Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Media 2008-05-27 DLP Causes Euthanasia Bill Delay

PRESS RELEASE: DLP Causes Euthanasia Bill Delay
27 May 2008

Attempts to accelerate debate on the Medical Treatment (Physician Assisted Dying) Bill 2008 were defeated today at 3.20PM when Peter Kavanagh DLP MLC for Western Victoria, refused leave for the Bill to be brought forward.

"Passage of this Bill would necessarily result in the deaths of vulnerable people including those who do not genuinely consent to being killed. I vetoed this proposal to 'jump the queue' on the basis that this Bill deserves ample consideration by the Parliament and the community", Mr Kavanagh said.

Ms Hartland will "first read" (ie introduce) the Bill tomorrow but it is likely now that the Bill will not be fully debated until 25 June.

For further comment please call Peter Kavanagh, DLP Member for Western Victoria, on 03 5222 1503.

Hansard 2008-04-09 Health

Mr David Davis MLC for Southern Metropolitan moved the following motion in the Legislative Council on 9 April 2008:
“That this house expresses its concern at the state government's failure to adequately manage the Victorian public hospital and health system on which Victorians depend when requiring necessary and often urgent health care and specifically expresses its concern at the inadequate management of the health needs of ill Victorians…”
Mr Kavanagh’s comments in Parliament on Hansard are below:

Date: 9 April 2008
Page: 979

Mr KAVANAGH (Western Victoria) -- Health care is one of the major responsibilities of state governments. We should always be concerned about the state of health services in Victoria. The government says that it is spending much more money than its predecessor, the former Kennett government, on public health, while the Liberal opposition responds that during the Kennett years cuts in spending were necessitated by the incompetence of the governments of John Cain, Jr, and Joan Kirner. Both sides are correct. It strikes me as superficial, however, to equate public health care with expenditure.

More important than the dollars spent are the results achieved.

The amount of time we have spent on this debate would have been better used in considering ways to improve our health system. I am not yet sure how to vote on this motion.

Page 995


House divided on motion:

Ayes, 16

Noes, 19
Kavanagh, Mr

Dalla-Riva, Mr
Pulford, Ms

Motion negatived.

Hansard 2008-04-09 Hepburn Springs Bathhouse

Peter Kavanagh MLC for Western Victoria said that the government was responsible for unnecessarily withholding information about the Hepburn Mineral Bath House.
Mr Kavanagh’s comments in Parliament on Hansard are below:

Date: 9 April 2008
Page: 925

Page 925

Mr KAVANAGH (Western Victoria) -- I rise to make some comments on the motion, which concerns a major development in my electorate. The motion has two limbs. The second limb acknowledges the Hepburn Mineral Springs Bathhouse as an icon of Victoria's regional tourism industry and, in particular, acknowledges the importance of the redevelopment to the business community in the Daylesford-Hepburn region. There is nothing controversial about that, and it is obviously true. Further comment is not required beyond that except to emphasise that many businesses in Daylesford and the Hepburn Springs area depend on the bathhouse and its redevelopment.

I have recently discussed the progress of redevelopment with Cr Bill McClenaghan, who is a ward councillor and chair of the Hepburn Shire Council's Bathhouse Business and Community Liaison Group. I have got to know him over the last year or so. In my opinion he is fair-minded; he is a straight talker, a man of sound judgement and worthy of respect.

Cr McClenaghan informs me that the bathhouse has taken a lot longer to complete than was expected. He also informs me that the reasons for this are that the builder has been determined to do an excellent job, meeting unexpected challenges in the innovative design of the building, which has required the sourcing of specialised materials, some of which need to be specifically manufactured for the project; and this was referred to by Mr Theophanous yesterday and by Ms Tierney a little earlier today. The result is very beautiful. The fastidiousness of the builder has paid off in what is obviously a high-quality building that is innovative and extremely attractive.

There is widespread concern about the detrimental effects that the delays have had on businesses in the Daylesford-Hepburn Springs area. Cr McClenaghan, as chairman of the bathhouse business and community liaison group, does not blame the government for the length of time the development has taken. He is very concerned, however, about the way information about the project has been withheld by Major Projects Victoria. He alleges that up until February-March

Page 926

Major Projects Victoria was extremely reticent about releasing information on the project, and that reticence has needlessly exacerbated the harm done to businesses dependent on the bathhouse in the Hepburn Springs-Daylesford area.

The motion refers to mismanagement. If this refers to the delays in building, then in my opinion, from the information I have, that is a false premise. However, on the understanding I have that Major Projects Victoria has quite needlessly withheld information from the community to the wanton detriment of local businesses, I will support the motion.

I understand the lessee has not yet been announced. The government needs to do this as quickly as possible, because other businesses are dependent on knowing when the bathhouse will be up and running in order to take bookings for their own businesses, for example. The bathhouse will be beautiful.

More importantly it and ancillary businesses will generate and contribute to the prosperity of this beautiful part of Victoria.

