Wednesday was a special day for the Legislative Council, with the unveiling of a marble bust of the first female President of the Legislative Council, the Hon Virginia Chadwick AO. This was the first bust to be added to the chamber in 107 years!

As Wednesday is private members’ day in the Council, the House concluded the second reading debate on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, and passed the Public Health Amendment (Registered Nurses in Nursing Homes) Bill 2020 with amendments. Two other private members bills were introduced, and the House debated several orders for papers too. Read on to see how the proceedings unfolded …

Statement by the President and the unveiling of the Hon Virginia Chadwick AO marble bust

In a historic moment, the late Hon. Virginia Chadwick AO was immortalised in the Upper House chamber, with the unveiling of a marble bust of her likeness. She becomes the first woman to have a bust in the chamber – and it’s the first marble bust to be sculpted for the Parliament in more than a century!

In 1998, Mrs Chadwick became the first female President of the Legislative Council, and indeed the first female Presiding Officer of the Parliament. Prior to that, she had been the first Liberal woman to gain a ministerial appointment in a NSW Government, NSW’s first female Minister for Education, and the state’s first female Opposition Whip. Following her time at Parliament, Mrs Chadwick was the first female chairperson of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, where she received global recognition for her efforts in the reef’s conservation.

During the ceremony, one of Virginia’s grandchildren unveiled the bust, while President of the Legislative Council Matthew Mason-Cox and members Catherine Cusack (Liberals) and Penny Sharpe (Labor) spoke to commemorate the occasion and acknowledge Virginia’s achievements and legacy. The event was observed by Mrs Chadwick’s extended family, including her husband Bruce, and a large number of people from her time at Parliament.

The marble bust was carved by sculptor Peter Schipperheyn.

Read the Hansard record of the proceedings and contributions: the President’s statement here and Ms Cusack and Ms Sharpe’s contributions here.

Water Management Amendment (Floodplain Harvesting Licences) Bill 2022

Mr Field (Independent) introduced the Water Management Amendment (Floodplain Harvesting Licences) Bill 2022. The bill seeks to amend the Water Management Act 2000 to remove the entitlement of floodplain harvesting access licence holders to compensation for certain water allocation reductions.

You can find Mr Field’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 Mr Field’s speech.

Public Health Amendment (Registered Nurses in Nursing Homes) Bill 2020

Debate concluded on the Public Health Amendment (Registered Nurses in Nursing Homes) Bill 2020, with Mr Banasiak (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) – who introduced the bill in August 2020 – giving his speech-in-reply. The bill amends 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. You can read more on this bill in a previous blog here.

The House agreed to the second reading of the bill on division, 20 ayes to 12 noes.

In committee of the whole, an Opposition amendment moved by Mrs Houssos was agreed to on the voices.

Following the committee stage, the bill, as amended, was read a third time and forwarded to the Assembly for concurrence. You can find the speech-in-reply and committee-of-the-whole proceedings in the day’s Hansard record.

Operation of standing order 53

Debate resumed on a motion introduced by Mr Roberts (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) in March, relating to the operation of standing order 53. As noted in a previous blog, the motion concerns the types of documents the House can order under standing order 52 (documents from the executive government) versus standing order 53 (documents relating to the ‘administration of justice’).

The motion called on the government to cease relying on the Crown Solicitor’s interpretation of the ‘administration of justice’, arguing that it is too broad, noting previous Presidents’ rulings and a High Court judgment on what documents fall under the administration of justice. Check out the debate in Hansard here, here and here.

After debate concluded, the motion was agreed to on division, with 22 ayes to 14 noes.

Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021

Debate on the second reading of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 concluded on Wednesday. The bill aims to create an Act to allow eligible people with a terminal illness to access voluntary assisted dying. A number of eligibility criteria apply, including that the person must have a condition that will cause death within six months, or 12 months in the case of a neurodegenerative condition. The bill would also create a board to oversee and authorise voluntary assisted dying.

You can find members’ contributions to the debate, including Mr Searle’s speech-in-reply, on Wednesday in Hansard. To see previous contributions to the second reading debate, see Hansard for 23 February, 23 March and 30 March.

With the second reading debate concluded, the House held a conscience vote, agreeing to the second reading of the bill by 20 votes to 17. Consideration of the bill in committee of the whole was then set down for a future day.

Dingo Cultural Heritage and Protection Bill 2022

Mr Pearson (Animal Justice Party) introduced the Dingo Cultural Heritage and Protection Bill 2022. The bill seeks to recognise and protect the heritage value of dingo populations to Aboriginal persons and to recognise the importance of dingoes, as apex predators, in maintaining biological diversity. You can find Mr Pearson’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 Mr Pearson’s speech.

List of General Motions and Orders for Papers

ORDERS FOR PAPERS
The following orders for papers were agreed to:

GENERAL MOTIONS
The following general motions were agreed to:

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