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Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Page: 1083


Mr BILLSON (9:40 PM) —It is a sad time for the Liberal Party in the Dunkley electorate. One of our stalwarts, Flo Parnaby, has passed away after some time in hospital coping with illness. I was fortunate enough to speak briefly with her son, Reid, at a function last week and pass on our best wishes for Flo’s recovery. Sadly, the illness took her life. I extend my sincere condolences to her family and friends. She was a remarkable contributor in the Liberal Party for many decades and she will be sorely missed.

The gravesite of the former Acting Australian Prime Minister James Fenton has fallen into disgraceful disrepair at Mornington Cemetery. Of the three sections that cover the surface of the gravesite, the middle section has a gaping hole in it and another section is cracked all the way through and falling apart. James Fenton was a distinguished politician. Uniquely, he served in senior positions for both Labor and the conservative party. He was Acting Prime Minister for almost five months in 1930 and was afforded a state funeral, which was conducted in Frankston before his remains were laid to rest in Mornington. Sadly his gravesite is in disrepair and there are no known relatives.

Senior lecturer in politics at Monash University Dr Nick Economou says Mr Fenton was around at the time of the creation of the United Australia Party, a forerunner of the modern Liberal Party, when he defected from Labor. He also says Mr Fenton was instrumental in the creation of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The gravesite of a gentleman such as this, who, as Dr Economou says, was an important contributor to this country’s politics and government and who was afforded a state funeral, should be kept in adequate order. There would be about $4,000 to $6,000 involved in its restoration, and I urge the government to do the right thing by the late Mr Fenton, his memory and his role as Acting Prime Minister.

I am pleased that the Frankston City Council last night unanimously agreed to support a proposal I have been pushing since 2007, which is to have the Frankston Magistrates Court renamed the ‘Southern Metropolitan Court Complex’. As you know, Frankston is a regional centre for a larger catchment, and when the media report criminal activity that has been tried at the court the name Frankston is often associated with those acts, when in nearly all cases they have nothing at all to do with our city or our citizens. A simple name change would protect the city’s reputation. It is a simple change that is important to ensure that any negative perceptions drawn from the simple fact that we host the court do not detract from the vitality and the many positive benefits of the city.

I put this to former Labor state Attorney-General Rob Hulls in 2007 and sadly he rejected the request, dismissing the concerns that the reports of the criminal cases being heard at the court were being associated with our city and damaging our city’s reputation. We are all optimistic that the change of government might see a change of heart. I hope that the new state government will support my work and the Frankston City Council’s work to have the name change introduced.

On a related issue, it has been quite an ordeal to get the CCTV network that I secured funding for under the Howard government up and going. There have been issues around whether Jemena would allow Frankston City to use its poles to mount the CCTV units. There has been some confusion over the terms and conditions for mounting the technology. We have finally got through that and, some 4½ years after the funding was secured, these cameras are now up and operating in the Frankston CBD. As part of my election campaign, and as the next instalment in the Dunkley community safety plan, I pledged that an elected coalition government would provide additional funding to extend the CCTV rollout to hotspots of community safety concern in our city. Sadly, the Labor campaign did not match that commitment, which was a great disappointment to our community and to the Frankston City Council and chamber of commerce.

Never mind, we persevere. We have lodged a funding application to fund the rollout of additional cameras to locations in Keys Street, Clyde Street and Gallery Lane and also to see the Wells Street and Thompson Street intersection and the busy Wells Street and Nepean Highway areas covered. I am hopeful that the council and its advocacy, as well as mine and that of my parliamentary colleague Mr Dreyfus, can persuade the Gillard government to cough up some cash. They did not seem too keen to make commitments in the Dunkley electorate during the election campaign. Now is their chance to show that they do care about Dunkley. Otherwise this government risks being the Harvey Norman of Dunkley politics: no interest for three years, no down payment, no contribution. They can do something about this. I have spoken to the Attorney-General about it and am encouraged by his interest. I hope there is some follow-through by the Gillard Labor government to actually do something to help out the Frankston community.


The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Peter Slipper)—The honourable member’s time has expired, and I would remind him of the provisions of standing order 64.