Debate on the second reading of the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 concluded on Wednesday evening and two other bills were received from the Assembly. An arbiter was appointed to evaluate a claim of privilege on documents returned under an Order for Papers.
The second reading debate continued on Wednesday and by the adjournment of the House at 10.25 pm another 25 members of the House had spoken in the debate. Over the last two days every member of the Council, other than the President in the Chair, spoke to the bill.
Mr Mason-Cox moved a seldom-used procedural mechanism known as the “this day six months amendment”. If agreed to the amendment would defeat the bill and prevent it from being considered again this session of Parliament. Mr Mason-Cox’s amendment was defeated on division (15:26).
Mr Borsak’s amendment to refer the bill to a Joint Select Committee was also defeated on division (14:27).
The second reading of the bill was finally agreed to after approximately 10 hours of debate.
According to the resolution of the House of Tuesday 20 August 2019, amendments to the bill will be considered on Tuesday 17 September 2019.
The bill seeks to dissolve Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and transfer its assets, rights, liabilities and functions to Transport for NSW. Provisions designed to dissolve RMS were initially included in the Appropriation Bill cognates but were omitted by an amendment in the Council.
The bill was received from the Assembly and it was read a first time on Wednesday. The second reading was adjourned until the next sitting day.
The bill seeks to provide for the long term management of the site of the former lead and zinc smelter at Boolaroo at Lake Macquarie, including reducing any risks to the environment and the community from residual contamination produced during the smelter’s operation.
The House received the bill from the Assembly and it was read a first time on Wednesday. Debate on the second reading commenced immediately. See Hansard for a transcript of the debate. The third reading of the bill was agreed to and the bill was returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
Disputed Claim of Privilege
Orders for papers are the exercise of the Council’s inherent power to order the Executive Government to produce particular documents to the House to assist members in the scrutiny of the Executive Government.
On Tuesday, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Searle, disputed a claim of privilege over certain documents returned under an order for papers relating to Landcom, the Government’s land and property development organisation.
A privileged document is one that the Government has claimed should not be made public on grounds of legal professional privilege, commercial in confidence or public interest immunity.
On Wednesday, the President informed the House that an independent legal arbiter had been appointed to evaluate and report on the validity of the claim.
When completed the report will be lodged with the Clerk and made available to members of the Council only. At the next sitting, a member may give notice to move that the report be tabled and if the arbiter has recommended that the claim of privilege on certain documents be denied, a member will usually give notice requiring that the documents be published by the Clerk.
Stay tuned to see what the independent legal arbiter recommends.
The following members spoke to the adjournment debate: