Education Legislation Amendment (Victorian Institute Of Teaching, TAFE And Other Matters) Bill 2018 Introduction and First Reading

27 Mar 2018

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This is a reasoned amendment to defer the first reading of this bill until a select committee has been established to further investigate the misuse of public money to fund the Labor Party’s campaign. It has happened in an environment where the government’s approach to the Ombudsman’s investigation has been completely inadequate. They have, in fact, been running interference through the courts multiple times, where they have failed. They have refused to have their members front up and speak to the Ombudsman.

We have had their response to the Ombudsman’s report, which is again completely inadequate. They think that this is the end of the matter, as the Premier has said, and are using the report and the recommendations to suggest that there should be no further action. The reality is that the Ombudsman found that the lower house members, of this chamber, were in breach of the Members Guide. They found what was clear from the evidence was that this was a plot by the Labor Party to misuse public money to fund their election campaign. It is not the end of it, as the Premier would say.

I think what the Victorian people want is for the individual members who have been found in breach of the Members Guide to be held accountable. What we have put forward over the last week or so is a motion to refer this to the Privileges Committee, just as we did with the former Speaker and Deputy Speaker, to see whether they have been in contempt of Parliament in relation to breaching the code of conduct and then whether any fine or any other penalty should be applied.

I think what Victorians also want to see is at least a penalty paid by the Labor Party. Essentially, they have got an interest-free loan at the moment from the taxpayer. Victorian taxpayers want to see this fixed. As I stated in my question, there has just been an endless series of scandals involving politicians, and they want to see an independent parliamentary standards commissioner hold politicians to account. That is what the Victorian people are asking for. And to suggest that the damning Ombudsman’s report is the end of it — well, it is not the end of it.

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