On Thursday, the NSW Parliament elected the Honourable Sam Farraway to a seat in the Legislative Council at a joint sitting of both Houses, and the Council debated 10 motions and passed six orders for government documents.
Joint sitting to elect Sam Farraway
On Wednesday, Nationals member Niall Blair resigned leaving a vacancy in the Legislative Council. Unlike in the Legislative Assembly where vacancies are filled at a by-election, vacancies in the Council are filled by a joint sitting of the two Houses. To be elected new members must be from the same party as the resigning member.
Sam Farraway was elected to fill Mr Blair’s vacancy. Congratulations Sam!
Private members’ business day
Apart from the joint sitting this was a standard private members’ business day… many items of business, lots of debate and long hours!
Industrial Relations Amendment (Contracts of Carriage) Bill 2019 (Mr Searle, Labor Party)
The bill seeks to ensure that contractors who deliver bread, cream and milk are offered certain protections under the Industrial Relations Act 1996, including that the Industrial Relations Commission would make determinations regarding remuneration, conditions and dispute resolutions.
Debate resumed from May with only Minister Harwin speaking in debate. The Minister noted the Government’s opposition to the bill indicating that the contracts of these workers are currently set according to Commonwealth legislation. Mr Harwin therefore argued that the proposals in this bill go beyond the powers of the NSW Parliament as it would put State legislation in direct conflict with Commonwealth legislation. Debate was adjourned.
The following 10 motions were debated:
- SHINE for Kids – Motion of Ms Cusack (Liberal Party) acknowledging the work of the organisation to provide support to children, young people and families with relatives in the criminal justice system. Ms Cusack noted that the late Ann Symonds AM, a former member of the Legislative Council, had been the patron. Members praised the specific programs delivered by the organisation. The motion received support from all sides of the chamber and was agreed to.
- Responsible Gambling Awareness Week – Ms Faehrmann’s motion (the Greens) noted that 16 to 22 September 2019 was Responsible Gambling Awareness Week. The motion outlined the harms caused by gambling and called on the Government to follow Victoria and the ACT’s lead and change the name of the week to ‘Gambling Harm Awareness Week’. Although Government members stated they opposed the motion, it passed the House without a division.
- Essential Energy job cuts – Mr Searle’s motion (Labor Party) raised the issue of job cuts proposed by Essential Energy. The motion condemned the Government and called on it to ensure that the proposed cuts were permanently abandoned. Members disagreed as to whether the Government had or had not issued a secure guarantee that would effectively protect the affected workers. The motion was agreed to on division (23 votes to 16) with all parties, apart from the Christian Democratic Party, joining the Opposition in condemning the Government and voting for the motion.
- 2019 Harmony Day – The motion of Mr Farlow (Liberal Party) commended the work of the founders of Harmony Day and noted its theme for 2019 “Harmony—it’s up to us”. The motion noted that in support of Harmony Day a poster and song writing competition was held for school students to help promote a peaceful and inclusive society. Mr Farlow congratulated all competition entrants and prize winners. All members who spoke supported the motion. Debate was adjourned.
- Migration intake in New South Wales – The motion of Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) noted that during the recent election the Government had promised to halve the State’s overseas immigration intake as a means to better manage issues attributable to Sydney’s large and rapidly growing population. The motion condemned the Government for its failure to act on this promise and called for an urgent urban containment strategy for Sydney. The Government acknowledged Mr Latham’s concerns, but argued that its record investment in infrastructure spending was sufficient to meet the needs of a growing Sydney. The Opposition noted the complexities involved and moved an amendment to condemn the Government for making an election promise it had no intention of keeping. The Greens argued against the motion asserting that Sydney’s challenges were a consequence of poor policy rather than migration levels. Neither the Opposition’s amendment (Division 18 votes to 19) nor the original motion was agreed to (Division: 5 votes to 32).
- Labour Day – The motion of Mr Searle (Labor Party) noted that Monday 7 October 2019 was Labour Day and called on the House to recognise the role that trade unions play in providing better conditions for all workers. The Greens spoke in support of the motion and, while Government members spoke in support of Labour Day, they strongly opposed part of the motion that stated the Government has repeatedly attacked workers’ rights. The motion was ultimately agreed to on division (23 votes to 14).
- Women in sport – Debate concluded on Mrs Ward’s (Liberal Party) motion which celebrates the growing commitment to equality for women in sports as evidenced by Easts Rugby Club, the oldest district rugby club in Australia. The motion was supported by the House.
- Anti-Poverty week – The motion of Ms Sharpe (Labor Party) noted that Anti-Poverty Week took place in October as part of the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and called on the House to commit to a future without poverty in New South Wales. Members discussed the importance of reducing poverty and outlined Government programs to achieve this. The motion was agreed to on the voices.
- National Road Safety Week – The motion of Mr Fang (The Nationals) noted that National Road Safety Week was held from 6 to 12 May 2019 to help raise awareness about the impact of road trauma and to educate the community on road safety. Members from all sides of the House spoke in support of the motion, noting the importance of the initiative in honouring those who have lost their lives on the roads and the continued work to reduce preventable road deaths and injuries. The motion was agreed to.
- Religious Freedom Forum – The motion of Revd Nile (Christian Democratic Party) noted that on 20 August 2019, the Parliamentary Friends of Religious Freedom hosted the “Religious Freedom Forum” and called on the House to affirm its support for religious freedom and religious liberty. Members from all sides of the chamber spoke in support of the motion, which was subsequently agreed to.
Motions – Orders for Papers
The following six orders for government papers were also agreed to:
Premier’s rulings regarding disclosures under the Ministerial Code of Conduct (due 24 October 2019)
Landcom – Directors and Chairs (due 24 October 2019)
Native Vegetation Code Review – Further order (due 24 October 2019)
Register of buildings with potentially combustible cladding (due 31 October 2019)
Newell Highway Government Procurement Contracts (due 7 November 2019)
Westconnex contracts (due 14 November 2019)
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: