Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) — I am very pleased to rise to speak to this motion and I am very pleased that e-petitions will become a reality in the Victorian Legislative Council — and hopefully in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in the not-too-distant future. I have to note that the motion that I put on the notice paper last year was almost a replica of a 2009 Legislative Assembly motion after a Legislative Assembly committee had strongly recommended e-petitions, so it is certainly something that this Parliament has been grappling with, possibly somewhat unnecessarily, for many years, but in 2017 it is wonderful.
As Ms Pulford and Ms Wooldridge said, so many of our constituents expect to communicate with us electronically. They expect to be able to communicate with us via email, via social media and generally online. I was set in motion on this when I suggested to a young constituent that they start a petition. I started to explain the petition process, and they were just looking at me blankly. I said, ‘Yes, it’s done on a piece of paper’, and I almost felt like they did not know what a piece of paper was. The whole notion of a paper petition was just so foreign to them; they really had only known online petitions, so I think it is great to be responding to that.
I have no doubt that the papers office will be very pleased with the introduction of e-petitions and the work that that will save them. I have had the privilege of looking at the base of it and at the good Mr Swanson’s work. I think it is very accessible — —
Ms Shing — Is there a bad Mr Swanson?
Ms PATTEN — I do not think there is a bad Mr Swanson; I think there is only a good Mr Swanson. He is very good at this, and not only is it very accessible, it is also shareable, which no doubt our constituents will enjoy. I think it is time to then think about where we go next with our petitions and how we respond to petitions, because at the moment the petitions system is very one-way: people send a petition in, we receive it, end of story. Possibly it is not to go down the American path — I think they are building the death star over there, are they, due to a petition?
Ms Shing — And a very big wall.
Ms PATTEN — And a very big wall — I am not sure that was a petition, I think that was just a president.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Finn) — Order! Ms Shing, we are attempting to get along, and it would be very helpful if you would restrain yourself. Ms Patten, it would also be very helpful if you directed your comments through the Chair.
Ms Lovell interjected.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Finn) — Order! And Ms Lovell, it would also be very helpful if you kept you own counsel. Thank you very much.
Ms PATTEN — Thank you, Acting President; duly taken note of. I am pleased to see e-petitions become a reality, I look forward to seeing the community interact with this and I look forward to seeing the further evolutions of e-petitions in this house.