Kicking off the sitting week, Tuesday saw the first speech of the Hon Chris Rath, a debate on a matter of public importance concerning the NSW education portfolio, and a committee membership ballot. The House also considered the Mining and Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 and Tax Administration Amendment (Combating Wage Theft) Bill 2021, and received its first petitions via the Legislative Council’s ePetitions system.
Inaugural Speech of the Hon Chris Rath
New member the Hon Chris Rath (Liberals) gave his inaugural speech in the chamber in front of an audience of colleagues, friends and family. Mr Rath was elected to the Legislative Council to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of the Hon Don Harwin in March.
The transcript of his speech can be found in Hansard.
Resignation of Mr Shoebridge
Reporting of the resignation of Mr David Shoebridge (The Greens) from the Legislative Council was among first orders of business on Tuesday. Mr Shoebridge was elected to the Upper House in September 2010 and was a member for nearly 12 years. Mr Shoebridge gave his valedictory speech on 31 March 2022 – you can find all of the highlights from his final speech in here.
Matter of Public Importance
Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) moved a matter of public importance concerning the need for honesty and integrity in the NSW education portfolio, with particular regard to information on teacher staffing shortages. Members who spoke to the motion included Mrs Houssos (Labor), Mr Banasiak (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party), Minister Mitchell (Liberal), Mr D’Adam (Labor), Mr Field (Independent) and Mr Graham (Labor). Issues raised during the debate included: vaccination status of teachers, lack of building school infrastructure, and planning of school locations in the community. See Hansard for the full debate.
As matters of public importance do not require a vote, on the discussion concluding the motion lapsed.
State Revenue and Fines Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2022
The State Revenue and Fines Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2022 seeks to amend a number of acts and statutory instruments to alter taxation and grant legislation for the revenue system in NSW, respond to court decisions and close loopholes for tax avoidance, to give Revenue NSW additional powers to deliver end to end payment collection and debt recovery for state agencies, and amend fines legislation to strengthen enforcement provisions and remove the capacity for imprisonment for unpaid fines. The bill also contains amendments to the Liquor Act 2007 that provide extended powers to local councils to rapidly approve the use of roads and certain other public spaces for outdoor dining, foyer and performance spaces.
The bill was introduced in the House on Tuesday, with the bill moving to the second reading stage soon after and agreed to on the voices. The House then resolved into committee of the whole to consider amendments. These were:
- Two Government amendments, moved by Minister Tudehope (both agreed to on the voices)
- One Opposition amendment, moved by Mr Graham (agreed to on the voices)
- Five Greens amendments, moved by Ms Boyd (all negatived on the voices)
Following the committee stage, the bill as amended was read a third time and returned to the Assembly for consideration of the Council’s amendments. You can find the full second reading debate and committee-of-the-whole proceedings in the day’s Hansard record.
ELECTRONIC CONVEYANCING (ADOPTION OF NATIONAL LAW) AMENDMENT BILL 2022—RESTORED TO NOTICE PAPER
In February 2022, the Electronic Conveyancing (Adoption of National Law) Amendment Bill 2022 was referred to the Council’s Customer Service and Natural Resources Committee. The report on the inquiry was tabled with the Clerk – you can find the report here.
When a bill is referred for inquiry it cannot proceed in the House until the committee tables its report. A motion can then be moved for it to be restored to the Notice Paper. On the report being announced in the House on Tuesday, the bill was restored and the Leader of the Government moved the required procedural motions so that the second reading of the bill was set down for consideration at a future time. See what happens next in Thursday’s blog.
Committee Membership – ballots to choose crossbench members
The House conducted ballots to choose crossbench members for two Legislative Council Committees: Portfolio Committee No. 5 – Regional NSW and Stronger Communities, and the Public Accountability Committee. By way of background, the vacancies on the two committees arose as the result of the resignation of Mr David Shoebridge as a member of the House. Under Standing Order 210(4), crossbench members on committees are to be nominated by agreement between crossbench members. The President advised the House that, with crossbench members not having reached agreement and with multiple nominees for each of the two vacancies, representation would be determined by the House. The House then agreed to a ballot being conducted to choose the crossbench member on each of the two committees.
In relation to the Regional NSW and Stronger Communities Committees, the nominees were Ms Faehrmann (The Greens) and Mr Roberts (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation). Following the conduct of the ballot, the President declared that having received the greater number of votes, Ms Faehrmann was the crossbench member on the committee.
In relation to the Public Accountability Committee, the nominees were Ms Faehrmann and Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation). Following the conduct of the ballot, the President declared that having received the greater number of votes, Ms Faehrmann was the crossbench member on the committee.
Mining and Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill 2022
On Tuesday evening, the House considered the Mining and Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, which was received from the Assembly on 31 March. The bill makes a number of amendments to the Mining Act 1992 and the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1992, and establishes the Royalties for Rejuvenation Fund. In his second reading speech, Minister Farraway explained that the changes made in the bill will streamline processes, remove duplication and give greater certainty to titleholders and the community, as well as improve compliance tools and encourage sustainable and responsible development. You can read the Minister’s speech and other contributions to the second reading debate in Hansard.
The following amendments were moved in committee of the whole:
- Mr Veitch (Labor) moved 9 amendments
- Mr Farraway (Nationals) moved amendments to 2 of the opposition amendments.
The House agreed to put the question on each opposition amendment separately with the following results:
- Government amendment to opposition amendment no. 1 and the amended amendment agreed to on the voices
- Government amendment to opposition amendment no. 2 agreed to and the amended amendment agreed to on division agreed to on the voices
- Opposition amendment no. 3 negatived on division
- Opposition amendment no. 4 agreed to on the voices
- Opposition amendment no. 5 negatived on division
- Opposition amendment no. 6 negatived to on the voices
- Opposition amendment no. 7 negatived on division
- Opposition amendments nos 8 and 9 agreed to on the voices.
Consideration of the bill in committee of the whole was interrupted when the House adjourned at midnight.
ePetitions received by the House
Late last year, the Legislative Council introduced its ePetitions system, which allows petitions to be submitted digitally – learn more in our article here. The House received its first petitions via this new system on Tuesday! They included:
- Two petitions relating to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 (tabled by Ms Faehrmann and Mr Donnelly)
- A petition relating to the Companion Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm) Bill 2021 (tabled by Mr Banasiak)
- A petition relating to the Main North Line from Armidale to Wallangarra (tabled by Ms Cusack)
- A petition relating to the Helium Balloons (Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Balloons) Act 200 No.82 (tabled by Ms Faehrmann).
You can find out more about these ePetitions on our Tabled Papers Database here.