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Planning Minister Madden Panics Parliamentary Enquiry Committee: Hearing Abandoned

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.

See the the "Inquiry into Victorian Government Decision Making, Consultation and Approval Processes."

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:
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
Parliament House
Spring Street
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:

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.

3 March 2010


Justin Madden is responsible for the Respect Agenda, whatever it is it has something to do with football. However, we the people of Victoria would like some respect, and what we get is Justin Madden who knows nothing of transparency or accountability - surely elements of "respect".

The elegant Windsor Hotel will have a generic glass wall behind, 26 storeys high towering above this Grand Old Dame of a former and elegant era.

Contrary to the Windsor Hotel, from a time when buildings were individually crafted and designed for beauty and grace as well as function, today's boxes of glass and steel towers are heat traps and environmentally unsustainable.

The $200 million project will be the highest in the Parliamentary block, and set a precedent for further sun-blocking and glaring monster buildings in our Marvellous Melbourne, changing forever the dignity of the most elegant and historic part of our capital city.

It will be a hideous reminder of our Labor Government, and a symbol of stupidity and development-driven excesses that will be a blight on Melbourne's heritage area of the Parliament House and Her Majesty's Theatre.

The National Trust, Planning Backlash and Protectors of Public Lands have joined forces to hold a protest rally against a huge tower to be built onto the back of the Winsor Hotel, dwarfing it.
50% will be demolished. The tower will be 26 storeys high

Let the Brumby Government know YOU care about what happens
Rally at 1pm
Thursday, 25th of March, 2010
Parliament House Steps
Spring Street, Melbourne.

Save our Heritage
Stop Inappropriate Developments
Please Contact Your Representatives
Melbourne City Councillors
Robert Doyle (Lord Mayor)
Phone: (03) 9658 9658
Fax: (03) 9654 2628
Susan Riley (Deputy Lord Mayor) Phone: (03) 9658 9043 Fax: (03) 9658 9039
Cr Peter Clarke Phone: (03) 9658 9898 Fax: (03) 9658 9613 Mobile: 0401 100 141
Cr Carl Jetter Phone: (03) 9658 9038 Fax: (03) 9658 9613 Mobile: 0411 643 332
Cr Jennifer Kanis Phone: (03) 9658 9056 Fax: (03) 9658 9613
Cr Kevin Louey Phone: (03) 9658 9170 Fax: (03) 9658 9613
Cr Cathy Oke Phone: (03) 9658 9086 Fax: (03) 9658 9613
Cr Ken Ong Phone: (03) 9658 9704 Fax: (03) 9658 9613
Cr Brian Shanahan Phone: (03) 9658 9051 Fax: (03) 9658 9613
Members Of Parliament
John Brumby (Premier of Victoria)
Phone: (03) 9300 3851 Fax: 9300 3915
Justin Madden (State Planning Minister)
Ph: 9331 7644 Fax: 9637 8921
Bronwyn Pike (Member for Melbourne)
Phone: 9328 4637 Fax: 9326 8747
Richard Wynne (Local Government)
Ph: 9415 8901 Fax: 9415 8918
Guy, Matthew (Shadow Planning )
Tel: 9457 5328 Fax: 9455 2968
Barber, Greg (Green)
Tel: 9348?2622 Fax: 9348?2699

Mary Drost writes, "Thank you enormously to all of you who came to the rally today!

It went very well. Estimations are that there were about 1,000 people there. The police had big trouble packing us all along the lower steps and footpaths and keeping us off the road."

The mainstream media were all there so the event will almost certainly be covered by them over the next day or so.

Mary Drost suggests that it is time to start emailing MPs and demanding Madden rescind his approval of the development at the Windsor. Resolutions were adopted and handed in to Premier Brumby, although no-one came out of his office to get them.

A video of the event will soon be up at

1000 is a LOT for Melbourne!