Land Legislation Amendment Bill 2017

23 March 2017

22 March 2017

Ms Ryan (Euroa) — I rise to support the motion as put by the member for Hawthorn that we should immediately progress to establishing a select committee as proposed by the Leader of the Opposition into the rorting by the member for Melton and member for Tarneit.

The reality is that those on the opposite side of the house are too scared to bring on this motion. They are too scared because they have discovered through the course of question time over the last several weeks that their former colleague, who is still a member of the Labor Party, was living in a caravan. They are too ashamed to bring on this motion. They are too ashamed to see that report by the Audit Committee come to light. They voted in the other place. The Premier's right-hand man commanded that that report should not be tabled early. If they truly believed that this was about due process, then they would have seen that report actually tabled in the upper house yesterday so that we could see the details of that report.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the independent auditors, had found that the member for Melton had been opportunistic, that he had been low-rent, that he had had no formal lease at Ocean Grove. In fact, in their words:

… it is difficult to argue … that he intended …

his caravan to be his long-term principal place of residence.

On the evidence that we have available, it would seem that the member for Tarneit did not even have a caravan, let alone a residence, in Queenscliff. The second residence allowance was very clearly established to assist country MPs who need to be in Melbourne for Parliament, for their shadow ministerial or their ministerial duties, or their committee work. It was not established so that city-based MPs could establish their caravans by the sea. It was not set up for that purpose, and Victorians deserve to see a full explanation. They do not want to see this Premier continuing to run a protection racket for these MPs, and they deserve to see a full copy of the Audit Committee's report.

We should have already had that. If those opposite had not acted in the upper house to block that report from being tabled, we should have that now. Victorians deserve a full copy of that report. The two men who — —

Ms Allan — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, in terms of factual contributions to the debate. I think it is important to remind the house that this is not a report for the government to release. If the member for Euroa wishes to command — —

Honourable members interjecting.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I cannot hear the Leader of the House.

Ms ALLAN — If the member for Euroa wishes to demand the release of the report, I suggest she talk to the President of the Legislative Council.

Honourable members interjecting.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I cannot hear the Leader of the House to make a ruling on whether it is a point of order or not a point of order. Perhaps you would allow me the courtesy of actually listening to the Leader of the House. Leader of the House, have you finished your point of order?

Ms ALLAN — Yes.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! There is no point of order.

Ms RYAN — The two men who have clearly rorted these allowances, the member for Melton and the member for Tarneit, held esteemed and prestigious positions within this Parliament. They have ripped off the people of Victoria while holding positions that should demand respect and accountability and a high level of transparency. They have let Victorians down. This was no aberration. This was not a failure to have their paperwork in order. This was systemic, and it was a deliberate rorting of taxpayers money.

The Labor Party has no excuse for blocking the release of the Audit Committee report in the upper house yesterday. They are continuing to run a protection racket for those opposite, and they are busy tying themselves in knots to protect these two members. They are so busy trying to save their own jobs that they will not even defend the jobs of the 1000 people in Gippsland who are about to be out of work. That is the appalling reality of this. The only jobs Labor cares about are their own.

In summary I would like to quickly finish with this quote:

We should not allow any member of Parliament on either side of the house, whether they are Labor, Liberal, Nationals or Independent, to rort their entitlements. That is not what we are here for.

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