It was a busy Private Members’ day on Thursday with three bills introduced, nine orders for papers, one committee reference, and six general motions debated.
Operation of Private Members’ day
The non-government members in the Legislative Council are taking full advantage of new rules for private members’ business on Thursdays. In the morning, the House agreed to a list of 20 items to be considered – 2 by Government members, 7 by Opposition members and 11 by Crossbenchers. When the House adjourned at 10.46 pm, debate on 7 items had been partly discussed and adjourned until the next sitting week, one item negatived and 12 items agreed to.
On Thursday the bill passed its remaining stages in the Assembly. The second reading debate was agreed to on division (56:33) and 21 amendments were agreed to during consideration in detail.
The Standing Committee on Social Issues has commenced its inquiry into the provisions of the bill and will report back to the House by Tuesday 20 August. The Legislative Council is expected to then consider the bill that week.
The bill introduced by Mr Banasiak (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party) amends the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 to provide for the authorisation of tree thinning operations in the Murray Valley National Park and Pilliga National Park, including the removal and sale of timber or timber products obtained from the carrying out of those operations.
During his second reading speech, Mr Banasiak stated that the bill would provide rural and regional towns the opportunity to create jobs and drive up local economies as well as reducing the threat of fire and creating habitat for native fauna. Mr Banasiak also noted that although the current legislation allows for tree thinning in both the Murray Valley and the Pilliga National Parks, it is extremely difficult to do.
At the conclusion of the mover’s second reading speech debate was adjourned for 5 calendar days.
The bill, introduced by Revd Nile (Christian Democratic Party) amends the Crimes Act 1900 to establish a separate offence of “serious harm to or the destruction of an unborn child,” and extends the offence of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm causing the destruction of, or serious harm to, an unborn child so that it applies to dangerous driving.
According to Revd Nile’s second reading speech the reference to ‘Zoe’ in the title of the bill refers to the death of an unborn child in 2009 as a result of injuries sustained by her mother who was run down by a drug-affected driver. Revd Nile stated that the driver was charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm to the mother, but not for the death of the child in utero as she was not legally regarded as a person and that the bill was an appropriate response to the inadequacies of existing legislation.
At the conclusion of Revd Nile’s speech debate was adjourned for 5 calendar days.
This is the third time Revd Nile has introduced a Zoe’s Law bill.
The bill seeks to repeal the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018 and dissolve the Wild Horse Community Advisory Panel.
Ms Sharpe (ALP) introduced the bill and gave her second reading speech (see Hansard for a transcript of the speech). She noted that the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage bill was strongly opposed when it was introduced in 2018 and continues to be opposed by the Labor Party, environmentalists and scientists as it prioritises the protection of wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park above all else. Ms Sharpe stated that the wild horse population is growing at an unsustainable rate and is threatening the park’s ecosystem. At the conclusion of Ms Sharpe’s speech, debate was adjourned for five calendar days.
ORDERS FOR PAPERS
On Thursday, another 9 orders for papers were agreed to by the House. A total of 23 orders for paper have been agreed to in the five sitting weeks of this year. This number already exceeds the 18 orders for papers in the 4 year 56th Parliament.
The orders agreed to this week were:
- Restructure of the Transport Cluster
- CBD and South East Light Rail
- Recruitment of the CEO of Landcom
- Migration intake for New South Wales
- Management of Asbestos in the Blue Mountains
- Privatisation of Plantation Forests
- Urban Planning and Population Density
- Recruitment of medical practitioners at Parkes Hospital and Lachlan Health Service
- NSW Land and Housing Corporation contracts for public maintenance and planned works
The Government acknowledged the power of the House to compel the production of State papers but warned that such a power should be exercised with the utmost care and restraint. The Government argued that the administrative burden imposed by these orders was extremely onerous and costly.
In support of the substantial number of orders for papers listed as items of business on Thursday, the Opposition argued that the orders were necessary as the Government had not been transparent in its operations, and the information could not be accessed through freedom of information legislation.
Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) stated that the party would continue to seek government information through order for papers if the Government did not provide information in response to questions.
All orders for papers resolved by the House, including due dates and any documents returned, can be viewed on our Orders for Papers webpage.
In addition to the motions for orders for papers, six other motions were debated:
- Mr Pearson’s (Animal Justice Party) motion established a Select Committee to inquire into and report on the effectiveness of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, and in particular the suitability of charitable organisations, such as the RSPCA, to administer and enforce the law. Mr Pearson noted that the committee’s inquiry would not commence until the third week of October 2019 due to the current heavy workload of Legislative Council committees. The motion was agreed to on division (23:18), with all parties except for the Government and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party supporting the establishment of the committee. The committee is due to report by 2 April 2020.
- The motion moved Ms Jackson (ALP) noted the underpayment of staff at George Calombaris’ mAdE Establishment and called on the Government to urgently take legislative action to criminalise wage theft. An amendment of Mr Roberts (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) omitted the call to criminalise wage theft and instead inserted that the House endorse additional financial penalties. Mr D’Adam (ALP) moved an amendment to Mr Roberts’ amendment to reinsert the criminal offence but was defeated on division (20:21). The original motion as amended was agreed to.
- Mr Field (Independent) raised the issue of potential logging of old-growth and high-conservation-value public forests on the North Coast, and called on the Government to end the remapping and rezoning of old-growth forests and ensure that currently protected forests not be opened to logging. Debate will continue on the next private member’s day.
- Ms Boyd’s (Greens) motion noting the impact the Government’s intention to cease funding disability advocacy on 20 June 2020 would have on people with disability accessing local advocates, and calling on the Government to ensure that secure, long-term funding for independent disability advocacy, was agreed to.
- Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) called on the House to support the abolition of the NSW Climate Change Fund, which in his view had failed to deliver its objectives, and to discontinue perceived wasteful spending. The motion was defeated on division (5:36).
- Mrs Ward’s (The Liberals) motion recognises the commitment of East Rugby Club’s support for women in sport. Debate will continue on a future private member’s day.
- Mr Martin’s (The Liberals) motion recognises the Surf Life Saving Sydney Branch 2019 Awards of Excellence. Debate will continue on a future private member’s day.
The following members spoke to the adjournment debate:
- Mr Nile – Christianity
- Mr Blair – Australian Cyclist Caleb Ewan
- Mr Graham – Premier’s Priorities
- Mr Pearson – Animal Agriculture
- Mr Franklin – Artstate NSW
- Mr Veitch – Dog on the Tuckerbox Monument