Hansard 2008-04-10 Carlton Gardens Bill

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is held annually in the world heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens in Melbourne.
The show has been held at this venue for 12 years and attracts more than 100 000 visitors.
Melbourne City Council had decided it will no longer allow the show to be held at the gardens because of concerns about its environmental impact.
The bill amends the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978. It enables the Governor in Council to make a special event declaration if the minister responsible for that act considers that an event such as the flower and garden show is of state significance and should be held at the Carlton Gardens.
Mr Kavanagh’s comments in Parliament on Hansard are below:

Activity: Second Reading
Date: 10 April 2008
Page: 1071

Page 1071

Mr KAVANAGH (Western Victoria) -- I have been told that about 60 years ago a sporting event was held in a marquee in the Carlton Gardens.

I think it was a boxing match. The then member for Carlton, my grandfather, wanted to attend, but he did not want to buy a ticket because he wanted to make a point. He was denied entry and made the biggest fuss that he could, saying, 'I am a member of the public; these gardens are public so they belong to me. You should not stop me going in here'. That principle was correct, but of course there are exceptions. My grandfather was largely responsible for locating the children's hospital in Royal Park, for example. As a ward councillor and local member he paid a high price for that, but he thought treating sick children was more worthy than watching people punch each other.

There are other exceptions. This chamber is part of a public place, but it is not open seven days a week, every week of the year for people to wander in and out whenever they like. In general, it would seem desirable that a council's permission should be a prerequisite to allowing any groups to temporarily usurp the public's right to access public land.

Unfortunately that is not the case with this example. On the other hand, the flower and garden show is a huge event of great benefit to Melbourne and to Victoria, which puts me in something of a dilemma because of the competing interests and principles involved. I will just have to think between now and when the vote is taken as to how I should vote.

15 April 2008 COUNCIL

Page 1209

House divided on motion:

Page 1210

Ayes, 34

Noes, 4
Kavanagh, Mr (Teller)

Motion agreed to.

Hansard 2008-04-10 Building Warranty Insurance

Homeowners currently have a complicated legal process to go through in order to recover on an insurance claim against a builder.
Builders and homeowners have asked for this to be simplified.
Mr Kavanagh asked the Minister for Planning, Mr Madden a question on this issue in Parliament.

Title: Building industry: warranty insurance
Activity: Questions without Notice
Date: 10 April 2008
Page: 1052

Page 1052

Building industry: warranty insurance

Mr KAVANAGH (Western Victoria) -- My question is for the Minister for Planning, Mr Madden. It relates to an issue that I understand is relevant to his own portfolio and also to consumer affairs. It concerns home builders warranty insurance. Victoria's compulsory home building warranty insurance offers extremely limited coverage in a narrow range of circumstances. This insurance can be obtained only if a builder first shows that he or she has sufficient assets or a bank guarantee to cover likely claims. To obtain a payout from the insurer, however, the homeowner must have sued the builder and obtained a favourable judgement but been unable to recover on that judgement against the builder because the builder is dead, has disappeared or is insolvent.

In 2007 the Australian Consumers Association labelled the current mandatory privatised last-resort builders warranty insurance as 'junk insurance'.

Home builders warranty insurance is currently being investigated by a Senate committee. I understand Queensland has a vastly better system than Victoria, and Tasmania has just announced its intention to replace its scheme, which is like Victoria's scheme at the moment. I ask the minister when Victoria will require that builders warranty insurance offer consumers genuine protection on reasonable terms.

Hon. J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning) -- I compliment Mr Kavanagh on his question. It is worthy of recognition that it has probably been a long time since I have had a genuine question on either the building or the planning front from the opposition which has been of significance and not about fear and loathing. It is about a significant public issue, and I compliment Mr Kavanagh on the question.

In relation to builders warranty insurance let me say, first of all, that in 95 per cent of domestic building works consumers do not have any disputes and that in the vast majority of cases builders are doing the job they need to do. They do that job particularly well, and only a very small number -- a niche, in a sense -- involve disputes in relation to building works. What we have seen with the changes to insurance issues over

Page 1053

recent years is a qualification of the desirability for warranty insurance of all sorts, and right across the country it is being redefined and recalibrated.
What is particularly important in this instance is that we have seen two different strategies followed by two different states. New South Wales and Tasmania have headed in slightly different directions. I understand in New South Wales they have sought to strengthen those arrangements and in Tasmania they have sought to remove those arrangements and give clarity to what has been the traditional model of last resort, insurance. In many ways builders warranty insurance is probably best described as insurance of last resort.
Mr Kavanagh's question is a very appropriate one. There is currently work being undertaken within government in relation to these matters to give more clarity and more certainty in terms of what the insurance will and will not do.
I think it is also a worthy intent that consumers be informed of what is and is not their entitlement in relation to this insurance. I suspect that any further work in this space and any further announcements will relate not only to a redefining of what the insurance should or should not be but also and in particular to making sure that consumers are well aware of what that means.
I am currently working on this matter in collaboration with my ministerial colleague the Minister for Consumer Affairs in the other place, and I look forward to making further announcements in the not-too-distant future.

Supplementary question

Mr KAVANAGH (Western Victoria) -- I thank the minister for his answer and the kind comments, but the question came not from the opposition but from the Democratic Labor Party.

