Article adapted from original report by Julianne Bell of Protectors of Public Lands.
Hysteria in Victorian Parliament disrupts Hearing on Finance and Administration
In Parliament yesterday (12 March 2010) television cameras from several stations caught a remarkable fracas when Planning Minister Madden gatecrashed the hearing of the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration. Madden's staff member, Peta Duke, was subpoenaed to attend but was apparently instructed by the Attorney General NOT to attend. ALP MP Matt Viney disrupted proceedings and effectively took over, upon which the Chair Gordon Rich Phillips left and then Peter Kavanagh, which meant that there was no quorum so the meeting collapsed.
What democratic Planning activists said to the Press
Following an interview with Madden there were excellent interviews with Peter Kavanagh, David Davis and Greg Barber. Community representatives, Mary Drost for Planning Backlash, Brian Walsh for Kew Cottages Coalition, and Julianne Bell for Protectors of Public Lands Victoria, made brief statements to the press. They spoke of their dismay at revelations that public consultations over planning developments had been revealed as sham and said that the farcical proceedings at the Parliamentary Inquiry were an insult to Parliament and hence to Victorians.
Purpose of the Hearing
On 3 March 2010, the Committee agreed to the following resolution: To inquire into and report on Victorian Government decision making, consultation and approval processes, and any knowledge and/or involvement of Ministers, Ministerial staff and/or Victorian Government officers since 1 December 2006 and, in particular, issues arising from media plans prepared within the Victorian Government since 1 December 2006.
The Public Hearings were scheduled for today in relation to the Inquiry. In particular the Windsor Hotel redevelopment planning process was to be looked into. These hearings were to have included one with Ms Peta Duke, Media Advisor to Planning Minister Justin Madden.
Public Submissions invited until 26 March 2010
For display on Parliament Website
However your submissions are treated in the Inquiry, having them on the Parliamentary Website is your opportunity for a real democratic voice. Tell people what you know and have seen and suffered through the planning and population push by big business and government in Victoria.
The Committee is inviting any individuals and organisations, wishing to express views on the terms of reference. Instructions are on the Inquiry website Guidelines for submissions may be downloaded here. Submissions will close on Friday, 26 March at 5.00 p.m. Once submissions are received, they will be displayed here: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/council/SCFPA/PC/Submissions/Index.html
Other contact details for this very important inquiry are as follows:
Inquiry into Victorian Government Decision Making, Consultation and Approval Processes
Council Committees Office
Department of the Legislative Council
East Melbourne, 3002
Phone: (03) 9651 8696
Fax: (03) 9651 6799
Parliamentary Press Release 3 March Terms of Inquiry
Here is a press release from the Inquiry dated 3 March 2010. In it we can see that the terms of the Inquiry were frustrated. This may be an indication of what is often said, that Victorian laws make it impossible to get answers from politicians so that corruption is unstoppable unless we change those laws.
Source was: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/council/SCFPA/PC/PRESS%20RELEASE.pdf
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION INQUIRY INTO VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DECISION MAKING, CONSULTATION AND APPROVAL PROCESSES
The Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration today met and resolved to inquire into and report on:
Victorian Government decision making, consultation and approval processes, and any knowledge and/or involvement of Ministers, Ministerial staff and/or Victorian Government officers since 1 December 2006 and in particular issues arising from media plans prepared within the Victorian Government since 1 December 2006.
The initial focus of the inquiry will be on the Windsor Hotel redevelopment process. The Committee has resolved to conduct public hearings and take evidence from the following witnesses:
• Hon. Justin Madden, MLC, Minister for Planning
• Mr Yehudi Blacher, Secretary, Department of Planning and Community Development
• Mr David Hodge, Department of Planning and Community Development
• Ms Peta Duke, media adviser
• Mr George Svigos, Premier’s media unit
• Ms Fiona Macrae, Premier’s media unit
Hearings are scheduled to commence on Friday 12 March 2010.
The Committee has also resolved to seek access to the ‘Minister for Planning Justin Madden Media Plan’ document and similar media plan documents.
GORDON RICH-PHILLIPS, MLC
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
3 March 2010