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Monday, 26 March 2018
Page: 2135


Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (16:29): My point of order is that Senator Hume may be misleading the Senate by saying that these members of parliament have stolen from the taxpayer. It is clear in the Ombudsman's findings that that is not the case.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Gallacher, that is a debating point, as you well know.

Senator HUME: Lily D'Ambrosia, the member for Mill Park, is the worst minister for energy that this state has ever seen. If only she would put as much energy into keeping the lights on in Victoria as she did into rorting the 2014 state election. Adem Somyurek is my favourite. He was the Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade. He may wield a butterknife like nobody else in the parliamentary dining room, but siphons are his weapon of choice when it comes to taxpayer funds. Cesar Melhem, the former government whip, former national secretary of the AWU and the man behind the Clean Event payments, was referred to authorities by the Heydon royal commission. He's no stranger to using other people's money for political gain. There are so many other members of the Victorian parliament named in the Ombudsman's report who cannot possibly look their constituents in the eyes: Anthony Carbines, Marsha Thomson, Nazih Elasmar, Shaun Leane.

These are just the current members of the Victorian parliament; there were retired members involved, too. They have since been rewarded for their obedience and their silence with very comfortable jobs on the taxpayer teat. Former Dandenong MP John Panzadopoulos earns up to $30,000 a year with three separate government boards. Retired member for Northern Victoria Candy Broad earns about $51,000 a year as the chair of PrimeSafe, a statutory authority for the meat industry.

Liz Beattie, the former member for Yuroke, receives $20,000 for a board position on the Greater Metropolitan Cemetery Trust. There are other retired members: Brian Tee, Margaret Lewis, Johan Scheffer. My favourite, though, is Joe Helper. Let me tell you the story of Joe Helper. He was the former member for Ripon who used funds that should have been dedicated to his electorate to fully fund a red-shirt campaigner, whose name is Juliana Addison. Well, Ms Addison had the last laugh. She campaigned alright, just not in his electorate of Ripon! She campaigned for Sharon Knight in Wendouree, and poor old Mr Helper lost his seat. He must have been hopping mad, but Ms Addison has done okay out of this. She was illegally paid taxpayers' money but she's now the ALP's candidate for Wendouree at the upcoming state election. Well, good luck to Ms Addison. Every time you think the Victorian Labor Party has stooped to a new low, they surprise you once more by plumbing a depth previously unthinkable.

Where was the ALP campaign team in all of this? Surely, the campaign team knew what was going on. Let's ask Senator Carr, who was on that campaign team. When he saw the Ombudsman's report, he said it was 'imprecise, vague and partisan'.

Senator Kim Carr: And inaccurate, vague and inaccurate.

Senator HUME: No, you said 'partisan', Senator Carr. I've read the 200-page report.

Senator Kim Carr: Partisan! Partisan! It would not allow any connection to the Liberal Party.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Reynolds ): Senator Carr, could you show a bit more restraint, please, because I can't hear Senator Hume over your interjections.

Senator HUME: How extraordinarily unsportsmanlike of Senator Carr!

Senator Kim Carr: Unsportsmanlike! It's a rort by the Liberal Party.

Senator HUME: How very typical, because, if you don't like the rules of the game, you blame the umpire!

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Hume, please resume your seat. Senator Carr, I have already asked you, if you're going to interject, to do it more quietly, because I cannot hear Senator Hume and what she's saying.

Senator HUME: So many Labor members embroiled in this deception have been caught cheating, but where does the buck stop? It stops with Premier Daniel Andrews. It is entirely implausible that he was unaware that using taxpayer funds to campaign was immoral, illegal and unethical. When this rort was discovered in 2015, Daniel Andrews denied there was any wrongdoing. He said no rules were broken. He was wrong. Then he said that there may well have been rules broken but that other parties did it too. The Ombudsman said, 'No, that wasn't the case. No other parties did this, only the Labor Party.' When the rort was referred to the Ombudsman, Daniel Andrews attempted to block the investigation. More than $1 million was spent to thwart the Ombudsman's investigation, but the highest court of the land said there was reasonable cause. When the report came out, Daniel Andrews said, 'Whoops, sorry, sorry,' and he even returned the $388,000 stolen from the public purse. He said, 'That's it, no more to see here. There should be no minister or no member that faces any further consequences for their action.' The most important thing he said was that he was sincere in his apology. How woefully inadequate! Imagine if this were any other workplace. If you were to steal from your employer, you would get sacked. How can—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Hume, please resume your seat. Senator McAllister, you have a point of order?

Senator McAllister: Madam Acting Deputy President, I'd ask you to reflect on the language used by Senator Hume in relation to Mr Andrews, whom incidentally she may call by his title. The standing orders prohibit reflection—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Is this standing order 193?

Senator McAllister: It is, 193(3).

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you. Senator Hume, I would remind you that serving members of other state and territory parliaments are protected people, and aspersions are not to be cast on them. Please keep that standing order in mind and refer to them by their correct titles.

Senator HUME: Thank you, Acting Deputy President. I will do so.

How can Premier Andrews believe that the rule of law, the most fundamental of ethics, the most basic tenet of civic duty and, heavens, the eighth of the    Ten Commandments don't apply to him and don't apply to his government? You cannot take taxpayer money from your constituents and undermine the democratic process. At the very heart of the cricket scandal is a 'victory at all costs' mentality and a corruption of the spirit of the game. The Victorian Labor Party is no different. This scandal is a misappropriation of taxpayer funds and a corruption of the democratic process of the highest order. But Victorian Labor are worse because, unlike the Australian cricket team, Daniel Andrews actually won. He got away with it—victory at all costs. These are the people who are governing Victoria. They have no morals, they have no principles, they have no remorse and they have no shame.

Senator Kim Carr interjecting

Senator HUME: You have been caught ball tampering!

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Hume, please resume your seat. Senator Carr, I've already said twice now that I cannot hear what Senator Hume is saying, and that's the third time you have been so disorderly and so loud that I'm sure others in this chamber also cannot hear Senator Hume while she's speaking. She has the right to be heard in silence.

Senator HUME: Premier Andrews has been caught ball tampering. Premier Andrews, I have a message for you: you and your corrupt cronies are a national disgrace. My state of Victoria deserves better. It's time to step up. It is time to be a man.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Hume, please resume your seat. Senator McAllister, with a point of order?

Senator McAllister: It is a point of order. Again, Senator Hume's language is reflecting on and making imputations of improper motives of a member of the Victorian parliament, Mr Andrews, and I'd ask that she withdraw her remarks.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I will take the point of order. Under standing order 193(3), it is inappropriate not only to refer to someone not by their correct title but also to impute improper motives to currently serving members of other parliaments.

Senator HUME: Acting Deputy President, before the time kicks on, I just need to know which word I need to withdraw.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator McAllister? The Clerk has just pointed out 'corrupt cronies'. Was that the expression you were—

Senator McAllister interjecting

Senator HUME: I withdraw 'corrupt'.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I would just remind Senator Hume and all other senators of standing order 193 and its requirements.

Senator HUME: If you won't go, Premier Andrews, don't worry; come November, the Victorian people will happily show you the door. (Time expired)