Agriculture

Rural Assistance Schemes Bill 2016

9th June 2016 - Second Reading

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) — I rise to make a contribution to debate on the Rural Assistance Schemes Bill 2016. I am not going to be lectured by the member for Yan Yean about anything to do with country Victoria. The member for Yan Yean is the one who has abandoned the Country Fire Authority (CFA). She spoke up passionately about the CFA 420 times before the dispute was there and where is she now? Absolutely mute — gagged by the Premier.

Ms Green — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, the member for Murray Plains has wrongly asserted that I have abandoned my commitment to the Country Fire Authority and been gagged. I take deep offence at that. I ask him to withdraw. I included in my adjournment debate last night why I have spoken very infrequently this year. It is because I had a hysterectomy on 19 April. I ask the member to withdraw.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Ms Thomson) — Order! The member for Murray Plains is to withdraw.

Mr WALSH — I have not done anything.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Ms Thomson) — Order! The practice in this house is that if a member takes offence, the member will withdraw. I ask the member for Murray Plains to withdraw.

Mr M. O’Brien — On the point of order, Acting Speaker, the member for Murray Plains, the Leader of The Nationals, put on the record the number of times the member for Yan Yean had referred to the Country Fire Authority prior to the CFA enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) dispute and then referred to the number of times that the member for Yan Yean had referred to the CFA after the CFA EBA dispute had begun. That is a matter of public record. The fact that the member for Yan Yean may be embarrassed by those matters being put on the public record and being amplified by the member for Murray Plains is absolutely no basis for the member for Murray Plains being required to withdraw. Otherwise, is reading matters from Hansard — —

The ACTING SPEAKER (Ms Thomson) — Order! The member for Malvern can take his seat. I have spoken to the Clerk in relation to this matter, and I will refer the matter to the Speaker.

Ms Green — I am sorry, Acting Speaker, the Speaker should be called — —

The ACTING SPEAKER (Ms Thomson) — Order! I advise the member for Yan Yean that we are calling the Speaker.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I have just been briefed by both the Acting Chair and the Clerk in terms of what has been going on. My understanding is that the honourable member for Murray Plains made a statement. The honourable member for Yan Yean has asked for that statement to be withdrawn. It is normal custom of the house that the honourable member who is asked to withdraw withdraws the comment. I would seek the assistance of the honourable member for Murray Plains to withdraw the comment as requested by the honourable member for Yan Yean.

Mr WALSH — Deputy Speaker, I said no more than was said in question time yesterday, and there was no offence taken at that time. I do not believe there should be offence taken at this time.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! What happened yesterday is irrelevant to what has happened today. The honourable member for Yan Yean has taken offence today. It has occurred as soon as the statement was made. It is therefore the appropriate process to ask the honourable member who has made the statement to withdraw. I again ask, respectfully, if the honourable member for Murray Plains will withdraw.

Honourable members interjecting.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! There is no point of order. I am asking the honourable
member — —

Honourable members interjecting.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I am not going to ask for advice from honourable members on my left. I am having a discussion with the honourable member for Murray Plains. I am asking him respectfully to withdraw.

Mr WALSH — Deputy Speaker, I am not going to withdraw.

Mr M. O’Brien — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, your words when you came into the chamber were that you have been briefed by the Acting Speaker and one of the clerks on what happened. So I understand that you did not hear the exchange yourself. You were not in the chamber yourself. You have not indicated that you were in your office listening to what happened. You have not taken up the opportunity when the manager of opposition business, or indeed I, rose to take points of order, or indeed given the member for Murray Plains the opportunity to explain what happened.

The fact is the member for Murray Plains put on the record publicly available facts about the member for Yan Yean, about the number of times she had referred to the CFA prior to the CFA enterprise bargaining agreement dispute and the number of times she has referred to them subsequent to the commencement of that dispute. While those facts may be embarrassing or awkward for the member for Yan Yean, if members of this house are now to be barred from referring to objective, identifiable facts contained in the Hansard of this place, then democracy is dead in this place.

Deputy Speaker, you should have heard from members before inviting the Leader of The Nationals to take any action given that you did not hear it yourself. You have not heard from members who are in the chamber on this side of the house, and it would be an absolute farce if objective facts contained in Hansard cannot be referred to in this house because certain members find them awkward or embarrassing.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! There is no point of order. I was briefed by both the Acting Chair and by the Clerk, who were in the chamber, and in actual fact it was confirmed by the honourable member for Murray Plains that he is not going to withdraw. That is the question, because a member of the house — —

Mr R. Smith interjected.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I will not take backchat. This is a very serious matter.

Honourable members interjecting.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! Unless the honourable member for Murray Plains takes — —

Mr R. Smith — You have lost control!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I have not lost control; I will be starting to throw out members quite shortly.

Debate interrupted.

 

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