Parliament

Production of documents

Thursday, 6th September 2018

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) (10:04:40) — I would like to move an amendment to the motion, please. I move:

That all the words after ‘That’ be omitted with the view of inserting in their place the words: ‘so much of the orders of the house of 29 March and 23 August 2018 related to the production of documents under standing order 171 be rescinded —

(1)   so far as to stop the documents being tabled and published;

(2)   the house orders that those documents be removed from the records of the Assembly; and

(3)   the protection provided by Constitution Act 1975 to the publication of those documents remains’.

The reason that I have moved this amendment is that the documents were tabled under a motion, under the hand and under the instructions of the Premier of this state. The Premier of this state has apparently given an instruction to the head of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) that ‘you will break conventions and you will hand these papers over under my instructions’. The head of the DPC is using that excuse as the reason that he has broken all these conventions. My advice to the head of the DPC would be that he should actually go and do the company directors course for a start. It is explained to everyone who does the company directors course, which I did years ago, that if you are part of a company, if you are part of a board or if you are part of an organisation where you believe something that is wrong is being done, you do your best to correct that wrong and at the end of the day if that wrong is going to be perpetrated, you actually resign your position.

Ms Green interjected.

The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Yan Yean is warned.

Mr WALSH — You have the courage and the strength of your convictions to actually resign your position. That is what the head of the DPC did not do. He is doing the dog‑ate‑my‑homework excuse around this particular issue by saying he was told by the Premier he had to break convention and produce these particular documents.

But more importantly, Speaker, I am actually moving this amendment so you as the Speaker do not have to sit down and read 80 000 pages of documents. What this motion does is say that you as the Speaker will be responsible for every single one of those 80 000 pages of documents that have been tabled, and I actually do not think you should have to have that responsibility.

This is two motions. This is the instruction of the Premier of this state. He is the person that everyone in Victoria looks to for leadership of this state, to actually set the standard, the tone and the integrity of this state, and he has failed all Victorians on this particular issue. He is now going, ‘I’ll handball it to you, Speaker. You’ll actually have to fix up my particular mess here’. Now, I know you cannot say anything from the chair, but I would imagine that you have got better things to do with your time than to personally read 80 000 pages of documents that you are now going to have to do, because this is about giving you as the Speaker the responsibility for what goes on in this house with those particular documents.

What we have actually seen with the indecent haste from this government to table these documents defies logic. The Premier has known since 28 March, when this first motion was passed, that they were going to table these documents. The Premier of this state actually has a record number of staff in his office. As I understand it, there is something like 200 staff who work in the Premier’s office. There are more staff in the Premier’s office than there are in the Prime Minister of Australia’s office. If the Premier actually did have the decency to get his staff to actually check that these documents were right, why should he now make you read 80 000 pages of documents? In that indecent haste, even though there was a lot of time, all of a sudden there was a truck coming across from over the road, box after box, and all the TV cameras were lined up. The Premier, the Premier’s department and his staff should have actually made sure these documents were the correct documents that they were tabling.

How can Victorians believe that the Premier of this state is fit to govern and to make all the decisions around what happens in Victoria when he cannot actually get the tabling of documents right? This was actually done under the Premier’s hand. We have had all sorts of excuses this morning around what has happened. You tabled 80 000 documents you have not read. You tabled personal details, bank details, childcare details, medical records, mobile phone numbers and the personal address of a single mother who is a lawyer, who has been involved in court cases, and no‑one knows what might have come out of those particular things. All of her personal details are up online. And what did we have the Deputy Premier say? ‘It is unfortunate’. If saying this is unfortunate is an apology, I would hate to see it if something absolutely life‑threatening happened to someone as a result of the fact that these documents have been released. To say that something is unfortunate is just, I think, an underwhelming apology, if you can even call it an apology.

What really concerns Victorians around this particular issue is that the government has collected a whole heap of data and personal details from people right across Victoria. Pick My Project is where people log on and vote for a particular project in their communities, and you have got to put all your personal details in. So the government now has the personal details of thousands and thousands of people out of Pick My Project. What is going to happen to those personal details? We have a Premier who will stoop to new lows. We have a Premier who will throw anyone under the bus for his own personal political gain. So we have got all these people across Victoria who have legitimately logged on to support their communities and to support their particular projects, and the government, the Labor Party, now has all their details, which it could very easily just chuck out into the public arena, as it has done in this particular case.

We also have the Victorian Energy Compare website, with a $50 bribe from the government to collect data. It has a 50‑buck bribe to get data so the government, the Labor Party, has all of the people’s personal details around that particular website as well. What we have seen happen in this case is a sign of what could happen in the future, when the Labor Party runs rampant and treats people’s personal details with a total lack of respect and integrity. It will do anything for political gain.

I believe the Leader of the House’s motion obfuscates the government’s responsibility to manage and fix up its own mess and lands it squarely at your feet, Speaker, and I do not believe, to be fair, that you should have that responsibility, which is why I have moved the amendment that stands in my name. It should be the government’s job to fix up this mess. These papers should be withdrawn. The 200 staff who sit down in the Premier’s office, scheming and plotting every day how they can screw over Victorians, should actually do some work and go through those papers and make sure what is being tabled is correct.

Honourable members interjecting.

Mr WALSH — There is laughter on the other side of the house. They think this is an absolute joke. It is not a joke. This goes to the absolute integrity of how the government is running this state, and I am afraid the Premier has failed Victorians. I urge those on the other side of the house to accept the amendment moved in my name, fix up this mess they have got, go away, do the work they should have done over the last six months, go through these particular pieces of paper, and if they still want to table them after that, come back with a new motion with the documents fixed up to make sure that people’s personal details are not in them.

As I said, this is a Premier who will do anything for political gain in this state. He has potentially endangered the lives of people with these documents that have been released. I urge those on the other side of the house to support our amendment so that these issues can be resolved, so we can protect people’s lives, and so that there can be some integrity brought back to the processes of government in this state, and particularly some integrity brought back to the processes of this house. I just do not think it is right and fair to have you, as Speaker, reading 80 000 pages and taking personal responsibility for something the Premier has bungled himself.

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