Question Without Notice: Member Conduct

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My question is to the Premier. Premier, surely the actions that have resulted in both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker resigning and the member for Melton sitting on the crossbench show that MP entitlements need to be administered not by the MPs themselves but independently. Can the Premier confirm whether, in asking the Special Minister of State to review the entitlements system, he has asked that minister to consider the establishment of an independent parliamentary standards commissioner?

 

Mr ANDREWS (Premier) — I thank the member.

Mr R. Smith interjected.

Mr ANDREWS — Are you back from the wild? He is all very red. I thought he was going to explode. Old Johnny Tap over here, I thought he was going to full-on explode. In any event, the member for Prahran has asked a serious question.

Honourable members interjecting.

Mr ANDREWS — I am interested in providing an answer to the member for Prahran. Those opposite who have just rejoined us because of their appalling behaviour — —

Mr R. Smith interjected.

The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Warrandyte has only just come back into the chamber after being asked to leave for a period of 1 hour. I do not want to have to ask him to leave again. I would ask all members to show respect to other members in this place.

Mr ANDREWS — The member for Prahran has asked a serious question and one which I intend to answer fulsomely. If I can get a word in, I will be more than happy to go through the details of it. I have asked the Special Minister of State to look at all entitlements, all allowances, all payments that are made to all of us.

In essence, the answer to the member's question is yes, because I have asked the minister to consider all relevant matters, to look at the whole system. The members specifically raises the issue around — I think if I heard him correctly over the abuse and nonsense from those opposite — the provision of advice, the provision of — —

Honourable members interjecting.

Mr ANDREWS — Those opposite show how serious they are about these matters. The member for Prahran has asked whether everything is being considered, and the answer to that question is yes. That includes governance arrangements as well as — —

Mr R. Smith — On a point of order, Speaker, just to clarify. In relation to the Special Minister of State's review of parliamentary allowances, can the Premier clarify whether the rorting of parliamentary allowances for campaigning will be included in that?

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

Mr ANDREWS — Is it any wonder he was asked to leave?

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — Order! Members on my right!

Mr ANDREWS — All matters and all allowances will be considered and are currently being considered by the Special Minister of State.

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Warrandyte has already been warned.

Mr ANDREWS — The Special Minister of State will provide advice to the government, and we will make announcements in due course. The scope of that review is broad, and it does — yes, member for Prahran — include — how we might better govern the administration of any payments that are made and the provision of any advice. I have said on a number of occasions — —

Honourable members interjecting.

Questions and statements interrupted.

SUSPENSION OF MEMBER

Member for Warrandyte

The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Warrandyte is persistently interjecting. I ask him to leave the chamber again for a period of 1 hour under standing order 124.

Honourable member for Warrandyte withdrew from chamber.

QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE and MINISTERS STATEMENTS

Member conduct

Questions and statements resumed.

Mr ANDREWS (Premier) — Thank you so much, Speaker. As I was saying, the scope of Minister Jennings's work is broad — —

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Ringwood!

Mr ANDREWS — and it already does include issues of governance, advice and the administration of any allowances such as will be left by the time we have properly reformed this system. I would draw to the honourable member's attention two further points: one, I have indicated that the system needs profound change, and I intend to deliver that; and secondly — —

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — Order! The Premier, in silence.

Mr ANDREWS — I do look forward to making further announcements quite soon.

 

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — It seems that by leaving this review up to just the Special Minister of State and the government the public are essentially being asked to trust the government to fix these problems. I ask the Premier: when does he expect the Special Minister of State to make his recommendations, and will he commit to releasing these recommendations to the public before their consideration by the government?

Mr ANDREWS (Premier) — I thank the member for Prahran for his serious question in relation to these matters. The Special Minister of State will provide that advice to the government quite soon, and we will make announcements in good time. I cannot quite give you a date, member for Prahran, if that is what you are asking for, but certainly weeks rather than months. There is some urgency on these matters, and I intend to get on with it.

In terms of the confidence or otherwise of the community, I ask the member for Prahran respectfully and all other members —

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Rowville will come to order.

Mr ANDREWS — to wait and see the proposed reforms before he and others make a judgement about whether they are meritorious in nature. They will be broad, and there will be deep and profound changes —

Mr Riordan interjected.

The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Polwarth!

Mr ANDREWS — particularly in relation to the second residence allowance, and I would ask all members to exercise a little patience before they pass judgement on those reforms. They will be here in good time, at which point I will be only too happy to arrange a full briefing for the member for Prahran and any other member who is interested to receive one.

Ms NEVILLE (Minister for Police) — Speaker, I offer my congratulations to you on becoming Speaker.

I rise to update the house today on the police enterprise bargaining agreement, what it means and how it is working for Victoria Police. In December 2015 this government, with the Police Association Victoria and Victoria Police, signed up to a historic pay deal —

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Polwarth is warned.

Ms NEVILLE — a deal that was about flexible work arrangements and better career progression. Importantly, it was historic because fairness was hardwired into that agreement for the first time.

Honourable members interjecting.