Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Business of the house




Ms ALLAN (Bendigo East—Leader of the House, Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop) (12:15:435:): I move:

That, under standing order 94(2), the orders of the day, government business, relating to the following bills be considered and completed by 5.00 pm on Thursday, 9 June 2022:

Casino and Liquor Legislation Amendment Bill 2022

Child Employment Amendment Bill 2022

Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Bill 2022.

In commending this government business program through this motion to the house, I hope for its unanimous support and passage through the chamber this afternoon. I do note that each of these three bills carries significant reform or addresses significant areas of public policy that have a lot of interest from people outside of this chamber, and that is why I understand a significant part of the debating time available today will be dedicated to the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Bill 2022, in acknowledgement that this is a bill that is very important to many members of the chamber. It carries significant reform, and there will no doubt be a lot of interest from people outside of this chamber in how this debate is conducted.

I also note for completeness’s sake that the government intends to, where the opportunity arises, have the take-note motion that is on the notice paper on the fabulous 2022 budget that was handed down a month or so ago by the Treasurer and that that motion will be returned to over the course of the week in order for those members who have not had the opportunity to make their contributions supporting what is a tremendous budget—a lot to talk about—with record investments in health, education and a whole range of different areas. We want to make sure that members of this place also get the opportunity to speak on the 2022 budget.

I have some level of optimism that this motion will be supported, and in that spirit I will confine my remarks to commending the government business motion to the house.

Ms STALEY (Ripon) (12:18:078:): I can advise that on this occasion the Liberals and Nationals opposition will not be opposing the government business program, and I note that the government business program as proposed by the Leader of the House includes three bills: the Casino and Liquor Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, the Child Employment Amendment Bill 2022 and the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Bill 2022. As the Leader of the House has mentioned, there will be many people on our side of the chamber who want to make a contribution on all of these bills but particularly today on the Nazi symbol prohibition bill. This is something that we on this side of the chamber have called for for years, and it is something that we have taken great interest in. I know the member for Caulfield has joined with others across the chamber in working on this issue for many years, so we will have much to say on that one.

I also note that the Agriculture Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 has returned to this chamber with amendments, and while that is not on the government business program, it is something we will be debating this week through the week. We will have a couple of speakers who want to talk about those amendments, as I understand the minister does as well. So we will come to that when we come to it.

As we come also to the take-note motion, while the vast majority of members on this side of the house did speak on the budget, we welcome the opportunity to have the take-note motion and to have a second go, because there—

Ms Allan interjected.

Ms STALEY: The Leader of the House interjects that we cannot, but unfortunately for her one was a bill and this one is a motion, so all of those who have already spoken on the bill can now speak on the motion. As we had so many faults, errors and omissions in the budget that we were able to point out I know that on this side of the house there are many, many of my colleagues, if not all of them in fact—I suspect all of them—who would like a second go to discuss the many failings of this budget, so we will certainly be taking up those opportunities when the take-note motion comes on.

In conclusion, I do also want to recognise the platinum jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen and the celebrations that have been undertaken over the last three days in Great Britain and across the commonwealth. Her decades of service to the commonwealth and to Victoria are immense, and I put on record my thanks for her service.

I also wish to welcome back to the house the Speaker and look forward to his wise counsel and rulings going forward.

Mr FREGON (Mount Waverley) (12:21): I will just make a very quick contribution on the government business program, which obviously has my full support. The work of the Legal and Social Issues Committee in getting us towards the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Bill 2022 has been very important. I commend the work of the chairs at the time, the member for St Albans and the member for Caulfield. This is a very important bill that, as has been said before, everybody I think will wish to have their moment on.

Also the Child Employment Amendment Bill 2022 is very important for adding clarity, and I look forward to debating that one. With some of my experience in local martial arts clubs, with kids being a part of volunteering, it is very important to have some more clarity on that, and I think the members of that industry will be happy with the results there. I will also be looking to making my contribution on the budget because I did not quite get a chance last time, and we have so much to say about what a fantastic budget has been put down. I look forward to doing that, and I think with that brief contribution, we will get on with it.

Mr D O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (12:22): It is a pleasure to speak briefly on the government business program and to welcome you back to the chair, Speaker. We did miss you last week of course—

A member interjected.

Mr D O’BRIEN: There is no ulterior motive, Speaker, do not worry.

The government business program this week has some important legislation—obviously the Casino and Liquor Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, where the government continues to mop up from the royal commission. I would like to pay credit to the member for Euroa for the work that she has been doing as the Shadow Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation in relation to the broader issue and also the legislation no doubt coming forward this week. Likewise on the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Bill 2022, as the member for Ripon indicated, there will be quite a number of members on this side who want to speak. I will not be one of them on this occasion. I want to just place on record, though, my congratulations to the member for Caulfield in particular for his advocacy on this particular issue, which has been an issue for his community, for his electorate, and indeed for the wider Jewish community in Victoria. I congratulate him for his advocacy and indeed for bringing the coalition to a position of instituting the Nazi symbol ban, which is now going to be passed through this legislation. I wish him all the best. The third bill, the Child Employment Amendment Bill 2022, I will have more to say on when that bill comes up.

