Business Of The House

24 November 2015

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) — I rise on behalf of The Nationals to support the motion put forward by the Leader of the House in an amended form but also to support the amendment proposed by the manager of opposition business. The discussion that has taken place so far on how business on Thursday will work better has been productive. If you go out into the vestibule you will see that the emblem in the middle of the room says that in the counsel of many there is safety, and that can be extended to say there is also wisdom. I think that can equally be applied to the discussions that have happened between the opposition and the government on this issue. From the opposition’s point of view, I thank the member for Bayswater; Georgie Crozier, a member for Southern Metropolitan Region in the other place; and obviously the manager of opposition business, for the ideas they have put forward to make Thursday a better day than what was originally planned.

We all know what the issues around family violence are, and we all recognise the need to do something to improve the outcomes, particularly for women and children. I look forward to not only hearing the speakers who will be presenting on the floor of the chamber but also to the discussion that will come after that and, as the minister has just said, the royal commission report next year. I think it is incumbent on all of us in this place to look to making sure there are solutions, there are outcomes and there are improvements, particularly for women and children in this situation.

To come back to what the manager of opposition business was talking about, I would like to see the government support his amendment for us to sit on Friday. While Thursday is a critical day to do the things that have been talked about by a number of speakers, we also have responsibilities as members of Parliament. This week there are five pieces of legislation on the program. We currently have only two days to deal with those. A normal business week usually has five or six pieces of legislation on the program. Why do we not show some commitment to our role and come back to sit on Friday not only so that there is time to debate the pieces of legislation appropriately but also so that there is an opportunity for members to raise adjournment issues, make their members statements and ask their constituency questions — and for the government to be accountable in another question time for the week, as would be the case in a normal sitting week?

I support the motion put forward by the Leader of the House, but most importantly I also support the amendment put forward by the manager of opposition business that we should sit on Friday. I know some people are shaking their heads in wonder about that, but I think it is important that we do that. I think it would send the very important message to the people of Victoria who elect us and send us to this place that we are serious about our role, not only because of the business that would be conducted on Friday but by the fact that we are prepared to come back here on Friday and carry out our normal duties.


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