Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (16:05): Not surprisingly, I join my crossbench colleagues in opposing this motion. In some ways if this motion had been more nuanced, if this motion had been about how do we get the best out of the Legislative Council, how do we get the best for the people of Victoria, how do we get the best diversity of representation in this chamber, then I think it would have been a very different conversation. But the tone and the way this was taken was that for some reason under the current system, because of the current system, many of us are undeserving of being here. That is really what this motion goes to: that we do not deserve to be sitting in this chamber. That is not the case.
As Mr Limbrick has said and as I have said in this chamber and I have said in the media many times, the people of Victoria, about 25 per cent of them, voted for someone other than the Greens, than the Labor Party, than the Liberal Party, and that is reflected in the make-up of this chamber. I actually think that that shows the diversity of our community and it shows the will of the people. Twenty-five per cent of people did not want the Greens, Labor or Liberals in this chamber.
I will acknowledge I am not happy with preference harvesting for cash. I have certainly first read a bill to debate that, and I intend to pursue that. I am not completely happy with the way it works today, but that does not mean baby out with bathwater—that means working together to find a better system, to find a system that works that still reflects the will of Victorians, and this motion does not go there.
To say people here should not be here does reek of self-interest. I note Dr Ratnam assured us that she would be called a hypocrite, assured us that she would be accused of self-interest, and she is absolutely right. I have many times been sat in back rooms with not-so-faceless people from the Greens insisting that I put my preferences in a certain way. If I was to get any support from them, I must allocate my preferences in the way that the Greens saw as suitable. In fact because I denied them that in the 2018 election, they preferenced against the Reason Party everywhere they could. They tried their hardest to ensure that I was not re-elected here. I am pleased that they were not successful.
This motion has provided a catalyst for Mr Druery to come and visit our Parliament. I have seen him doing the rounds and knocking on various doors. I do not think it was about any of the bills that we will be debating this week; I suspect it was about something quite different. But the way that I go about trying to change that is by actually introducing legislation.
Again we have a motion here that is self-serving but does not go anywhere. It does not go anywhere to achieve anything. It does not change the Electoral Act 2002. It does not even try to change it. It basically says, ‘There should be more of us. You guys shouldn’t be here. Please discuss’. I think quite formidably the crossbench has discussed it, and there have been a few drop-mic moments. I would like to certainly compliment Mr Barton on his contribution here. It was passionate, and it is the reason we so admire and appreciate his presence in this chamber. As we have all said, we do not all agree with each other. In fact I think this would probably be one of the very few times that the majority of us agree with each other. Before Mr Quilty accuses me of self-interest in this regard, I would say that I do not think it is self-interest; I actually think that we are doing some really good work. We are actually going and sitting at the table.
We are not the government—we recognise that. We are not even trying to be the government, but what we are trying to do is nudge and advocate on behalf of our constituents, advocate on behalf of the platforms that we went to the election on, the platforms that we were elected on. I look around this chamber and I look at my crossbench colleagues and I see that they have done exactly that. For me when I was selected in 2014 it was voluntary assisted dying. That was the first thing I put up in this chamber, and we are now heading to two years of that being operational in this state. Supervised injecting room, drug law reform—there are a whole range of issues that the Reason Party has brought to this chamber and has effected change on. And some of those policies were not things that the government was necessarily going to travel down regardless—it was with advocacy, it was working with the government that achieved these things. I think this is something that the crossbench has done well.
Certainly we oppose the government on certain positions, but on other positions we work with them to make them better. There would be numerous instances where I know of the work that my colleagues have done in improving legislation, in getting change for the people that they came here to represent. For me, I represent the people of Northern Metro but I also represent the people that voted for the Reason Party not just in Northern Metro but across the state, and I am proud to do that.
I do not support this motion, and sadly I do think it is hypocritical and I do think that it reeks of self-interest. I actually will stand by this. I think that this is somewhat of a stunt. There were so many other things that the Greens could have brought to this chamber in those two precious times we are allocated to lead debate, but we are not talking about deaths in custody, we are talking about a group voting ticket. I oppose this motion.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Ms Ratnam’s motion 5/5/21