The member for Ripon talked about the take-note motion on the budget and how everyone was, on this side, excited to have another go. At the risk of it being a career-limiting move I might disagree slightly with the member for Ripon, and I am sure the member for Pascoe Vale will agree with me. We have just had what seems like the longest Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing process, and frankly I am pretty over the budget now. But there are still plenty of things—because unfortunately with the way the PAEC system works we often get limited time, which ministers are very adept at chewing up with longwinded answers. There is always something more to say on the budget, and I am sure there will be opportunities for us all to talk about that through the take-note motion as well. I do thank those above that the PAEC hearings are now finally complete, and those will be the last ones for this year. Someone pointed out to me yesterday that that particular inquiry was my 27th Public Accounts and Estimates Committee inquiry, so I think I have certainly done enough on that one.

I would like to echo your comments too, Speaker, about Queen Elizabeth, and at the risk of being a person named Daniel David O’Brien talking up the English monarch, the British monarch, my sincere congratulations and thanks to our Queen. She has been for all of us—in fact there are very few people for whom she has not been—a constant presence, given her 70 years on the throne. She is one of those people who will be remembered for her contribution to our community, to our commonwealth and indeed to the globe. Her steadfast devotion to duty is probably the most incredible thing that we can pay respect to, because through thick and thin, through various difficulties, through the famous annus horribilis that she has had—I think she has had more than one—with her family and other issues, she has been a great friend to Australia as well as the broader commonwealth. I certainly pay credit to her and thank her for the work that she has done for our community for a long time.

Mr FOWLES (Burwood) (12:26): It is my pleasure also to make a contribution on the government business program. Clearly the focus of proceedings today and perhaps into tomorrow will be the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Bill 2022. I think one of the things that interests me about that bill is the issue of the nomenclature we use in this place. The word ‘swastika’ I think has been widely used by many, including me, to describe the Nazi symbol, and it is as part of the journey of discovery in preparation for debating this bill later today that we have learned that that is in fact an incorrect term—that the word ‘swastika’ is in fact a Hindi term. It is not a German word, and it does not denote a German symbol. So we will be spending some time today, I suspect, talking about the Hakenkreuz and the significance of that particular symbol as compared with what has been known at times—and has been mistranslated in fact—as the swastika.

That distinction is important because it goes to the issue of a symbol not dissimilar to the Hakenkreuz, but nonetheless a distinct symbol, that is used by many in our faith communities. The word itself is a Hindi word. It comes from the ancient Hindi language of Sanskrit, and for all of those in the Hindu, the Buddhist and the Jain communities for whom that symbol is an important symbol we need to be careful in this place in the debating of this bill, I think, to be precise in our terminology, precise in our nomenclature, and make sure that we do not concatenate those two things—that we do not refer to the Hakenkreuz as a swastika or vice versa and that we make clear that when we are dealing with Nazi symbols we are dealing quite specifically with the hooked cross, the Hakenkreuz, and not that symbol that is so important to many in our community.

With that contribution around the moving parts around the bill, if you like, I am very pleased that those opposite are supporting or not opposing this government business program. I think we have got a day’s very serious and very important debate around this issue, and it speaks to frankly just how important this is that I suspect we are going to have a pretty full roster of speakers from both sides of the chamber and indeed the crossbench. I think there will be some terrific contributions on that matter particularly over the course of the day.

Mr ROWSWELL (Sandringham) (12:29): I also rise to speak on the government business program, and in doing so, Speaker, I was thrilled to hear your acknowledgement of Her Majesty’s platinum jubilee at the start of proceedings this morning. Up until that point, I held the mantle of being the only member in this Parliament to utter the words ‘platinum jubilee’ in this place. It was important for you to do that, Speaker, I think, not on behalf of a political party but on behalf of the Parliament, because Her Majesty has served the world with great distinction and in service of people, free of politics, free of the temptation to enter into our daily politics and to be a commentator on matters—free and independent of that. So for you to do that in your place as Speaker this morning at the start of proceedings was a very fitting tribute, and I thank you for doing so.

During the course of this week we will be debating a number of bills and, as other speakers have done, I just want to point out the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Bill 2022 and acknowledge the significant contribution to the introduction of that bill in this place by the member for Caulfield, the member for Malvern, the member for Brighton and also former member for Eastern Victoria Region Mr O’Donohue, who I know undertook a power of work to bring this side of the chamber to a position where we thought that that symbol should in fact be banned in this state. We will have the member for Malvern heading that debate later this day. The member for Ferntree Gully will head the Child Employment Amendment Bill 2022 debate, and the member for Euroa will head the Casino and Liquor Legislation Amendment Bill 2022.

I also look forward to making a contribution to the budget take-note motion. There are many things in communities right across this state not represented by government members that frankly have not been delivered. I think it is an important opportunity for us to remind ourselves and to remind this chamber that our first and foremost responsibility is to the people who put us here, the people of our own electorates, and I know my colleagues will join me in drawing to the attention of this place the fact that our communities in many cases have been simply forgotten by a government who claims it governs for all. I look forward to the proceedings during the course of this sitting week.

Motion agreed to.