Question: Political Donations

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My question is to the Premier. Will the Premier be raising the issue of political donations reform with the Prime Minister and other state premiers at any stage of tomorrow's Council of Australian Governments meeting?

Mr ANDREWS (Premier) — I thank the member for Prahran for his question. Clearly he has an interest in these matters, and he is entitled to pursue them in whatever forum he sees fit. But I would just say to him in respectful terms that the COAG agenda, which is one that is agreed to by all heads of government but led by the commonwealth, I might add, will focus on the following issues. Standing items around counterterrorism and making sure that we do everything we can as parliaments, as governments and as communities across Australia to keep Australia safe will be on the agenda. Also on the agenda is the issue of family violence, where I will take the opportunity to raise Victoria's leadership on this at the end of a period when we have Victorians Against Violence. That is something the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and women in this state should be very, very proud of and indeed this Parliament should be proud of. We heard from Rosie Batty and so many others in our last sitting week. That will be on the agenda, and we will take the opportunity to talk about the leading way in which we are addressing these issues.

Another issue that will be talked about and will be a subject of the agenda is a more collaborative effort — and I want to welcome the commonwealth government's increased interest in this matter — using and utilising Ken Lay's skills on the issue of ice. It is a real challenge for all of us, but of course it is a greater challenge for so many families who are grappling with this poison and the fact that it gets people in its clutches. It is so highly addictive that we do need a national response. We will also be talking about a range of reforms of the federation priorities, things like Victoria's innovative plan — our leading plan to drive down the number of avoidable hospital admissions and make sure that we are not wasting precious health dollars.

Mr Hibbins — On a point of order, Speaker, I welcome the Premier's comments about the broader COAG agenda, but it was a very specific question about the issue of political donations reform and whether he would be raising that with the Prime Minister and other state premiers. I ask you to ask the Premier to come back to actually answering the substantive question.

The SPEAKER — Order! The Chair does not uphold the point of order.

Mr ANDREWS — I am very pleased to provide the member for Prahran and all honourable members with not just a narrow focus but indeed the entire agenda, and I will keep on going because they are all very important issues. We will be talking about health reform and Victoria's innovative plan to drive down the number of avoidable hospital admissions. That is great for patients, and the member for Brighton could not agree more. I thank her for her support in a spirit of festive bipartisanship. She is on board. Let us hope those a bit closer to the front get on board too.

We will talk about higher education, particularly vocational education and training and how we can better work to support every Victorian, and every Australian indeed, to get the skills they need for the job they want. We will talk also about, and hopefully make progress on, a whole range of other national reform priorities. I am sure that taxation will be talked about, although I must say to the member for Prahran — and he probably will agree with me here — that this debate was started about health reform and that is where it should stay. It should not be diverted into other discussions of jacking up the GST and putting it on food. You will not make that tax fair; you just cannot make it fair. These are the issues that will be discussed, and I proudly say to the member for Prahran that Victoria will be there leading the way, as Victoria always does.

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My supplementary question is the Premier. I will take his previous answer to be a no. So given that the Premier will not commit to raising this issue at COAG, can the Premier give an undertaking to this house that in the absence of a national agreement on reform of political donations that his government will take action to reform Victoria's political donations laws, including a reduction in disclosure limits, including real-time disclosures and including restrictions of donations from property developers or other industries?

Mr ANDREWS (Premier) — I thank the member for Prahran for his supplementary question. I have often said that COAG is a misunderstood forum. People often say that it is all negativity at COAG. I think there is a bit of that negativity here as well. They are apparently upset that we are going to talk about hospitals, schools, ice and family violence and making sure that Victoria plays a leading role in national reform.

The member for Prahran can be in no doubt at all that this government will drive reform and good outcomes — fair outcomes — to benefit people in our great state and the nation, such as our prosperity and our safety. That is the Victorian way, and in a spirit of festive bipartisanship, if the member for Prahran would like a briefing after the meeting, I am happy to arrange one for him.