I too am very pleased to rise to speak on Mr Barton’s bill. I too want to congratulate him for bringing this bill. It seems odd on a Wednesday that we are actually debating something of real substance and public policy importance. We have now got the first 11 and the second 11. When the second 11 were in control, Wednesdays were just a wasted day. It turned into ‘permanently outraged day’. It was always, ‘We’re outraged about something. We’re outraged about this’. Very rarely did we spend the time debating pieces of public policy that were meaningful and that would actually advance debate here in this place and in this state. But thank goodness we have now got the first 11 in this chamber, who are bringing real policy positions to the chamber for debate.
Mr Barton is very, very passionate about this area of public policy, as he has been since he got into the place, and I congratulate him for bringing this bill before the house. But it is not all like that, I have got to say. There are exceptions to the rules. Unlike Ms Patten, who enjoyed Mr Limbrick’s contribution, I actually thought it was commentary from one of those cartoon episodes of Wacky Races. I mean, fair dinkum! I am just not quite sure where some of this stuff comes from, but what it does do, I think, is underline exactly what the Liberal Democrats do stand for. It is only a matter of time. We do not actually have to peel that onion for the Victorian people; they are going to do it very, very nicely themselves. You will expose yourselves for what you really are and what you really stand for when the Victorian people become absolutely aware of what it is that you are on about. I am not sure, Mr Quilty, that you will be giving anybody else any political advice in this place.
You might want to contain it to yourself. But other than that I am, as I said, very pleased to stand here and speak on this particular bill. I do want to pick up on a couple of things that Mr Limbrick touched on, because you cannot just write this off as a bunch of unemployed people who get together and try and generate a bit of income for themselves. What is wrong with that? Because this place has debated all manner of things over its journey, including things like sham contractors, people who are unlicensed in industries who go ahead and conduct work and portray themselves as experts and as people who have the skills in the particular industry that they are trying to earn a quid in. Of course there are all manner of consequences, as we know, right across the board. In this instance Ms Vaghela talked about last year when a 27-year-old woman was raped. So there are genuine safety concerns, and you cannot just say, ‘Well, gee, it’s just a bunch of kids getting together—18- to 24-year-olds’.
Mr Limbrick seems to know a lot about Bendigo, I have got to say. He seems to know a heck of a lot about Bendigo. I am tipping his mate, who sits next to him in the chamber, has probably given him a few notes there. You might want to come to Bendigo, you might want to spend a bit more time there and it might disabuse you of some of the things that you talked about today. We are not just about booze. We are not just about parties. It is a thriving town that is going places. We do have taxis. We do have rideshares. We have all of those things that you would expect. In fact last time I was there, when I was there on the weekend, I think we even got electricity. I am pretty sure. I saw somebody pedalling very fast as I was driving down the highway to come to Melbourne to spend some time in this place. Of course the other problem with touting is that is becomes a bit—we heard the stories from Mr Finn, but I do not want to go there. The mental images of Mr Finn, if we go back to the stories that Mr Finn told of his days as a schoolboy in his short pants on the bus and the vinyl seats. He got stuck to the seats. I am not sure if he needed some skin grafts, but I am sure we needed to— Mr Davis: On a point of order, President, Mr Finn’s schooldays are beyond the purview of this bill. Mr GEPP: On the point of order, President, Mr Finn opened the door himself in his contribution on this bill, and I am simply addressing matters that he raised. Mr Davis was not in the chamber. The PRESIDENT: Mr Gepp, you are responding to a previous debate? Mr GEPP: Yes, to a contribution.
The PRESIDENT: I would ask you to come back to the bill if you could.
Mr GEPP: I shall. It was in the context of Mr Finn telling us about his woes on Melbourne Cup Day and being approached by a touter. I am not sure whether he got approached or did the approaching. Ms Patten interjected
. Mr GEPP: Ms Patten, I will pick up that interjection. It could be that he was actually rejected. I want to see some photos of what he was wearing, because it may well have been that the car did not have any seat covers and Mr Finn was in his usual garb of shorts. Anyway, I think you can all imagine where that might go. Of course the other issue with touting is that it becomes a cash economy where the people who are performing the job, taking the work of licensed and regulated workers, are putting cash in their pockets—not paying tax—and are of course virtually anonymous to all of the regulations that exist around the taxi industry, the rideshare industry and all commercial passenger vehicles. That is the point Mr Barton has been making very eloquently in this chamber and also in discussions with the minister.
I understand that the minister and Mr Barton have been having some very detailed conversations about an amendment to a bill that is in the other place and that agreement has been reached. In fact I have got a copy of Hansard with the minister’s contribution on that bill, and she says: Before I finish my contribution to the house, I understand that the Transport Matters Party intends to move an amendment to this bill in the other place. I understand that the amendment will seek to extend the long title of the bill and introduce a touting offence for the commercial passenger vehicle industry. I have had a number of conversations with Mr Barton and I note that he has been a vocal advocate for the matters contained in his amendment. As a government we have been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders across the industry, and we are happy to say that the government is supportive of this amendment. With that, I will end my contribution. I know that Ms Maxwell has a few things to say before we hit the expiry of the discussion.