The House came together to mark the passing of the Honourable Tim Fischer AC. It also considered bills on the regulation of the racing industry, modernising the process to pay fines and amending election funding processes.

Vale Tim Fischer

Members of the House joined together to speak in support of a condolence motion marking the passing of the Honourable Tim Fischer AC. During his career Mr Fischer had been a member of the Legislative Assembly representing the districts of Sturt and Murray, Federal Member for Farrer, Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the National Party as well as the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See.

In particular, members spoke about his kindness and empathy, his love of trains and his fearlessness in reforming gun laws in Australia in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. Mr Fischer’s family and friends were in the chamber to hear members honour his contribution to the State and to Australia.

Racing Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

The bill makes minor changes to four Acts and one Regulation aimed at improving the integrity and regulation of thoroughbred and harness racing in the State. Many of the changes are based on recommendations from a 2014 report on racing compliance laws.

The House supported the bill, with some members particularly noting the importance of the racing industry to the State, while others expressed concern about the impact of the industry on animal welfare.  The bill passed the second and third readings and was returned to the Assembly without amendment.

Fines Amendment Bill 2019

The bill amends the Fines Act 1996 regarding the notification, review and payment of fines and the process for disputing penalty notices after enforcement.

Minister Tudehope moved the second reading and indicated that the bill modernises and simplifies the system for paying fines through improved technology and a customer-centric approach. At the conclusion of his speech, the Minister indicated that the House would not proceed to debate amendments in committee today as the Government needed time to negotiate and consult with the parties concerned (proposed amendments are available on the bill’s webpage).

The Opposition and the Greens supported the bill, while noting concerns that it could adversely impact upon vulnerable people, including those experiencing financial hardships. Greens and Opposition amendments to the bill will likely be debated in the next sitting week. Debate was adjourned.

Bills introduced

Minister Harwin introduced the following two bills which were both adjourned at the conclusion of his second reading speeches.

Electoral Funding Amendment (Local Government Expenditure Caps) Bill 2019

Minister Harwin stated that the bill is part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the electoral funding scheme is fair and transparent. The bill implements reforms recommended by the Parliament’s cross-party Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters from the 56th Parliament, including implementing eight different expenditure cap bands in local government areas to replace the current two-tiered cap system which did not adequately distinguish between different local government area population sizes. The bill also contains provisions regarding caps for mayoral and third party campaigns.

Electoral Funding Amendment (Cash Donations) Bill 2019

The bill amends the Electoral Funding Act 2018 to prohibit the making or acceptance of political donations in cash that exceed the value of $100.

Minister Harwin noted that the ICAC is currently conducting an inquiry into political donations. The Minister advised that the bill will make political donations more traceable and transparent and make it harder to mask the source of donations.

Adjournment debate

The following members spoke to the adjournment debate: