Electoral System Changes

Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 Council's Amendments

26 July 2018

Council’s amendments

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) (17:31:27) — I follow the Attorney‑General, who seems to have such great faith in the upper house. If I remember rightly, the Attorney‑General has just spent literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars taking the Ombudsman to court because he does not trust the upper house —

Ms Allan — On a point of order, Speaker, this is a very narrow debate on the question of time, and can you ask the Leader of the National Party to come back to the substance of the debate.

Honourable members interjecting.

Ms Allan — The more you tell me to sit down, the longer I might take, so thank you for that invitation. I would ask that the Leader of the National Party be brought back to the substance of the debate, which as I said is a very narrow question on time.

The SPEAKER — I ask the Leader of The Nationals to remain on the motion before the house.

Mr WALSH — Thank you, Speaker. As the Leader of the House did say, this is about whether this bill is dealt with now or whether it should be dealt with in the next sitting week. I am just amazed as to why this bill should be dealt with with indecent haste. Yes, we know our colleagues in the upper house do a very thorough job when they go through legislation, but there are, as has already been said, 50 amendments that lobbed back here about 20 minutes ago. I actually think if we are going to do our job — if we are going to do the job that we are elected to do and scrutinise legislation as it comes through this place — we deserve more time.

On behalf of Victorians, we are talking about spending $45 million worth of Victorian taxpayers money across each election cycle. This is a lot of money. It is a huge change to the electoral system here in Victoria, and to say at 5.30 p.m. on a Thursday night after the guillotine ‘We are going to deal with this major piece of legislation forthwith’ I think is a dereliction of our duty as legislators in this place. The people on this side of the house deserve the opportunity to go away and scrutinise this legislation and to actually marry up amendments with the legislation.

It is all very well to say you have got a bit of paper with four or five pages with the amendments and the clause numbers on it, but with all due respect to parliamentary counsel and to our upper house colleagues, there have been drafting mistakes when things have been done on the fly in the past. I think that is where we need the opportunity to go through this piece of legislation and actually have a look at it, because what will happen if it is rushed through tonight is we will find we are back in a few weeks time having to do house amendments because there is something that has not been done correctly. Except for the fact that the Labor Party wants to get a cheque in the mail out of this particular process, I do not see why it cannot wait till the next sitting week. What is the haste other than the Labor Party wanting some money out of this particular process? I would urge those in the house to vote against the Leader of the House’s motion to proceed with this bill forthwith, because I just think it is too important to rush it. I think particularly the lead speaker who has been dealing with this bill on our behalf deserves the courtesy of the time —

Ms Allan — Yes, because he extends it to so many others!

Mr WALSH — I think comments like that just cheapen the Leader of the House. They just trivialise and cheapen the way the Leader of the House is treating this house at this time. If the government wants to stay here for hours and go through this bill, clause by clause, so we have an opportunity to understand it, that is fine. We will stay here and we will do that. I think there is indecent haste being shown on this bill and a total lack of respect for the parliamentary process that we are elected to carry out. I would urge people in this house to vote against the Leader of the House’s motion.


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