Wednesday, 17 May 2023


Victorian Parliamentary Former Members Association



Victorian Parliamentary Former Members Association

Georgie CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) (16:42): I am very pleased to be able to rise and move this motion, and I am pleased that members of the Parliament I think will understand the importance of this. I move, by leave, in the amended form:

That this house recognises the Victorian Parliamentary Former Members Association Inc. (the association) as the representative body of, and advocate for, former members of the Victorian Parliament, and:

(1) acknowledges the contribution made by the association and its members to supporting former members of Parliament and improving their post-parliamentary welfare;

(2) welcomes the role of the association in encouraging former members to maintain the contacts, associations and friendships established during their tenure as members of the Victorian Parliament;

(3) endorses the role of the association in establishing relationships with kindred organisations within Australia and internationally;

(4) recognises the association as a principal stakeholder, and adviser, in the development of welfare and post-parliamentary career programs for members of the Victorian Parliament and endorses the relationship that has been established between the Parliament of Victoria and the association on all matters affecting former members of Parliament;

and a message be sent to the Legislative Assembly informing them of the terms of this resolution.

President, I know that you know this issue extremely well, and I want to put on record your involvement as you were enormously supportive, as were a number of former members. I know that you were very, very involved in it, as were the clerks and Anne Sargent, and I think there were other people in the house that were very closely involved in putting it all together. There were former presidents also: Nazih Elasmar and Bruce Atkinson. But I want to put on record the work of Andrea Coote, who is a former member for Southern Metropolitan Region – Mr Davis and I know her extremely well – and who led –

A member interjected.

Georgie CROZIER: Yes, an extremely good member of Parliament and wonderful in the work she has undertaken – I think you would agree, President. She really did lead the way with those I have already mentioned, the Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Council Anne Sargent and Sarah Cox from the office of the Serjeant-at-Arms. There were former members David Morris and Frank McGuire and a number of people from Deakin University who were looking at this issue and assisting the association with the work that they were undertaking.

But what I think is most significant is the role they have played internationally. The work that they have done in supporting former members is not just on remuneration but around welfare and support programs for former members, and that has attracted so much interest from around the world and the Commonwealth. In Australia there are a number of states – Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia – looking at the work undertaken by this Parliament. There are parliaments within the Commonwealth – the UK, Ontario, South Africa, the Australian federal Parliament and the Channel Islands, and I think Malta has been involved or has expressed an interest – and a number of other countries that are also looking at this work. I know that Ms Coote, when she delivered her speech in Canada, got a huge reception, and there was enormous interest from those countries about the work undertaken. That is why this motion is very important, because it is recognising the work of these individuals, as I said, and also what needs to be done in supporting former members.

I have mentioned a number of people, but there are many more. I will not go through all of them, but there has been a collective effort from both sides of the house, and I think that is what is significant. I want to thank the government for talking to me about this so that we have been able to bring this important motion to the house, give it the due recognition that it deserves, show what our Parliament can do as one and really as a Parliament support former members. It does not matter which party they represented. Whether it is an independent member or a member of the Labor Party, the Liberals or Nationals, all members have got that support.

With the work that was done, there were a number of things that were taken to that international conference in Canada. There were a number of recommendations made in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association report on the support that the Victorian Parliament has provided in enabling this to come to fruition. There has been an enormous amount of support from within the Victorian Parliament, and I think that goes to show the importance in which the Parliament itself holds supporting the welfare of former members.

Again, I want to place on record my thanks and appreciation for those that have undertaken this work, especially Andrea Coote, who has been a mentor of mine and has been an extraordinary support for me over many, many years. She was a wonderful member of Parliament, and she has really led the charge with a group of MPs that have come together and presented this at an international level. I think it demonstrates the wonderful work undertaken by the Victorian Parliament and yet again being recognised not just nationally but internationally. To all of those that have been involved, I say thank you, because at some point we are all going to be former members and we all in our own way may need the support of the association or the support that this group will give and that the Parliament provides.

With those few words, President, I want to again acknowledge you and the work that you have been involved with but also the government and everyone else involved in getting this up and in being able to move this motion today.

Lee TARLAMIS (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (16:49): I rise to add my support to this motion recognising the Victorian Parliamentary Former Members Association Inc. as the representative body of and the advocate for former members of the Victorian Parliament. I echo what Ms Crozier has said with regard to the contribution that this organisation makes. It should be noted that this is a volunteer organisation that works very hard to advocate for the wellbeing of members of Parliament and is a support service for those members as well. I know that some of the work that they have been doing has been to reach out to former members to ensure that they are okay, which is a very important thing, and to ensure that they have the support they need and that they are travelling well. I know that they do this on an ongoing basis, but they also provide regular gatherings and opportunities to come together to keep those connections that were made during their time in this place but also to ensure that they are getting the support that they need.

The association has been well supported by the Parliament for a long period of time. I know the former Clerk Andrew Young did a lot of work to support the organisation, and this is obviously being continued by the new Clerk Robert McDonald, and of course the Deputy Clerk Anne Sargent has also been a great support for them, as have all of the staff from the Parliament of Victoria as well as the presidents. All past presidents and the current President have been very supportive of this organisation.

The fact that they have been able to do what they have done is really commendable, and we owe them a vote of thanks for, in particular, the Transitioning to Life after Parliament report that was commissioned by Parliament in conjunction with the Victorian Parliamentary Former Members Association and was conducted by Deakin. As Ms Crozier said, it is a report that has been receiving international recognition. It has been quoted in a number of other reports that have also been published now, and it has been a matter for discussion in a number of other states and jurisdictions as well. I acknowledge the work that Andrea Coote has done in representing the association at the international conference and also the current president Peter Loney and other members for the work that they have done in bringing this very important report that has some very important recommendations in it.

I just want to highlight recommendation 6, which is what we are doing here today. It says the Parliament should:

Formally recognise the Victorian Parliamentary Former Members’ Association (VPFMA) via a resolution of the parliament …

So we are picking up one of those recommendations, recommendation 6, today, which is an important step in supporting this organisation in the work that they do.

I also want to point out that in another capacity I have also had the opportunity to work with former members in terms of seeking their guidance and advice about the impacts on former members of some pieces of legislation that we have dealt with in this place. On that occasion I worked closely with Philip Davis, who spent many, many years in this place. He was able to provide us with insight from former members to ensure that the changes that we were making were actually landing in the appropriate place and were supportive of former members. I also want to acknowledge that I have actually been a member of the former members association during my gap years, and I was happy to work with them during that time to continue to support their great work.

This is an important resolution. It is great to see that the chamber can come together in a unified way to support this important resolution and that we are taking this step forward today. With those few words, I commend this motion and wish it a speedy passage.

Motion agreed to.