Last week in the House, ballots were held to elect Crossbench members for several standing committees, the first three committee inquiries of the 57th Parliament were established and six newly elected members gave their first speeches. The first orders for papers of the new parliament were also agreed to last week.

On Tuesday, the House held six ballots to elect Crossbench members for several standing committees. Crossbench members are nominated by agreement between crossbench members. If agreement cannot be reached, the House is required to choose the members by secret ballot. The results of the ballots can be found on the List of Committees.

This week saw the first three committee inquiries referred by the House. On Tuesday, through the Selection of Bills process, the House referred the provisions of the Ageing and Disability Commissioner Bill 2019 to the Standing Committee on Social Issues for an inquiry. The committee is to report by 4 June 2019, the day the House next sits. The bill seeks to establish an Ageing and Disability Commissioner, with the purpose of protecting adults with disability and older adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation and protecting and promoting their rights.

On Thursday two other inquiries were referred. The Crimes (Appeal and Review) Amendment (Double Jeopardy) Bill 2019 was referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice. This is the third bill introduced by Mr Shoebridge (The Greens) with the object of extending the exception to the rule against double jeopardy in relation to an acquitted person where previously inadmissible evidence becomes admissible and to allow for a second application for the retrial of an acquitted person to be made in exceptional circumstances. Mr Shoebridge indicated that the purpose of the bill is to seek justice on behalf of Aboriginal families whose three children were murdered in Bowraville almost 30 years ago.

The Regulation Committee also received a referral from the House to inquire into and report on the Liquor Amendment (Music Festivals) Regulation 2019 and the Gaming and Liquor Administration Amendment (Music Festivals) Regulation 2019.

The government introduced a bill to provide greater functions for legal deposit libraries. Other bills introduced last week include private members’ bills on the Repeal of Lock-out Laws, protections for contractors who deliver bread, cream and milk, and allow for performance audits of the Northern Beaches Hospital.

On Thursday, three orders for papers were agreed to ― GoNSW Equity Fund; Land Clearing; and Murray River to Broken Hill Pipeline. These motions for orders for papers were considered as short form motions under the new sessional orders. Short form motions have a total debate time of 30 minutes, as opposed to the standard debate time of two hours, with the mover given five minutes to speak and any other member given no more than three minutes to speak.

Also last week six newly elected members gave their first speeches: Mr Tudehope, Ms Boyd, Ms Moriarty, Mr Banasiak, Mr D’Adam and Ms Hurst.

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Have you ever wanted to work in the Legislative Council and gain firsthand experience of the operations of Parliament, including Legislative Council committees and the annual Budget Estimates process? Well here is your chance! The Legislative Council is offering a unique 12 week professional development opportunity for public sector officers from 19 August to 8 November 2019. Details on how to apply can be found here.