I spoke in support of the Justice Legislation Misc Amendment Bill 2019 – a bill that allows legal firms to charge contingency fees and spreads the costs across all participants. “This bill is about people, it is about justice and it is about doing what we can to ensure a level playing field is available through the legal system for everyday Victorians, like those blokes who drive taxi and hire cars, when things go wrong.”
There has been some questioning of the rationale behind taking on Uber, as opposed to suing the Government or the Regulator who changed the law to accommodate Uber. It was one of the first questions my colleague Andre Baruch and I asked when we first sought legal advice on the appropriate course of action back in 2015, when it became clear that Uber was being allowed to operate outside of the law.
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (09:50): Around three years ago I sat down at a dinner table with a couple of my mates, Mr Andre Baruch and Nadav Prawer. Nadav is a lawyer, and we were discussing the illegal entry into Victoria of Uber. That evening set the wheels in motion that brought us to 3 May, when the law firm Maurice Blackburn filed in the Supreme Court a class action against Uber. We started this originally just for our original members, but this has now grown to Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. This is going to be the largest class action this country has ever seen. I am very happy to be able to say that, and I am very proud of all of those people who have joined together to tell Uber that they are not making the rules. I am very happy about that.
Dealing with unfinished business of the taxi and hire car industry has been the top priority for Transport Matters party leader Rod Barton during the first quarter of his term in Victoria’s Legislative Council.