I rise to endorse Mr Grimley’s remarks, and to reaffirm that Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party will be supporting this motion.
Not because we particularly enjoy having to comment on or debate such issues, or because we derive any pleasure whatsoever out of any aspect of what has come to light over the past few days.
Mainly, we do so because (as Mr Grimley has said) we would like to express our concern and revulsion at what has become apparent through the various revelations aired this week on the 60 Minutes program and in The Age newspaper.
I say that not only in respect of the corrosion of democracy itself – but also the degradation of the basic purpose that every parliamentarian is meant to fulfil. Which is not to build our own personal power and empires, but instead to represent and selflessly advance the views of others. Especially our constituents.
In our party, we were also disgusted (like many Victorians) at the language used by Mr Somyurek about many others … and about women and the LGBTQI community, in particular. How on Earth do we seriously expect Victorians, as a whole, to respect women and minority groups (and to stop degrading them) when so-called community representatives and leaders themselves do the opposite?
I’m obviously not the first to say it this week – but all such comments made by Mr Somyurek were completely intolerable and unacceptable to Mr Grimley and me, and we repudiate them.
In making all of those reflections, I also do sincerely acknowledge and accept Ms Symes’ well-made point in Question Time yesterday that Labor Party MLCs also feel angry about the events and revelations of recent days, as well.
That, indeed, is the way we should all feel.
Specifically on this motion itself, Mr Grimley and I agree that it is appropriate that the Ombudsman also be asked to investigate these incredibly serious (and wide-ranging) allegations and matters that do go straight to the heart of Victorian democracy.
Whilst Victoria Police and IBAC are already being asked to investigate, we accept the view put by the Coalition that there is also a place for the Ombudsman to undertake a further inquiry as well.
The people of Victoria are owed nothing less here than full transparency and accountability – and the Ombudsman, in our view, has a very valuable and important role to play in that process.
I therefore indicate again that we will support the Opposition on this motion, and thank them for moving it.