Media Releases

06
Mar
2018

Second reading: Integrity and Accountability Legislation Amendment (Public Interest Disclosures, Oversight and Independence) Bill 2018

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) (18:53:33) — It is my pleasure to follow the member for Croydon, who made such a fine contribution, and the member for Ferntree Gully, who pointed out today a key element of the issues when it comes to integrity and accountability. We are dealing with a very, very important issue, and certainly we have heard from some people on this side and some of the others talking about the importance of integrity and accountability. But how —

Mr Richardson interjected.

Mr SOUTHWICK — Let us be serious, member for Mordialloc. How can we be serious when talking about an issue like this when we have a government that was formed doing everything that it possibly could to rip off the system? Imagine this for a minute: you see some advertisements in the paper saying, ‘Come on down and be recruited into an office to be a staffer in the Victorian Parliament’, and then you are told that you will not actually get to meet your member. Instead you will be issued your one and only red T-shirt, and that T-shirt will be used for you to go out there and campaign. On the front of the T-shirt will be three letters: CAN — Community Action Network. You would be out there and you would be doing everything you possibly could on the taxpayer to get as many votes as you possibly could.

Do you for one minute think that this has got anything to do with integrity? Has this got anything to do with integrity when you are using taxpayers money and when those individuals should be out there working on constituent issues and working as representatives? Instead they are doing everything they possibly can to rort the system. That is the way this government started in their election process, from their campaign to government and all the way through. We have not seen it change ever since. It has been like that from day one.

Mr Richardson interjected.

Mr SOUTHWICK — The smiling member for Mordialloc up the back in the fourth row has got his colleague the member for Melton getting up and asking the kinds of questions that he did today — Dorothy Dixers — after which of course the Minister for Education gets up and pulls out his preprepared answer and cheers away, saying what a fantastic job the rorting member for Melton is doing. He used a caravan for a second residence allowance, taking every single dollar that he could possibly grab on the taxpayers watch. That is what they have done — for the member for Tarneit it is the same deal. It is unheard of.

Where else would you have heard that you have got a Speaker, a Deputy Speaker and a Deputy President in the upper house all having to be removed in one term of government? Where would you hear this — three officers of the Parliament? We are not making this stuff up. You would not be able to create a movie this good. I mean, seriously, people out there would be thinking to themselves, ‘Well, a Speaker, a Deputy Speaker, a Deputy President — three out of four people who actually run the place’. This great place that we sit in, filled with years and years of history, is being absolutely tarnished by the Labor Party, tarnished by this government, tarnished by the Andrews government, and they have the absolute gall to bring a bill into this house with the title ‘integrity and accountability’. What a joke.

This party, when in opposition, would not support our IBAC bill, which was going to start the whole process of integrity and accountability. They have been missing in action when it comes to actually doing the hard yards. It is one thing to talk about this kind of thing. It is another thing when you are actually lacking in action. That is what has been happening in this government: they have been lacking in action.

We had a former minister in the upper house, Mr Herbert — let me just say ‘Dog-gate’ — using a chauffeured vehicle to take his dogs up to the country residence on the taxpayers purse. It is absolutely a joke of a government that has no integrity and accountability. If you wanted to make a movie, if you wanted to write a screenplay about something to show a rorting, murky, corrupt, tricky, disgraceful government that is out of control and looking for every possible way to get their hand in the cookie jar, then this is the government for you.

Before I finish, we just need to have a look at the Country Fire Authority, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and the United Firefighters Union. If that is not murky, if that is not a situation in which we do not have a department with full accountability, where we do deals to look after our union mates, where we look at corruption in the heart of everything that we do here, then I do not know what is. It is very simple: we know exactly where this government is heading. We know exactly what this government has been up to. This government is first and foremost looking after their mates, and they have no respect for the community and no respect for taxpayers. You know what? Many — not all, but many — started in this job looking at how much they would get out of it, and unfortunately it comes to bear —

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! The time appointed by sessional orders for me to interrupt business has now arrived. The honourable member may continue his speech when the matter is next before the Chair.

Business interrupted under sessional orders.

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