Ms BRITNELL (South-West Coast) (17:08): Look, I actually find it shocking that I am standing here debating whether we should have the ability to do our job. My role that I took on three and a half years ago I took on because I actually care about making a difference to the community by being an effective representative. The only way you can actually make sure that good legislation actually is effective is to scrutinise it, to review it and to do the thinking around unforeseen circumstances, and the most important part of that is to actually talk to those who it will affect.
This Labor government talk about looking after the underdog and that they care, but this just demonstrates once and for all how their talk has not actually got any substance to it, because here we have our most vulnerable community—the disability sector—completely ignored in the process of having time and respect to be able to understand what this piece of legislation will mean for them.
Now, the process, as we all know, is that we have a bill introduced and then two weeks’ time to go to stakeholders and have scrutiny and respectful representation by talking to the community that it will affect. That has been completely denied by the Labor government, because they are so arrogant and so dictatorial that they are saying, ‘We know how to do this. We don’t need to talk to the people who are most affected’. And it is the most vulnerable people in our community that we are talking about.
Now, I agree: there are people who are saying, ‘We want to have time’, and they are not getting that time, so saying that they have been ignored is absolutely right. So when the member for Mordialloc and the member for Sydenham say, ‘It should’ve been done’, they are absolutely right, but that is because they did not introduce this bill when they should have because they decided to reduce the sitting dates. So it is absolute hypocrisy for the other side of this chamber to talk about the fact that this absolutely should be done by 30 June. That is correct—it is about aligning the legislation so we transition from the state to the national disability scheme—but it is also about making sure we have the right safeguards in place and protections in place so that, for example, for people who are found to be unsuitable to work in the sector, the legislation covers that and those people do not end up working in the sector.
There are really important things. So if I am a mum and my little girl or boy needs to have this legislation so that they can transition safely, I want the time. I want the time to know that my child is going to be protected, and I often have people in my office talking to me about this, because this is actually the sector that I have done a lot of work in in my career prior to being a representative. So—
A member interjected.
Ms BRITNELL: Yes, someone who has actually worked with people with disabilities. So I absolutely know how frightened people are about what is happening, because change is a challenging time. So yes, it is a transition from state to federal, and we are all very proud that we on this side of the house actually are responsible for having been the state that actually said, ‘Yes’. And the Premier at the time, Denis Napthine—someone I have great respect for and who also has a deep understanding of living with the needs for a disabled person—I was really proud for him and of him when this all took place. But now I am not proud; I am not proud to be standing here being told by the other side that I cannot do my job as a representative and go out and consult, and it is not for any other reason other than the fact that these lazy Labor people across the other side do not know how to work. They could have sat more, but they sat less—they sat less than at any other time in the last decade—and as a result I cannot go back to the people and tell them that they can have the right to look at this.
I am going to have to go back and say, ‘It all got done, because we have a dictator in charge of this state who does not want to—
Mr Brayne interjected.
Ms BRITNELL: You answer for me how you can see reasonable behaviour from not having any time to consult. If you were someone with a disability, wouldn’t you want the time to be consulted? Wouldn’t you want the respect, the respect that every other bill that goes through this place has a right to have? Two weeks are not a lot to ask for, but one day and then the next day—that is total disrespect.
Safeguards—we are talking about protections and safeguards. What is the rush? Okay, 30 June, but we could sit again, there is time. We could have done this in March; Queensland and New South Wales did it. When Tasmania actually went through the process and debated it and scrutinised it, they found some errors. That is what we want the opportunity to be able to do—just a bit of respect for our constituents.