Speeches | August 23, 2017

Residential Tenancies Amendment (Long Term Tenancy Agreements) Bill 2017

Victorian Parliament - 23 August 2017 - Ms KEALY (Lowan) — I would also like to speak on our opposition to the government motion to adjourn debate for 13 days. There is a bill that has been tabled, the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Long‑term Tenancy Agreements) Bill 2017, which is a very important bill. I have already been contacted by a number of stakeholders and key industry groups around this bill. We need the full minimum of a two‑week period in order to have that full consultation. This is not around truncating consultation in order to bring on a relatively non‑controversial bill. There are actually a lot of elements to this bill that people are genuinely concerned about. We also need to look at the large number of people who are affected by this bill. There are about half a million Victorians who own an investment property. We need to have a proper opportunity for them to be able to provide feedback. That is who we need to hear from. And we also need of course to hear from tenants. Everybody needs an opportunity to provide feedback.

It is not as if this is the first time that this sort of request has come through. Unfortunately the Leader of the House has shown complete incompetence when it comes to the timing of bringing on legislation in this place. We have seen time and time again motions put forward to try and truncate the consultation and feedback period. This is nothing but sloppiness and incompetence. Shortcutting the consultation process in order to cover up the level of incompetence within the Labor government should not be the outcome. We should not look at or be making moves to cut off the opportunity for Victorian people to provide their feedback on what is often sloppy legislation that is brought before this house just because the Leader of the House is not able to manage the workflow and the flow of legislation through this place.

As I said, this is not something that is new for this term of government. We see time and time again legislation brought into the house which needs considerable amendment before it comes to the Legislative Assembly. Often there are amendments made to bills between the Assembly and the Council. This is simply not good enough. And most importantly it does take away from the democracy and the democratic process that we have in relation to scrutiny of legislation. We need to ensure that everybody within the community has an opportunity not just to read through a bill but to get a legal interpretation of it — to think it through and to understand how it will impact their business, their industry, their community. I think that trying to cut that short is complete negligence and is completely rude to people who want to provide their input to the legislative process in this state.

If the Leader of the House could get her act together, we would have the usual two‑week consultation period as a minimum so we could effectively communicate the bill, hear from people on the bill and maybe work through it with the minister’s officers bringing it forward and try to iron out any issues. I do not know if it is just because of arrogance on the part of this government that they consider that everything they put up will be entirely accurate and will be entirely acceptable and that they have done sufficient consultation through the process, but that is not how things work. We cannot deal with that sort of government arrogance in this place. We need to show due respect to every single Victorian.

We need to show due respect to the usual processes that occur within this place. We need to ensure that we have a minimum two‑week period. Cutting it short by a day or two here or there is just sloppiness. It is incompetence. Unfortunately we do see it over and over again from the Leader of the House. I do not see why we should have to cut back these opportunities for our Victorian community to provide input to this type of legislation — important legislation — simply because the Leader of the House cannot manage the flow of legislation through this place. It is arrogant, it is rude and we need to ensure that all Victorians have an opportunity to provide input. We strongly oppose this government motion to adjourn debate for only 13 days. We want to ensure that there is a full two‑week period, as is the established practice.


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