Joint Sitting of Parliament - Legislative Council Vacancy
31st August 2016
Legislative Council vacancy
Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) — I move:
That the words ‘later this day’ be omitted with the view of inserting in their place the word ‘immediately’.
The amendment is quite self‑explanatory. It is almost Groundhog Day today: we had this debate two weeks ago almost to the minute. The fact that the Leader of the House believes that she needs more time to view the message from the upper house is, I think, just a stalling tactic. We clearly know what the message is about. We had a very lengthy debate about it; actually it was not that lengthy because the government cut the debate short two weeks ago when we talked about these particular issues.
What I hear constantly from the other side of the house is: ‘Let Gavin Jennings back in and we’ll deal with this’. The two issues are not related at all. I think the members on the other side, particularly some of the rabble on the backbench who want to interject about these things, do themselves a significant disservice by showing their ignorance of the parliamentary process and the just and right process in dealing with these particular issues. The two issues are not linked at all, and while the government tries to link them it is going to get nowhere in this particular debate.
Can I remind the Leader of the House that the people of South Eastern Metropolitan Region still have a member of Parliament. They still have a member of Parliament’s office within that particular electorate. They still have a member of Parliament who has staff there to service the constituent issues of that particular electorate. There is an office and there are staff. The office is actually open, so those people do have parliamentary representation from a constituent service point of view.
The Leader of the Government in the upper house has a very clear choice: if he wants to fully represent the people of South Eastern Metropolitan Region, all he has to do is present the documents to the Council that he has been asked to. It is a very simple solution for the leader in the upper house that he actually complies with the order of the upper house. We actually have standing orders, we have debates, we have votes for motions to be passed that should be adhered to. The upper house went through that particular process: they had the debate, they had the motion, and the Leader of the Government in the upper house was suspended for not complying with an order of the upper house.
Mr Pearson interjected.
Mr WALSH — For the member for Essendon’s benefit, the length of penalty is irrelevant. It is an issue for the upper house. What we are dealing with in the motion before the house now is to have a joint sitting so that the new member for Northern Victoria Region can actually take his place in the upper house. For the people of Northern Victoria Region to have that representation they need the member to be sworn in, to have his office, to have his staff, to have an email address and to have a telephone number so he can actually service the people of Northern Victoria Region. The Leader of the Government in the upper house as a member for South Eastern Metropolitan Region can still do all those things. That is a very significant difference.
As I said, the rebels on the backbench who want to tie these two issues together do not understand that we are actually not comparing apples with apples. I would urge those on the other side to reconsider their position that they took in the last sitting week in opposing the joint sitting and actually support my amendment that this motion is dealt with immediately. We can actually have a joint sitting, either this evening or tomorrow evening, so Luke O’Sullivan can take up his justifiable place in the upper house. The proper process has been followed up to this point. There are those now that want to use political blackmail for a totally separate issue around this issue. I condemn them if they do not support my motion, because they are just showing how ignorant they are of the processes of this house and how disrespectful they are to the people of Northern Victoria Region.
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