30 August 2023, 10:58
Legislative Council of Victoria

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

I am a bit uncomfortable in speaking to this motion, and I come to it I suppose as one of the ‘newbies’ here. But I am trying to look at it from the outside, because I do not think many people actually watch what is happening here in real time. And can I say to both of those people: thank you for your time in sharing with us. I think, more broadly, most people are really sceptical about what we do here sometimes and how we operate sometimes. It is not that there are not really important things that happen here, it is just that we need to be seen to be doing things properly sometimes.

Bev McARTHUR (Western Victoria):


Now, let us do it at least sometimes, yes? Let us do it sometimes; maybe other times we will just be grossly opportunistic. But I guess coming back to the question of the Commonwealth Games and this motion before us, can I firstly record that Legalise Cannabis Victoria voted with the majority of this house – that is, the opposition and every other member of the crossbench ‍– to support the establishment of an inquiry. We voted that way because we thought, and we still think, that there are important questions that need to be answered about how we ended up in this situation, and Mr McGowan has eloquently expressed some of those, I think.

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

But I would like to just sort of step back for one minute when we think about this resolution that is before us, because I know, even though I am new here, that when we refer something off to an inquiry, we are not sending it off to a court. It is not a court. And the members who will participate in that inquiry, they are not impartial jurors. We all take our values. Goodness knows when working in this place you get so much information it is hard not to have an opinion on so many things. But I think, notwithstanding that, it is really important that when we go into an inquiry we are seen by the public to go into that inquiry with an open mind. Irrespective of our political tags, irrespective of where we have put ourselves on the record, we are going in there for a thoughtful process where taxpayer funds will be spent on an inquiry to try and get to the truth. And then I look at this motion, and it sort of reminds me of – I am going to show my age here; I do not know how many people remember the Mel Brooks classic Blazing Saddles.

Members interjecting.

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

There are a few people who might remember it. And you might recall there is a scene in Blazing Saddles where the heroes are in front of a lynch mob.

Nick McGOWAN (North-Eastern Metropolitan):

Who was the hero?

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

Don’t go there. And the lynch mob are saying, ‘Hang ’em, hang ’em, hang ’em up high.’ And the judge steps up and tells them all to shut up: ‘Shut up. We’re going to try ’em first, and then we’re going to hang ’em.’ And I am afraid when I look at this motion and I think about this motion and this inquiry coming up, it is awfully Mel Brooks, because you are saying to everyone in Victoria, ‘We’re going to hang ’em.’ It does not matter what comes out in the inquiry; we have already made up our minds, because this motion says just that – that we have already made up our minds. So it is in that context and in that context specifically, not because of any lack of questions to be asked through the inquiry but for the very question of the probity and the dignity of this place and this process, that Legalise Cannabis will be opposing this motion.


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