Leader of the Opposition

Thursday, 6th September 2018

Debate resumed.

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) (14:03:23) — I suppose this is just another example that if you cannot table documents, if you cannot get your process right to table the correct documents, how can you actually run this state? I think that is where the Premier has been found wanting. This has been an absolute shemozzle of a process. He has botched the whole process of how these documents have been tabled. As I said earlier in my contribution, there are over 200 people who work over in the Premier’s office. Given the fact that they have had six months to go through these papers and make sure the right papers are being tabled, it defies logic that we now have the case where people’s personal details have been released with those documents.

The Deputy Premier has moved this motion and the Premier is defending his actions on these documents being tabled. Neither of those two people could lie straight in bed. We have a woman whose private financial and medical details were published in the government document dump, and the Premier
actually went out this morning and told reporters at 9.20 a.m. that:

‘We’ve apologised to the person involved.’

Asked if he had spoken to the woman, Mr Andrews added: ‘I’ve not spoken to the person involved but I believe departmental officials and people from my office have’.

This person, who has had her personal financial and health details and her daughter’s name and the address where they live released in this dump from the government, had not been spoken to as the Premier said. The Premier just cannot be believed in the things that he says in this house or in the public arena. He said at 9.20 this morning that he had had that person spoken to, but that particular lawyer has told the Herald Sun:

… she had not spoken directly to anyone from the government until lunchtime …

So the Premier was out there at 9.20 this morning saying that this person has been spoken to — he gave a definite statement that this person had been spoken to —

Mr T. Smith — He’s a grubby liar.

Ms Neville — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, as you know, a word has just been used that is unparliamentary, and I ask you to get the member to withdraw that, please.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McGuire) — There is unparliamentary language being used across the chamber. I would ask for no interjections.

Mr WALSH — A lie is a lie. It cannot be taken back. The Premier told reporters —

Honourable members interjecting.

Mr WALSH — I am not allowed to call him a liar; I am allowed to say there was a lie. I am allowed to use the word ‘lie’, Acting Speaker.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McGuire) — I would think to be cautious on what is unparliamentary language and just to caution you.

Mr WALSH — Well, in all fairness, Acting Speaker, perhaps some other people should have been cautious with people’s private details and how they actually released them. Let us call a spade a spade in what is really going on here. This is about people’s private details being put up on a website. You are defending the indefensible on this particular issue.

Mr R. Smith interjected.

Ms Neville — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, I ask the member for Warrandyte to withdraw his comment about me, please.

Mr R. Smith — I withdraw.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McGuire) — The member for Warrandyte has withdrawn. The Leader of The Nationals to continue and to be heard in silence.

Mr WALSH — We have this confected motion from the Deputy Premier before the house, this confected outrage about what has gone on, trying to defend the indefensible of releasing the personal details of a whole heap of people in Victoria, particularly a woman, a single mum, and her seven‑year‑old daughter. It is absolutely disgusting what has gone on here, and we have got those on the other side of the house standing up and defending that, saying that somehow it is everyone else’s fault.

It is the Premier who actually demanded that these papers be released. It is the Premier who ordered the Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet to actually release these papers. It is the Premier’s fault that these papers are out there. It is the Premier who stood in front of the media pack at 9.20 this morning, saying, ‘We have apologised to the person involved’, and that is not true. That is just not true, and that is the issue.

The Minister for Police may take exception to the words about whether the Premier lied or the Premier did not lie. The fact is he did not tell the truth. He actually told the reporters that he had made an apology to this particular person, and that person has said, ‘I have not been spoken to by anyone. I have actually been in court and I could not be contacted’. So she had not been spoken to. She had not been spoken to until 1.00 p.m. There is actually quite a lapse of time between 9.20 this morning and 1.00 p.m.

If you are going to go out and say you have apologised to someone — if you are going to finally actually own up that you have stuffed up and you are going to apologise to someone — at least have the courtesy to actually do what you have said you are going to do. I would guarantee standing here that the Premier has not actually spoken to that person and that he has delegated that to one of those 200 minions that work in the department who were too lazy to actually read those papers before they were tabled.

The Premier says, ‘I take responsibility for everything that happens on my watch’. If the Premier is going to take responsibility for everything that happens on his watch, I would have thought the Premier might have had the decency to pick the phone up and talk to that particular woman and say, ‘I apologise’. It is not hard.

Ms Allan — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, I appreciate that contributions on these sorts of substantive motions can be a little bit wideranging. However, the motion does not concern the actions of the Premier. The motion is clearly about the actions of the Leader of the Opposition. We have extended a fair bit of —

Honourable members interjecting.

Ms Allan — Your tiresome repetitiveness is so predictable.

