Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — I am very pleased to speak on the motion before the house, because I have been a long-time supporter of the reform of some of the procedures and operations of the Parliament.
After the shambolic experience of the previous four years under the dysfunctional Baillieu and Napthine governments, it was apparent to the community and to parliamentarians that we needed some modernisation and reform in this house. I think that the government made it known to everybody during the election campaign that Labor was about reforming and modernising this Parliament. I agree that the community is looking for higher standards from us as parliamentarians and for the Parliament to be more reflective of the way a modern government should operate in a thriving society.
I have often wondered why the Leader of the Opposition comes into this house so angrily at question time. I have been trying to work out what makes him so angry. Maybe it is because he has not had breakfast, so I think he should have the opportunity to have lunch.
As I was saying before question time, I fully support the motion put by the Leader of the House for the continued reform of this Parliament. I was making some observations about the behaviour of the Leader of the Opposition and the angry way in which he presents himself in Parliament, and this was reaffirmed in question time. I was making the observation that maybe the Leader of the Opposition does not have breakfast and that he was very much in need of lunch, as indeed we all are. I must admit I could extend those observations to the former Treasurer, the member for Malvern, whose performance today was very much reminiscent of a man who had not had a good breakfast, in contrast to our Treasurer who I suspect is a four Weet-Bix man. He gave a really wacko performance for us all.
I suggest that it is in all our interests for us to get our lunchbreaks back. As I said, the government brought the reforms to the house — and I know there are people on the other side who have tried to reform parliamentary procedures, and I appreciate their endeavours. As I said, the government came to office with a reform agenda, and I think we should proceed with that process. I am very appreciative of going home early. I know there are lots of people on our side of the chamber who have young children. When we get up and lecture other people about the quality of life and having a work-like balance, we should start with ourselves and being able to go home. Having a meal and reading a book to a young child is a good thing for every member of Parliament to do.
It also good for the collegiate atmosphere that should be part of this Parliament. We should all be able to enjoy functions in Queen’s Hall and share the hopes and inspirations that are often displayed there by constituent groups, and community organisations. It is a good opportunity for us all to gather after hours or during lunch times to see the work of other people, praise them and be able to support them in their endeavours.
I know that some people are a little bit reluctant about this. To quote the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, who is sitting in front of me, they can get a little bit sooky la-la about changes and do not like them. I put on the record — and I say this without being too prudish about it, I suppose — that I think on reflection we can do better than some of the behaviour that was going on in Parliament before, when we were not performing at our best after dinnertime. In the last six months of good government — a government with a reform agenda and a strong government business program — the Parliament has been able to contribute in such a way, and parliamentarians have been able to perform in such a way, that the level of parliamentary performance has improved. I will give everybody a pat on the back for that. I think the changes to the sessional orders contributed significantly to that.
Without further ado, because I know we have important business to process going forward today, I commend the Leader of the House for showing a great deal of common sense about this and responding to members’ concerns, which we will all benefit from. I hope members of the committee that will look at further reforms will take their jobs seriously and further enhance the quality of the workings of Parliament going forward. I support the motion wholeheartedly.
Motion agreed to.