On behalf of the government, can the minister assure the consumers of Victoria that the government's policies on this matter will be unaffected by any political donations to any political party?

Hon. J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning) -- I can absolutely guarantee Mr Kavanagh that any decisions in relation to this matter will be determined by a full, thorough and frank process on the advice of my department, working in collaboration with my ministerial colleague the Minister for Consumer Affairs in the other place, as are all the matters decided within my portfolio and all the responsibilities that I undertake. They are always determined in the best interests of the broader, general public.

Hansard 2008-04-16 Political Donations

Mr Greg Barber MLC for Northern Metropolitan moved the following motion in the Legislative Council on 16 April 2008:
“That this house requires the Electoral Matters Committee to inquire, consider and report no later than 30 April 2009 on --
(1) whether the Electoral Act 2002 should be amended to create a system of political donations disclosure and/or restrictions on political donations; and
(2) the outcome resulting from similar legislative reforms introduced in Canada, the United Kingdom and other relevant jurisdictions”.

Mr Kavanagh’s comments in Parliament on Hansard are below:

Date: 16 April 2008
Page: 1268

Page 1268

Mr KAVANAGH (Western Victoria) -- I would like first to congratulate the Greens on initiating this motion, which strikes me as being both important and timely. It is important because of suspicions that political donations have the potential to corrupt our political system. It is timely, particularly this week with the Four Corners story on the influence of political donations in New South Wales. If the suspicions about the potential of political donations to corrupt are misplaced, the reference to the committee will still be useful, because, as we know in law, justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.

Perhaps in government we could say that political processes must not only be clean but must be seen to be clean, if we are to have a healthy democracy.

Mr Barber expressed concerns about the lack of a requirement for small parties, such as Country Alliance and People Power, to report donations to the Australian Electoral Commission. I would be fairly confident in guessing that those parties, like the Democratic Labor Party but unlike the ALP and the Liberal Party, do not receive corporate donations, particularly not from developers in search of rezoning. Relatively recent legislation has made things very difficult for small parties in Australia -- and, I have to think, intentionally so. The DLP objects to requirements that it provide lists of 500 members to be checked by the electoral commission in order to remain registered.
In practice, to have 500 people write to the electoral commission requires you to have probably 1000 names to send to the commission, because so many people will be away, will move house, will forget to send in their form on time or will not do so for other reasons.

This has relevance to the present motion about political donations, because a requirement for small parties to regularly disclose donations is likely to place an unfair administrative burden on those parties. It seems to me that, without discriminating between different parties, it would be possible to address this potential problem by limiting reporting requirements to fairly substantial donations -- for example, if a party received less than, say, $20 000 a year in donations, it would not be unreasonable to not require it to report in the same way as large political parties, which receive millions of dollars in donations a year, are required to report.

As a matter of fairness to small parties and to serve the interests of political diversity I think allowances should be made by the committee in its recommendations for small political parties.

Motion agreed to.

Hansard 2008-04-16 Peter Randles

Peter Kavanagh MLC for Western Victoria paid tribute in parliament to Peter Randles former MLA for Brunswick who passed away last Saturday 12 April 2008.

Activity: Members Statements
Date: 16 April 2008
Page: 1254

Page 1254

Peter Randles

Mr KAVANAGH (Western Victoria) -- I rise to pay tribute to a former MLA, the late Peter Randles, who passed away last Saturday at the age of 84. He was a hero in more ways than one.

During World War II, from the age of 18, Peter Randles served with Australian forces in New Guinea -- the time and place of Australia's most desperate need. In my opinion all those who served Australia in that theatre of war are true heroes of Australian history.

From a union family, he was elected Labor member for Brunswick at the age of 26. As an MLA he fulfilled the promise made in his maiden speech to represent Brunswick 'with zeal and enthusiasm'. He opposed extremist attempts to take over the Labor movement.

Along with a majority of ALP members in Victoria who resigned or were expelled, Peter Randles joined the Anti-Communist Labor Party, later called the DLP (Democratic Labor Party), even though it was unlikely to be personally advantageous.

In 1955 Mr Randles's seat of Brunswick was abolished and he stood as an Anti-Communist Labor Party candidate for the new seat of Brunswick West. He lost by only 82 votes and would surely have won except for the redistribution. In the circumstances the narrowness of his loss was a personal tribute. Of course his judgement and sacrifice have been vindicated by history.

Peter Randles then studied law at Melbourne University and had a long and successful legal career. More importantly, Peter Randles and his wife, Pauline, successfully raised a family of seven children.

I offer my sincere condolences and those of the DLP to Pauline and to their children, particularly their son, Paul, who I am proud to call a friend.


Peter Kavanagh MLC
Member for Western Victoria
Parliament of Victoria

"La Cabine"
2nd Floor
1 Yarra Street
Geelong VIC 3220

Ph: 03 5222 1503
Fax: 03 5222 8677

Email: peter.kavanagh@parliament.vic.gov.au
Blog: http://peterkavanagh.blogspot.com/
Site: http://www.dlpwestvic.org/

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