Wednesday is Private Members’ Business day in the House, and usually a very busy day. This Wednesday was no different, with the House agreeing to a referral to the Procedure Committee, along with 10 motions and 11 orders for papers. In the evening, the House granted leave for Mr John Ajaka, former President of the NSW Legislative Council, to give a valedictory address from the Bar of the House – after which there were not too many dry eyes left in the chamber. Read on for more…





REFERRAL TO PROCEDURE COMMITTEE

During Formal Business the House agreed to a motion moved by Mr Searle to refer a number of matters to the Legislative Council Procedure Committee for inquiry and report. These were:

  • Whether the current sessional orders should be adopted as standing orders
  • Whether any current standing orders require amendment
  • Whether any additional standing orders should be adopted.

The motion included a requirement that the committee present a draft of revised standing orders to the House by first day of the second sitting week of 2022, and if it fails to meet this date, requires the President to table a draft set of standing orders for consideration by the House.





ROCK FISHING SAFETY AMENDMENT BILL 2021

The Rock Fishing Safety Amendment Bill 2021, introduced by Mr Banasiak, seeks to amend the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 to increase the safety of those undertaking rock fishing along the NSW coast. It proposes extending the application of the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 to all rock formations exposed to ocean swell in NSW, not just those deemed ‘high risk’, as well as removing any fines payable under the Act. It would also require appropriate footwear to be worn – either non-slip boots or spiked shoes – and allow a person to choose between wearing a lifejacket or wetsuit while fishing. 

Mr Banasiak described the bill as necessary to correct deficiencies in the 2016 Act, such as the fact that it only requires a lifejacket to be worn but not protective footwear. He said he hoped the bill would minimise lives lost during rock fishing. The debate was adjourned for 5 calendar days.





FORMER PRESIDENT AJAKA’S VALEDICTORY ADDRESS

On Wednesday evening, the House granted leave for Mr John Ajaka, former President of the NSW Legislative Council, to give a valedictory address. Mr Ajaka resigned from his post in March, but wasn’t able to deliver his farewell speech at the time, due to  the House “going on a long bell” during the election of the next President and the House not resuming sitting until he had ceased to be a member.

Because Mr Ajaka is now a ‘stranger’ (not a member of the House), he not able to enter the chamber to speak at the Table. Instead, the House agreed to a unique procedure, allowing him to speak at the ‘Bar of the House’. This procedure is used very rarely, and in the past has only been used to call witnesses to be examined by the House in more stressful circumstances. Its use to facilitate Mr Ajaka’s speech can be seen as a mark of the high regard in which he is held by members.

Mr Ajaka joined the Legislative Council as a member in 2007, was first elected to the office of President in 2017, and was re-elected by members in 2019. Prior to that, he had been Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council, a Minister and was a member of a number of Upper House committees.

In his valedictory – observed by family sitting in the President’s Gallery – Mr Ajaka said to members: “A lot of us get elected to Parliament to take up the battle of ideas in the political arena… but once I was elected President I knew that part was no longer mine to play – that my role was to protect, defend and advocate for the institution itself. That is the task that I devoted myself to each and every day since and they are the achievements I look back on with the most pride.”

Following Mr Ajaka’s speech, multiple members rose to provide reflections and well wishes. Members to speak included Mr Khan, Ms Sharpe, Minister Harwin, Mr Shoebridge and Minister Tudehope. Finally, President Mason-Cox thanked Mr Ajaka for his service, saying “it has been an honour for us all”.





PRIVATE MEMBERS’ MOTIONS

Other Private Members’ motions debated included the following:

  • A motion calling on the Government to establish a Special Commission of Inquiry into the Luna Park Ghost Train Tragedy (Mr Shoebridge, Greens) – agreed to on division, 20 ayes to 16 noes.
  • A motion about the Keeping Women Out of Prison Coalition (KWOOP) event, to be held at Parliament in August (Ms Cusack, Liberals) – agreed to on the voices
  • A motion recognising the role played by animals in war (Mr Pearson, Animal Justice Party) – agreed to on the voices.
  • A motion censuring the Leader Of The Government for non-compliance (late production of documents) with an order for papers regarding an incident on Lockyer Street, Goulburn, as amended (Mr Roberts, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) – agreed to on division, 22 ayes to 16 noes.
  • A motion calling for an annual inquiry by Portfolio Committee No. 4 – Industry into the charities tasked with enforcement and compliance responsibilities under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (Mr Banasiak, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) – agreed to on the voices.
  • A motion noting the NRL Beanie for Brain Cancer Round, to be held in June 2021 (Mr Martin, Liberals) – agreed to on the voices.
  • A motion noting the opposition to the renewal of Advent Energy’s Petroleum Exploration Permit (Pep-11) project, as amended (Ms Boyd, The Greens) – agreed to on the voices.
  • A motion congratulating the Regional Youth Orchestra NSW (Mr Franklin, Nationals) – agreed to on the voices.
  • A motion recognising the work of Transport Heritage NSW (Mr Amato, Liberals) – agreed to on the voices.
  • A motion acknowledging the work of the Justice Advocacy Service (JAS) and Justice Matters campaign, as amended (Ms Sharpe, Labor) – agreed to on the voices.




ORDERS FOR PAPERS

The following orders for papers were agreed to:

  • Public Schools in Western Sydney and South-West Sydney (Mrs Houssos, Labor) – due 30 June 2021
  • Sydney Science Park proposal (Mr Latham, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) – due 30 June 2021
  • Limeburners Creek Dam and Upper Chichester Dam (Mr Field, Independent) – due 30 June 2021
  • Education – Key Facts documents, as amended (Mrs Houssos, Labor) – due 23 June 2021
  • Public Inquiry into North Sydney Council (Mr Shoebridge, Greens) – due 30 June 2021
  • Transport Asset Holding Entity of NSW – Further order (Mr Mookhey, Labor) – due 9 July 2021
  • De-Merger Proposals for both the Snowy Valleys Council and the Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council – Further Order (Mr Veitch, Labor) – due 16 June 2021
  • Statutory review of the Cemeteries & Crematoria Act 2013 (Ms Moriarty, Labor) – due 30 June 2021
  • Before and after school care and vacation care – Further order (Mrs Houssos, Labor) – due 30 June 2021
  • Transport Asset Holding Entity of NSW – Further order (Mr Mookhey, Labor) – due 9 July 2021




FURTHER ORDERS FOR PAPERS

The following further orders for papers were agreed to, in respond to advice from DPC:

  • Incident on Lockyer Street, Goulburn – Further order, as amended (Mr Roberts, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) – due 23 June 2021
  • De-Merger Proposals for both the Snowy Valleys Council and the Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council – Further Order (Mr Veitch, Labor) – due 16 June 2021
  • De-Merger Proposals for both the Snowy Valleys Council and the Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council – Further Order (Mr Veitch, Labor) – due 16 June 2021

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