The focus of this sitting week was to complete consideration of all government legislation. For this reason there was no debate on committee reports and only one private members’ business item considered; a condolence motion for the former member Ms Ann Symonds AM.
In total the Legislative Council passed 17 government bills, one of the most significant being the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment (Firefighters) Bill 2018. This introduced a presumptive right in the workers compensation scheme for firefighters diagnosed with one of 12 prescribed cancers to make a claim for workers compensation.
The bill was debated on Thursday and was initially amended by the Council to ensure that firefighters who contracted one of these cancers before 27 September 2018 could also lodge a claim. The Government was not in favour of these amendments, and for the second time in two weeks, the Legislative Assembly voted to reject Council amendments. The Assembly noted that Treasury figures had costed the effect of these amendments as being around $1 billion and committed to support a committee inquiry next year into the full cost of retrospectivity, to be chaired by Reverend Nile. The matter was again considered in the Council and, following a number of divisions, the House agreed to ‘not insist’ on its amendments.
The final sitting week also marked the last opportunity for members to have their motions agreed to by the Council. Over the course of the last four years members gave notice of 2,675 motions, and this week, the House passed 48 of these as formal business – which is an opportunity for members to have their items passed without amendment or debate. That means a grand total of 522 motions were passed as formal business this year.
November is also annual report time, with 135 annual reports from government departments and agencies tabled in the Legislative Council this week. The Department of the Legislative Council also produced an annual report yesterday which is now available online.
Over the course of the week, Ms Dawn Walker, Mr Scot MacDonald and Mr Ernest Wong all farewelled the House with valedictory speeches. This followed speeches from Mr David Clarke and Mr Rick Colless in the previous week. We wish non-returning members all the best in the future.
Finally, thank you to our readers for following our blog this year. While there won’t be any sittings to update you on for a few months, stay tuned for updates on committee inquiries, the election and what we promise will be interesting parliamentary updates and facts.