically revisitations of previous bills from last term, and we have got the government putting up motions like the SEC motion to fill gaps. So it is not like the government has got so much on that it has to rush this through. This should not be supported, this 13-day motion.

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