Gender Equity Bill – No Opportunity to consider in detail

16 Feb 2020

Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (15:06): I could not go past the opportunity to make some comment, particularly on the contribution of the member for Essendon.

I do not intend working into the detail of the bill, but I want to make the point that I have been sitting in the chamber since 2 o’clock, and I have heard a constant narrative about the views of the opposition, the views that were put eloquently by the member for Lowan. And the narrative emanating from the Australian Labor Party—I will not say the other side because it has come from behind me as well—has been an assumption of a particular position taken by the opposition.

 

Now, it is interesting that the member for Essendon talked about the great debates that we have had in this place, and as someone who considers himself to be a legislator as well as a politician I agree.

 

Certainly in my first term we had a series of them, and we have been, I think, fortunate enough as parliamentarians to have had a number of those debates since. The interesting thing about all of those debates—and the dying with dignity bill was a classic example—is that the Parliament is working at its best.

 

The second-reading debate is on the principles of the bill, and then you get to go through the bill clause by clause—so you actually get to legislate.

 

The difficulty with the way we handle business now is that—not particularly taking sides—we tend to get the headline arguments. They all need to be put in 10 minutes, which can be particularly challenging when you have got a several-hundred-page bill, and in the end the guillotine comes down and it is done.

 

What we have indicated to the Leader of the House and what we are very keen to see on this bill is that we actually have the opportunity to take it into consideration in detail and go through it clause by clause.

So while the government members may be keen to talk it out and basically sing from the same hymn sheet, this side and the opposition—the Liberal and National parties—have had their viewpoint put exceptionally well by the member for Lowan. We now would like to take it into consideration in detail.

So rather than spending the afternoon repeating the arguments that have already been made—and I would suggest our position is reasonably well known—we are happy to take it into consideration in detail.