Last week the House sat for the first time following the busy Budget Estimates hearings earlier in the month. Four government bills were passed, three government and two private members’ bills were introduced and a number of private members’ business motions were debated.
The sitting week began with Ms Cate Faehrmann (The Greens) signing the roll of the House after her election to the Council at a joint sitting in August. Ms Faehrmann had previously served as a member of the Council from 2010-2013.
Following the resignation of Dr Mehreen Faruqi in August, four crossbench committee positions became vacant. Ms Faehrmann was appointed to the Procedure and Public Works Committees. However, as more than one member nominated for the Privileges Committee and Portfolio Committee No. 5 – Industry and Transport, ballots were held on Tuesday to determine membership. Through this process Ms Faehrmann was elected to the Privileges Committee, while Mr Mark Pearson (Animal Justice Party) was elected to the Portfolio Committee. This was the first time Mr Pearson had been elected to serve on a standing committee.
Also on Tuesday, the Selection of Bills Committee recommended that the House refer to the Law and Justice Committee a road transport bill to address drink- and drug‑driving behaviour. The House agreed to this recommendation and the bill was referred the next day at the end of the second reading debate. The committee will report by Tuesday 25 September following a single half day hearing.
On a busy Wednesday the House passed four government bills and introduced a further three. In addition, the Chair of the Social Issues Committee, Mr Shayne Mallard (Government), successfully moved that the committee conduct an inquiry into the response to gay and transgender hate crimes between 1970 and 2010 and current developments in policy and practice in relation to such crimes.
Two new bills were introduced on private members’ business day on Thursday. Mr David Shoebridge (The Greens) introduced a bill regarding “double jeopardy” following the decision by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal not to allow a retrial to be held in relation to the Bowraville murders. Mr Robert Borsak (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party) also introduced a bill to impose a 10-year moratorium on the creation of any new marine parks. Similar bills were previously introduced by these parties. In 2011 a bill passed providing for a five-year moratorium on the creation of new marine parks, while in 2016 a similar double jeopardy bill was negatived on the seconding reading in the Council.
There are now only five more scheduled sitting weeks before the election.
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