Bail Amendment Bill

MR DIMOPOULOS (Oakleigh) — It gives me pleasure to speak on the Bail Amendment (Stage One) Bill 2017, and I will start the way I normally finish, by commending the Attorney-General. I will commend him now because he is in the chamber. I commend him on his work on not only this bill but also, in effect, an enormous number of bills that come through the Parliament. At the risk of embarrassing the Attorney-General, I have not met anyone who has a better grasp of the criminal justice system, the bail and parole framework and the matters that are at the very heart of this bill.

This bill does some very important things, but before I get to those important things, I am going to take the lead of the member for Broadmeadows, who is very, very well spoken, and compare the member for Mount Waverley and those opposite to the Trump-esque style of politics. It was really disappointing to hear the member for Mount Waverley again speak the rubbish that he tried to prosecute in this chamber the other week. Now I have had the displeasure of hearing him twice perpetuate the same rubbish.

On this occasion though I have the evidence to record in Hansard. I want to hold him to account, and I want to inform his community, because he is doing the exact opposite, as the member for Broadmeadows said.

Mr Edbrooke interjected.

Mr DIMOPOULOS — The member for Frankston says he is on a different planet. I think he is. This is absolute rubbish. Let us be reminded of what he said. He said a senior member of the Labor Party is strongly suggesting that four stations in Monash will close and become a super-station. There are two untruths in that. Firstly, what does ‘a senior member of the Labor Party’ mean in relation to the Andrews government? A senior member of the Labor Party could mean anything. In the member for Mount Waverley’s mind what he is actually talking about — let us call a spade a spade — is Cr Geoff Lake from the City of Monash. At a formal council meeting a few weeks ago he put on the public record his view that we should have super-stations. Good on him. Geoff is an articulate and intelligent councillor and a long-time member of the Labor Party. I have got nothing against Geoff, but he is not a member of the Andrews government. He is not the police minister. He is not the Attorney-General.

Mr Mendacious over there, the member for Mount Waverley, is not honest and accountable enough to name the person, so it leaves the observer or the media wondering who this senior Labor person could be. Is it the Minister for Police? No, it is a councillor at the City of Monash, who has as much influence on police policy as my grandmother does. That is about where it rests.

Mr Foley — Your grandmother is a fine woman.

Mr DIMOPOULOS — Yes. This is the kind of rubbish that does not belong in this place — this grey kind of ‘pull a bit of truth out of here and make it a full truth over there’. That is the first thing.

Secondly, and this is the most outrageous, this is the very thing that the member for Mount Waverley was accusing Cr Geoff Lake of putting forward. The member for Mount Waverley’s government put it forward under former Premier Denis Napthine. Here is the evidence — there is far more than what was in the Age, but this is one example. An article by Nino Bucci published in the Age of 11 August 2014 — who was in government on 11 August 2014? The member for Mount Waverley was in government — was headed ‘Police stations in Melbourne’s east under threat’. This is important, so I might read a bit of this article:

Four police stations in Melbourne’s east would close and be replaced with the first of Chief Commissioner Ken Lay’s ‘super sites’ under a plan being pushed by force command.

Only two months after Premier Denis Napthine declared that no stations would close under a coalition government, it has emerged that police may ignore concerns of local MPs and almost $2 million of station upgrades in the past year to build a ‘hub’ in Notting Hill.

The move could have major ramifications in several key seats ahead of the November 29 election, as other battles regarding police resources rage across Victoria.

Glen Waverley, Mount Waverley, Oakleigh and Clayton stations —

that is interesting — they are the exact stations the member for Mount Waverley was referencing as being part of Labor’s plan; they were in his plan —

would close under the plan, replaced by a ‘super site’, a vision for policing revealed in the blue paper, released by Mr Lay in June.

The article goes on, and they had even worked out a site:

Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said the Notting Hill station would be located on a site near Bunnings on Ferntree Gully Road, almost directly in the middle of the four stations under threat. The blue paper …

and it goes on. Further down it says:

A Victoria Police spokesman said a feasibility study was being conducted on the Monash police service area, with no decisions made on the future of stations. There was no time line for the study.

Oakleigh station, which received a $316 000 upgrade from the coalition in October, is in the marginal electorate of the same name and is held by Labor MP Ann Barker — —

Mr Dixon — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, the member has been speaking at some length about police stations in Mount Waverley, and this is a bail bill. I am not sure of the relevance of his contribution.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! There is no point of order.

Mr DIMOPOULOS — Ordinarily I think that would be a reasonable thing to suggest, but given that the member for Mount Waverley opened this entire debate on police stations, I think you get the point.

In a nutshell what has happened here — and it is the second time it has happened — is that this member has taken completely out of context what a local councillor, who just happens to be a member of the Labor Party in his private time, has said and linked it to a policy proposition put forward by the member for Mount Waverley’s then government, the Napthine government. He has put the two together and somehow a plan has been hatched. This guy is worse than Baldrick; he is all over the place.

Mr Pakula — At least he knew something about turnips.

Mr DIMOPOULOS — That is right. As the Attorney-General says, at least Baldrick knew something about turnips. But I digress.

Mr Southwick — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, I think we have heard enough here. This is about relevance. We need to bring the member back to the bill rather than have him criticising members in this house.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I ask the member to return to speaking on the bill.

Mr DIMOPOULOS — Thank you for the indulgence, Deputy Speaker, but I was addressing a substantive issue raised by the member for Mount Waverley. As the member for Broadmeadows and other speakers said, this bill not only achieves practical security for the Victorian community but also comes on top of significant investments in other resources across police and across the court system, including really important programs like the court integrated services program and others which support the diversion of young offenders away from the criminal justice system.

This government is not a one-trick pony. We cover the entire framework of the criminal justice system, and this bill is a significant part of that. As other speakers have said, this bill will insert a purpose and guiding principles section into the Bail Act 1977, clarify tests for granting bail, clarify powers of police, bail justices and courts to grant bail, implement recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Family Violence relating to bail and clarify provisions relating to the bail conditions, as the Attorney-General outlined extensively in his second-reading speech. This is one of a number of initiatives this government has undertaken in response to the issues of crime.

Of course there is crime. No-one is hiding that. The only people who hid the issue of crime were those opposite. One more point on the member for Mount Waverley: he misquoted and essentially verballed the Chief Commissioner of Police when he said that he got up in a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearing and made all these allegations that our government did not fund police and that we cut police. What the Chief Commissioner of Police said was that we in Victoria have the second-lowest youth crime rate in Australia, apart from the ACT. He also said at the PAEC hearings in February — and the chair of PAEC is in the chamber — that crime in Victoria started trending up in 2011. Who was in power in 2011? Those opposite were.

I am proud of the Andrews government’s wholehearted response to the issues of safety and crime. I am proud of this bill, I am proud of the work of the Attorney-General, and I will not tolerate rubbish perpetuated with no substance, as the member for Broadmeadows said, by those on the opposite side. I commend the bill to the house.