Wednesday was private members’ day – and as usual, the House utilised the opportunity to consider a variety of business. Three bills were debated, seven orders for papers were agreed to, and five general motions were discussed. Sadly, we were also advised of the Hon Don Harwin’s resignation following 23 years of service to the Parliament. Find all the details below!
RESIGNATION OF THE HON DON HARWIN MLC
Having given a moving valedictory speech on Tuesday night, reflecting on his 23 years of service to the parliament as a member, a minister and President of the Legislative Council, on Wednesday the President reported receipt of a message from the Official Secretary to Her Excellency the Governor advising that she had received and accepted the resignation of the Hon Don Harwin MLC. If you missed Mr Harwin’s speech make sure to check out Tuesday’s blog for links to the debates and photos from the evening.
A joint sitting to elect a member to fill the vacancy caused by Mr Harwin’s resignation was held on Thursday – keep an eye out for the next blog to find out who was elected! You can find a sneak peek here…
Public Accountability Committee—Continued non-compliance – Government Response to Report
On Wednesday morning, the Leader of the Government was called on to explain why the Government had not responded to a committee report. Under a sessional order adopted in 2019, if the Government has not responded to each recommendation in a committee report within 6 months, the President will make an announcement in the House and the Minister must address the House to explain why the Government has not responded.
The sessional order was first activated in October 2021 when the Government did not respond to the first report of the Public Accountability Committee inquiry into the integrity, efficacy and value for money of NSW Government grant programs. The Government had indicated that it would wait for the inquiry’s final report to respond to both reports. This was the first time the sessional order had been activated and you can read about what happened in the blog post for that day here.
The sessional order further provides that, if a full response to each recommendation still has not been received within another month, the procedure is to continue until a full response is tabled. The Leader of the Government was therefore called on to again explain the Government’s non-compliance with the sessional order on 16 November 2021 and 22 February 2022, and, as another month had passed, again on Wednesday 23 March.
In his explanation to the House, the Leader of the Government, Mr Tudehope, maintained that the Government would respond to both inquiry reports at once. The committee has now tabled its final report, with a response due in August.
Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Kangaroo Protection) Bill 2022
Mr Pearson (Animal Justice Party) introduced the Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Kangaroo Protection) Bill 2022.
The bill seeks to amend the Biodiversity Conversation Act 2016 by prohibiting the issuing of licences that authorise lethally harming or commercially harvesting kangaroos. You can find Mr Pearson’s second reading speech in Hansard.
In accordance with standing order, at the conclusion of Mr Pearson’s second reading speech, debate on the bill was adjourned for 5 calendar days.
Electoral Amendment (Voting Age) Bill 2022
Ms Boyd (The Greens) introduced the Electoral Amendment (Voting Age) Bill 2022, which seeks to amend the Electoral Act 2017 to lower the voting age to 16; allow people over the age of 14, rather than the current 16, to enrol to vote; and exclude people under the age of 18 from the obligation to vote in elections in New South Wales. Ms Boyd summarised the intent of the bill in her second reading speech, which you can find in Hansard.
In accordance with standing order, at the conclusion of Ms Boyd’s second reading speech, debate on the bill was adjourned for 5 calendar days.
Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021
Debate resumed this week on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021, first introduced by Mr Searle (Labor) in February having previously been agreed to by the Legislative Assembly. The bill proposes to establish an Act to enable eligible people with a terminal illness to access voluntary assisted dying in NSW – you can find a summary of the provisions in our February blog, together with links to Mr Searle’s second reading speech.
This week 12 members spoke to the bill before debate was adjourned until a future sitting day – keep an eye on the blog for further updates as debate continues.
LIST OF GENERAL MOTIONS AND ORDERS FOR PAPERS
ORDERS FOR PAPERS
The following orders for papers were debated and agreed to:
- Southern Highlands Regional Shooting Complex – Further order (Mr Banasiak, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) – due 13 April 2022
- Friendlyjordies (Mr Field, Independent) – due 13 April 2022
- Potential or actual adverse weather or flooding events (Mr Secord, Labor) – due 27 April 2022
- Arrest, charging and detention of Mr Luke Moore on 25 February 2021 – Further order (Mr Roberts, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) – due 26 March 2022
- COVID-19 Cost Centres and Expenditure (Mr Mookhey, Labor) – due 13 April 2022
- Asset management policies for Ministry of Health (Mr Mookhey, Labor) – due 27 April 2022
- Suspect Target Management Program policy (Mr Shoebridge, The Greens) – due 6 April 2022.
The following general motions were debated and agreed to:
- International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism (Revd Mr Nile, Christian Democrats)
- Harmony Week 2022 (Mr Farlow, Liberal)
- Answer to Question without Notice on the rail shutdown (Mr Graham, Labor).
The following general motions were also debated but not agreed to:
- Financial support to events boycotting Israel (Mr Latham, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation)
- Climate emergency (Ms Faehrmann, The Greens).