27 March 2018
Introduction and first reading
Mr PESUTTO (Hawthorn) (13:07:50) — We need this motion to pass because this government has lost the moral and political authority to govern this state in the best interests of Victorians. How many scandals do we need? How many lies? How many rorts do we need? Let us go through them: red shirts, printing allowances, fake invoices. We have a minister getting their dog chauffeured around. What else do we have to see before the Victorian people can have their chance to have a say on this government? We need to get to the bottom of what is arguably the biggest and the worst scandal and rort in this state’s parliamentary history.
What Ombudsman’s report has ever described a government as having engaged in ‘an artifice’, something which passes a horrible judgement on the character of this government and the type of leadership it is getting? She called it an artifice. She said it was wrong. She said that the government was wrong in taking legal action to the tune of a million dollars — maybe more than a million dollars. We will never know because you will not front up the invoices to tell the Victorian people how much was wasted. And that is on top of the rort. What is worse — the rort or the cover-up?
We have an Attorney-General who knew he was going to be named in this report, and he spent nearly a million dollars of taxpayers money trying to cover it up, and then he went on the Neil Mitchell program, saying, ‘Oh, dear me, what was I thinking?’. Having spent two to three years —
Ms Allan — On a point of order, this is a fairly narrow debate on the question of time. We have had a fairly broad scope canvassed by the manager of opposition business and the Leader of the National Party, and I would suggest now that the member for Hawthorn may need to be brought back to the question of time.
The SPEAKER — I ask the member for Hawthorn to come back to the motion being debated.
Mr PESUTTO — It is important to put the bill off until we have been able to establish a select committee. That select committee will be able to get to the bottom of what the Ombudsman was not able to do because she was prevented. Prevented by whom?
An honourable member — Whom?
Mr PESUTTO — The guilty nine, who sat in this place and refused to cooperate with the Ombudsman. They refused to provide documents and they refused to provide evidence. They took the fifth — what a disgrace. Everybody could see what was going on. Everybody knew the story, and they just hid behind and stayed mum about it. They did not say a thing and so the Attorney-General, having spent nearly three years with his colleagues taking the fifth, then went on to Neil Mitchell and —
Honourable members interjecting.
The SPEAKER — Order! I warn the member for Ferntree Gully — be nice.
Ms Allan — Speaker, I renew my earlier point of order to you. The reference to, I think, a point that is more relevant to the United States jurisdiction than an Australian jurisdiction is well and truly —
Mr PESUTTO – interjected.
Ms ALLAN — Yes, you did. You did, actually. You did, buddy. I would suggest that you ask the member to come back to both being relevant to the standing orders of this Parliament and, indeed, relevant to the laws of this state.
The SPEAKER — Order! The member will come back to the motion.
Mr PESUTTO — It is a popular phrase Speaker, but I will indulge the minister. Yes, I will come back to the question. We need the select committee because we had an example last week of a minister who told a broadcaster more than he was prepared to tell the Ombudsman. If he is prepared to tell a broadcaster more than he told the Ombudsman why shouldn’t he come here? And to all the people in the gallery, if I could speak to them directly, Speaker, I would say, ‘You deserve the truth, because it was your money that was wasted’. To the taxpayers in the gallery, ‘It was your money’.
Ms Allan — On a point of order, whilst the theatrics are fun and a bit of entertainment, it is disorderly to invite and engage members of the gallery. I think we would appreciate the member for Hawthorn being brought back to the substantive debate before us rather than giving us an audition for a leadership position in the Liberal Party.
The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Hawthorn will come back to the motion.
Mr PESUTTO — The Andrews Labor government is unfit to govern the state.