MOTION: Public Transport Inquiry

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — The Greens do believe that the minister should appear before an upper house inquiry. It is what the Victorian people would expect of their minister. We have V/Line in crisis, and we have the head of V/Line no longer in his job. We have a committee looking into these issues, no doubt to seek to make recommendations, and for the committee to do its job properly I think it is entirely reasonable that the minister appear before it and allow it to ask any questions that it sees fit to ask.

We have been given the reason that it is somehow the Westminster tradition that the minister should not come before the committee. Of course the upper house cannot compel a lower house member or minister to appear before it, but certainly there is provision for it to ask or for there to be a request, as has occurred in this instance and as there is provision for in the standing orders. In my view the government should adhere to that request, because I think it is an entirely reasonable request. The only other reason that has been given is that the previous government never did it. That does not really wash with us, and I do not think it washes with the Victorian people. The Greens certainly do support that the minister should appear before this upper house committee.