On Tuesday, the House welcomed a new member, Ms Susan Higginson, who also gave her first speech in the Legislative Council. The House also debated the RSL NSW Amendment Bill and Firearms Amendment Bill – check out the details below.
New Member Sworn and First Speech—Ms Susan Higginson
On Tuesday morning, new member Ms Susan Higginson (The Greens) took the Pledge of Loyalty and signed the official Roll of the House. Later in the day, she also gave her inaugural speech in the chamber in front of an audience of colleagues, friends and family. Ms Higginson was elected to the Legislative Council to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Mr David Shoebridge in March this year.
One for the protocol buffs: members of the Legislative Council are ordinarily entitled to use the title ‘the Honourable’. However, members can opt not to use this title and to instead be referred to by a prefix such as Mr, Ms or Dr. While elected ‘the Honourable’, Sue Higginson has opted not to use this title, so from Tuesday the records of the House have been updated to reflect her preferred form of address. Several other members have also opted for a similar form of address, including Ms Higginson’s colleagues in The Greens. You can find our members’ preferred forms of address here.
RSL NSW Amendment Bill 2022
The RSL NSW Amendment Bill 2022 seeks to amend the RSL NSW Act 2018 to facilitate the reorganisation of RSL sub-branches, to strengthen governance and reduce administration functions and expenses of sub-branches following the introduction of a new RSL constitution in 2019 and significant governance reforms recommended in an inquiry by the Hon Patricia Bergin SC.
The bill exempts sub-branches of RSL NSW from payment of duty if they wish to incorporate and become companies limited by guarantee. Currently, sub-branches would be liable for the payment of duty, as the incorporation process would necessarily involve the transfer of the sub-branch’s real property to its replacement incorporated sub-branch. You can find Minister Farraway’s second reading speech (on behalf of Minister Ward) and members’ contributions to the second reading speech in Hansard. With the second and third readings of the bill agreed to on the voices, the bill was returned to the Assembly without amendment.
Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2022
The Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 was also introduced in the House on Tuesday. The bill seeks to amend the Firearms Act 1996 and the Firearms Regulation 2017 to clarify which firearms can be possessed and used under restricted Category D licences, to provide additional licensing periods for primary producers with category D licences, and to make other miscellaneous amendments. The bill is intended to remove barriers faced by those such as pest controllers and farmers to access fit-for-purpose firearms and provides flexibility in licensing periods to support pest eradication campaigns. You can find more information about the bill in Mr Poulos’ second reading speech (on behalf of Minister Mitchell) in Hansard.
On members concluding their contributions to the second reading debate, the minister adjourned debate until a future day. Keep a look out in the blog for further updates on this bill.
The House spent the remainder the day debating a succession of committee reports, and in Question Time. Stay tuned for the next blog, where we will be covering private members’ day, including debate on amendments to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021.