Statement by the Member for Waverley

June 29th, 2011 posted by

This morning I travelled to Parliament via train from Glen Waverley. As a resident of Waverley and its local MP, I use public transport regularly.

My train arrived at Parliament Station at 8:55am this morning and I proceeded to leave the station complex.

On exiting the station, I received a brochure from an individual.

I then sought advice from authorised officers at the station on the distribution of this information because I do not believe it is appropriate for commuters to be approached in this manner by people distributing this information.

The officers checked with station officials and advised me that it was inappropriate for the information to be distributed in the station precinct. They also advised that such distribution was unlawful under Melbourne City Council regulations without an advertised permit.

Based on this advice, I approached the people distributing this information, at least one of whom was wearing a Parliamentary pass.

I asked their names and where they were from. The female person indicated she was not prepared to provide her name, however she did confirm she worked for the Member for Northcote.

I asked the male person to identify himself, but he refused to do so.

The male person also claimed that they were both volunteers, upon which the female person then changed her story and claimed she was a volunteer.

The male person asked for my name, which I provided.

After identifying myself as a Member of Parliament, I again asked these people for their names which they again declined to provide.

As I was concerned at the information being distributed, and the way commuters were being approached by these people who had refused to provide their names, I attempted to photograph their faces.

While attempting to do this, the people did everything they could to shield their appearance and conceal their identities.

During my conversation with these people, I did not raise my voice or behave in an inappropriate manner.

While I remain concerned at this inappropriate distribution of material, I apologise for any offence that may have been taken.

I have asked the Speaker to investigate the distribution of this material with particular reference to any staff employed by the Member for Northcote in view of the guidelines governing the use of parliamentary resources.

Michael Gidley

State Member of Parliament for Waverley

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