Following the passing of the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill (now the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019), the House conducted a standard private members’ business day on Thursday. This involved debating the disallowance of two regulations regarding licences for music festivals and the consideration of private members’ bills and motions.
These regulations were introduced in February 2019 following the tragic deaths of six young adults at music festivals. The purpose of the regulations were to give targeted support to higher risk music festivals to run safer events. They provided for a new type of liquor licence for music festivals and for the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority to direct particular applicants to apply for a music festival licence.
The Legislative Council’s Regulation Committee conducted a three month inquiry into the regulations and publishing its report in late August. The committee found that the regulations had been implemented without proper consultation and had caused uncertainty in the music festival industry. The committee recommended, based on broad industry support, that the Legislative Council disallow the regulations and that a regulatory roundtable be established to develop a more appropriate framework.
Mr Graham (Labor Party) brought the disallowance motions on for debate and spoke in strong support of the Regulation Committee’s findings and recommendations. He indicated that the regulations did not adequately protect music lovers who attend festivals and had damaged the music festival industry. In opposing disallowance, the Government indicated that if the regulations were removed, there would be no means to properly regulate the festivals sector just as we enter the festival season.
The regulations were disallowed on division (21 to 18) with all parties except for the Government, One Nation and the Christian Democratic Party supporting the motion. These were the first regulations disallowed by the Legislative Council since 2014.
The bill prohibits retailers from supplying single-use, lightweight plastic shopping bags to customers and provides that retailers can be investigated and fined up to $5,500 for non-compliance.
Debate on the bill introduced by Ms Sharpe (Labor Party) resumed from Thursday 6 June 2019. Mr Franklin (The Nationals) indicated that the Government did not support the bill as it was already taking action on plastic waste through large scale programs and interventions, including the 2018 National Waste policy.
Ms Faehrmann (The Greens) and Mr Field (Independent) both spoke in support of the bill indicating that the ban on plastic bags should have been done a long time ago as New South Wales remains the only State not to commit to the plastic bag ban. He noted that this is the third time a bill on this matter had been introduced in the Council.
In reply, Ms Sharpe conveyed her disappointment that the Government was not supporting the bill and that it would likely not pass. She stated that this was one of the easiest steps the Government could take to mitigate the pollution of plastic bags. To Ms Sharpe’s surprise, the second reading was agreed to on division (18 to 16) and bill passed the Council. It is now with the Legislative Assembly for concurrence. The the bill must also pass the Assembly in order to become law.
In a shock outcome, despite the government opposing my bill to ban single use plastic bags. It has just been passed by the @nsw_upperhouse 18-16. It will go to the LA in two weeks. #banthebag @BoomAlliance #plasticfree
— Penny Sharpe (@PennySharpemlc) 26 September 2019
The bill was introduced by Mr Pearson (Animal Justice Party) to prohibit the performance of the mules operation on sheep (the removal of strips of skin to prevent infection) and to require the administration of pain relief in certain procedures involving stock animals.
During his second reading speech, Mr Pearson stated that the bill will help improve the treatment of stock animals which do not have the same legislative protections as domestic animals by outlawing practices such as mulesing and mandating the administration of pain relief procedures. Mr Pearson further noted that this would bring New South Wales in line with other jurisdictions. At the conclusion of his speech, debate was adjourned for 5 calendar days.
Debate resumed on the bill introduced by Reverend Nile which seeks to amend the Crimes Act 1900 in relation to criminal acts resulting in the “serious harm to or the destruction of an unborn child”. Two members contributed to the debate, both stating their opposition to the bill.
Mr Martin (Government) noted the Premier’s commitment to law reform in this area, and foreshadowed the Government’s intention to introduce new legislation to better recognise the loss of an unborn child as a result of a criminal act. Mr Martin stated that the process of developing the legislation will include targeted consultation with stakeholders including medical and legal experts.
Ms Boyd (Greens) opposed the bill stating that it is unnecessary, as a 2005 amendment to the Crimes Act changed the definition of “grievous bodily harm” to include “the destruction (other than in the course of a medical procedure) of the foetus of a pregnant woman”.
At the conclusion of her speech, Ms Boyd moved that the question on the second reading be amended by omitting “be now read a second time” and inserting instead “be read this day six months”, a procedural motion that would prevent the bill being considered again in this session of Parliament. Debate was then adjourned.
The following four motions were debated:
- President Trump – Motion of Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) noting that disrespectful remarks have been made about President Trump in the New South Wales political system – including this House – and congratulating President Trump on his ongoing close relations with Australia. In strongly opposing the motion, Ms Boyd (The Greens) and Mr Field (Independent) moved detailed amendments. Ms Boyd’s amendment was defeated on division (19 to 20) and Mr Field’s was withdrawn. The original motion was agreed to on division (20 to 19).
- Silicosis and manufactured stone – Motion of Mr Shoebridge (The Greens) stating there is no safe exposure level to silica dust which is created when cutting manufactured stone (e.g. Caesarstone) and calling on the Government to institute a State-wide ban on these products and issue safe handling guidelines. After some debate, the motion was amended so that, while retaining safe-handling guidelines, the Government was called on to institute a State-wide ban only on the dry cutting of manufactured stone while considering the viability and impact of an overall ban on the product itself. This topic has also been canvassed in Law and Justice Committee inquiries and detailed in a blog post earlier this week.
- The right of indigenous women to speak – The catalyst for Mr Latham’s motion (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) was the issuing of a press release by the Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council stating its opposition to the publicly expressed views of indigenous woman Ms Jacinta Price and her planned speaking event on 10 September. The original motion called on the House to support the right of indigenous women like Ms Price to speak anywhere on issues and to urge Aboriginal Land Councils to respect free speech. Following significant Government amendments, the final motion agreed to by the House omitted the specific reference to Ms Price and supported the right of Aboriginal Land Councils to facilitate free and open discussion.
- Surf Life Saving Sydney Branch – Debate concluded on Mr Martin’s (Liberal Party) motion commending the work of Surf Life Saving Sydney Branch and congratulating recipients of awards at their 2019 awards night. All members supported the motion.
Orders for Papers Motions
The following four orders for government papers were also agreed to by the House:
Asbestos in public schools (due 3 and 28 October)
Native vegetation code review (due 10 October)
Temporary soil weirs on the Peel River (due 17 October)
Maules Creek coal mine (due 17 October).
All orders for papers resolved by the House, including due dates and any documents returned, can be viewed on our Orders for Papers webpage.
The following members spoke to the adjournment debate:
- Ms Faehrmann — Climate change
- Mr Mallard — Guangdong Province Delegation
- Mrs Houssos — Building Industry
- Mr Field — Climate change
- Mr Farlow — Korean National Foundation Day
- Mr Donnelly — Unplanned pregnancy
- Mr Blair — Running events.