Acting Speaker, we have given the Leader of The National Party, as the lead speaker, quite a bit of leeway so far in the debate. With the final 7 minutes that he has available to him, perhaps he can come back to the matter that is before the house on the censure motion, which is about the actions of the Leader of the Opposition, not about the actions of the Premier.

Mr WALSH — On the point of order, Acting Speaker, we sat here during the contributions by the Leader of the House and the Deputy Premier, where they somehow confected that this motion and the fact that they dumped 80 000 pages of documents that contain personal details of people unrelated to this case was somehow this side of the house’s fault for their mistake. The Leader of the House is just trying to continue to run that debate that somehow their mistakes are someone else’s fault. One of the responsibilities of being in this place and one of the responsibilities of being a minister is to take responsibility for what you are supposed to do.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McGuire) — Just around this, I would invite the Leader of The Nationals to come back to the motion.

Honourable members interjecting.

Mr R. Smith — You shouldn’t be here, mate. You should be out of here, you thief!

Mr WALSH — The motion talks about repaying taxpayers money, misconduct in public —

Mr Nardella — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, I want the honourable member for Warrandyte to withdraw.

Mr R. Smith — Was I talking to you? Did I say ‘the member for Melton’? If you are assuming that ‘thief’ applies to you —

Mr Clark — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, standing order 120 relates to objection to words used in debate. The member for Warrandyte is not taking part in the debate at present; the Leader of The Nationals is. I submit that the point of order is out of order.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McGuire) — I did not hear the words, so I think we will continue with the Leader of The Nationals.

Mr WALSH — The censure motion from the Deputy Premier talks about the repaying of money and misconduct in public office. I would put to this house that it is actually the Deputy Premier of this state who is guilty of the offences he is talking about. It is actually his six ministerial colleagues who are under police investigation who are guilty of these particular things. I think the motion before the house, as I have said, is a confected motion to cover up for the rorting, for the misappropriation of funds and for the illegal activities of those on the other side. As I said when we started this debate, to have six ministers of the Andrews government actually under active police investigation, including the Attorney‑General, including the Minister for Police —

Ms Allan — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, there are about 3½ minutes available for the Leader of The Nationals to actually address the motion that is before the house. The motion before the house is about the actions of the Leader of the Opposition, and I would ask you to bring him back to addressing that motion.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr McGuire) — I would invite the Leader of The Nationals to come back to the motion.

Mr WALSH — I am very happy to talk about the issues that the Deputy Premier raised about criminal misconduct and the repaying of money. Perhaps the Attorney‑General would like to repay the $1 million of taxpayers money he used to fight the Ombudsman to cover up the red shirts rorts. If we are talking about repaying money and if we are talking about the words that are actually in the motion that the Leader of the House talks about, let us talk about the Andrews government and let us talk about the Attorney‑General spending $1 million of taxpayers money to fight the Ombudsman — to take the Ombudsman all the way to the High Court to stop her investigating the red shirts rorts.

Let us talk about those things if you want to talk about the things that matter to people in Victoria. The thing that most people are upset about — apart from the Country Fire Authority, apart from some of the issues around cost of living and crime — and the thing that people talk to me about is that they actually found the fact that the Labor Party took $380 000 of parliamentary money to use in the red shirts campaign to electioneer absolutely offensive. They found it even worse that the Attorney‑General would actually use $1 million of taxpayers money to fight the Ombudsman, an independent officer of this Parliament who is charged with investigating these things — that the top lawmaker of this state would spend $1 million of taxpayers money trying to stop the Ombudsman doing their job. That is what people find offensive. They are the things that people actually want to talk about. It is not about the confected motion from the Deputy Premier here about something that has moved on years and years ago.

Ms Allan interjected.

Mr WALSH — The Leader of the House might laugh about this.

Ms Neville — I do not think the criminal code sees it that way.

Mr WALSH — The Minister for Police talks about the criminal code. It is a pity there was not some decency on the other side of the house when it came to the criminal code in relation to having ministers investigated by the police and having Labor Party staffers arrested by the police and interviewed. We had a dawn raid where red shirts staffers were arrested and interviewed by police, and we actually had the state director and the deputy state director of the Labor Party here in Victoria go on social media, bagging the police — criticising the police for doing their job.

Somehow there is this Chinese wall between the police minister and the commissioner so she can still do her job while people are being investigated. There is this Chinese wall there so she can actually continue with her job. Labor Party officials in this state can criticise the police for doing their job while she is still the police minister. I think those are the issues that are important for people and not this confected motion from the Deputy Premier of this state, trying to throw even more mud around to cover up for the rorts by his Premier and his government and for their having their snouts in the trough — on the taxpayer of Victoria.


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