International Women’s Day

Business of the House 

Mr D O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (12:30): Look at the ecstasy over there. The government members are ecstatic about this government business program. It is a wonderful week that we have got here. I follow the previous member in saying this is a momentous occasion for the Leader of the House, because she loves it when the opposition does not oppose the government business program. There is not much to oppose this week, I have to say. But anyway, I am pleased to hear that government members are ecstatic. The member for Hawthorn looks ecstatic. Look at him—he is very excited. The member for Cranbourne, they are ecstatic. I noticed the member for Cranbourne wearing purple, and I have to wish everybody a happy International Women’s Day.

Ms Allan: Have to or want to? Come on.

Mr D O’BRIEN: I want to. I do want to. I do want to wish everyone a happy International Women’s Day. I am actually a little bit embarrassed, because clearly I did not get the memo about purple, and not only that, I am wearing the colours of the patriarchy as well, with an all-blue suit and an all-blue tie. I do apologise, but genuinely, happy International Women’s Day. I do wish everyone a happy International Women’s Day, particularly the minister sitting at the table, the Minister for Women. I hope everyone enjoys the day. But as the member for Ripon indicated, this would be—

Members interjecting.

Mr D O’BRIEN: You are not the Minister for Women?

Ms Allan interjected.

Mr D O’BRIEN: Leader of the House, happy International Women’s Day. We love debating the government business program with the Leader of the House. We do not often get this sort of interaction, so I am pleased to have it from her today.

It is also wonderful to be here in this chamber without masks—I have to add that. After the work that the Parliament and you, Speaker, have gone through through this pandemic, this is I think actually a significant advancement. I do note there are some members still wearing masks in the chamber, and that is absolutely fine. It is absolutely appropriate that people have the choice to do that. I myself am still in my 30-day period post a positive test, so I am still in that beautiful little—

Ms Ward: Bubble.

Mr D O’BRIEN: Bubble, thank you. That means that I cannot give it, I cannot get it—I am all good—but that runs out in a few days. But it is wonderful to be able to walk around this building without masks, and it is a further sign of us getting back to normal.

The member for Ripon did mention that it is a particularly light business program. I am looking forward, though, to the Conservation, Forests and Lands Amendment Bill 2022. This is legislation that has been some time in coming. Whilst we have some questions about how effective the bill will be, the intention of course is correct in that it hopefully will give us some certainty, particularly for our forest contractors in the timber industry, which is very important to my electorate. I know plenty of people who have been very frustrated at being locked out of their jobs, and so I look forward to the debate on that legislation. In addition, we have the Justice Legislation Amendment (Trial by Judge Alone and Other Matters) Bill 2022, and that is it—except not on the government business program is the Victoria Police Amendment Bill 2022 that we will be dealing with today. As has been mentioned, the opposition will be helping to facilitate its quick passage through here to address that issue.

But as the member for Ripon pointed out, what we also should have been debating this week is the housing tax. It just shows that when the government cannot tax it does not have any other ideas, and this is the outcome of that: we have got a very, very light government business program. We are well into the fourth quarter of the term now, and the government is running out of ideas like a car running out of fuel, slowing down with just these two bills this week. So for a government that prides itself on a progressive and full agenda, it is a pretty indicting government business program that indicates it is pretty light on. But anyway, as I said, there is nothing to necessarily oppose about the business program, so I look forward to debating it this week.

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