Wednesday was jam-packed with a variety of private members’ business, including further debate on the high profile Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill and other proposed legislation, the introduction of a new bill, and debate on various motions. Of course the House also dealt with a number of orders for papers, but also begun debate regarding the use of standing order 52 versus 53 in relation to accessing documents. Find all the details below.
VOLUNTARY ASSISTED DYING BILL 2021
Debate resumed on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill on Wednesday, with a further 20 members contributing, following the 12 members who spoke during the previous sitting week. Wednesday’s first 10 contributions can be found in Hansard here, with the balance of the day’s debate available here. With more members still to speak on the bill, the second reading debate was adjourned again until a future private members’ business day.
Further Budget Estimates hearings
On Tuesday the House agreed to additional Budget Estimates hearings dates to make up for those hearings that could not be held due to the recent flood events .
On Wednesday, a Government motion (moved by Mr Tudehope) was agreed to by the House to amend those dates agreed to. The schedule was agreed to as:
- Wednesday 6 April for Emergency Services and Resilience
- Thursday 21 April for the Premier
- Wednesday 4 May for the Deputy Premier, Regional NSW and Police.
Independent Complaints Officer
Last Tuesday, the Council agreed to a similar resolution establishing an Independent Complaints Officer, following an inquiry by the Privileges Committee. However, the resolution of the Assembly varies in several respects to the resolution agreed to by the Council. The Leader of the Government, Mr Tudehope gave a short statement suggesting that the Assembly’s resolution be considered by the Privileges Committee and the Leader of the Opposition, Ms Sharpe, agreed with this approach.
Although there are differences between the resolutions agreed to by both Houses, the Presiding Officers are still empowered to proceed with appointing an officer.
Water Management Amendment (No Compensation for Floodplain Harvesting Licences) Bill 2022
Ms Faehrmann (The Greens) introduced the Water Management Amendment (No Compensation for Floodplain Harvesting Licences) Bill 2022. The bill seeks to amend the Water Management Act 2000 to remove certain entitlements of floodplain harvesting access licence holders to compensation, including the compulsory acquisition of the licence and reductions in water allocations. You can find Ms Faehrmann’s second reading speech in Hansard for a full overview.
According to standing order, debate on the bill was adjourned for five calendar days at the conclusion of Ms Faehrmann’s speech.
Public Health Amendment (Registered Nurses in Nursing Homes) Bill 2020
Debate resumed on the Public Health Amendment (Registered nurses in Nursing Homes) Bill 2020, first introduced by Mr Banasiak (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) on 26 August 2020.
The bill intends to amend the Public Health Act 2020 to bring the definition of a nursing home into line with relevant Commonwealth legislation, so as to ensure that the requirement for a registered nurse to be on duty at all times at a nursing home is continued.
Ms Faehrmann (The Greens), Mr Secord (Labor), Mr Poulos (Liberal) and Ms Houssos (Labor) all contributed to the discussion before the debate was adjourned. Read the full details of the discussion in the Hansard record.
Children (Criminal Proceedings) Amendment (Age of Criminal Responsibility) Bill 2021
Debate concluded on the second reading of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Amendment (Age of Criminal Responsibility) Bill 2021, with Mr Shoebridge (The Greens) – who introduced the bill in November – giving his speech-in-reply. The bill seeks to amend the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 to raise the age of criminal responsibility, which is the age at which a person can be found guilty of an offence, from 10 to 14. It also seeks to prevent a child under the age of 16 being sentenced to imprisonment or detained on remand while awaiting criminal proceedings. You can read further in Hansard: Mr Shoebridge’s second reading speech here and other contributions here.
The House did not agree to the second reading of the bill, defeating the motion on division with 4 ayes to 33 noes.
Standing Order 53
Mr Roberts (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) introduced a motion on the operation of standing order 53. The House had previously agreed to a motion brought by Mr Roberts ordering documents on the arrest, charging and detention of Mr Luke Moore on 25 February 2022. However, the Government did not provide the documents and instead provided legal advice from the Crown Solicitor arguing that the documents should have been sought under standing order 53, rather than 52.
Standing order 52 authorises the House to order documents from the Government. Standing order 53 provides that some documents must be requested from the Governor, rather than ordered from the Government. This includes documents pertaining to the ‘administration of justice’. Exactly what the ‘administration of justice’ covers has been the subject of some debate over the years. (It should be noted that documents sought under standing order 53 are made by way of a request, rather than an order, and requests under standing order 53 have generally not been complied with.)
The motion the House considered on Wednesday night noted that the documents ordered by the House were validly ordered under standing order 52, and asked that the House reject the Crown Solicitor’s interpretation of the ‘administration of justice’ as too broad. It also noted previous Presidents’ rulings and a High Court judgment on what documents fall under the administration of justice.
Members who spoke in debate supported the motion as seen in the Hansard, but the motion did not proceed to a vote as it was adjourned at midnight, when the House is scheduled to finish for the day.
LIST OF GENERAL MOTIONS AND ORDERS FOR PAPERS
ORDERS FOR PAPERS
The following orders for papers were debated and agreed to:
- Premierstate (Mr Veitch on behalf of Ms Houssos, Labor) – due 27 April 2022
- Renewable energy zones – further order (Mr Latham, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) – due 20 April 2022
- Firearms policies and proposals, as amended (Mr Borsak, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) – due 4 May 2022
- Brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park, as amended (Rev Nile, Christian Democratic Party) – due 20 April 2022
- School infrastructure, as amended (Ms Houssos, Labor) – due 27 April 2022
- Potential sale of government assets, as amended (Mr Mookhey, Labor) – due 20 April 2022
- Asset management policies for education (Mr Mookhey, Labor) – due 20 April 2022
- Eraring power station, as amended (Mr Latham, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) – due 20 April 2022
- Asset management plans for Transport for NSW, as amended (Mr Mookhey, Labor) – due 27 April 2022
- Asset management policies for the Department of Communities and Justice and the NSW Police Force, as amended (Mr Secord, Labor) – due 4 May 2022
The following general motions were debated and agreed to: