After a six-week winter break, the House returned to consider range of business including a disallowance motion and two bills. The formal resignation of Ms Cusack after 19 years of service with the Legislative Council was also announced. Let’s explore the day’s proceedings…
Motion of Ms Boyd to disallow the Crimes Amendment (Major Facilities) Regulation
On Tuesday afternoon, Ms Boyd (The Greens) moved a motion to disallow certain words from Part 1, Schedule 1 of the Crimes Amendment (Major Facilities) Regulation. As discussed in a previous post, the Regulation prescribes certain train stations and other infrastructure facilities to be major facilities for the purposes of s 214A of the Crimes Act 1900. Under this provision of the Crimes Act, certain obstructive conduct is prohibited at these facilities.
Part 1 of the Regulation lists 41 railway and metro stations in Sydney that are now deemed to be major infrastructure facilities. Ms Boyd’s motion sought to omit Central, Martin Place, Museum, St James and Town Hall stations from this list. The debate that took place mirrored the other debates described in previous blog posts relating to similar regulations. Ms Boyd argued that these laws infringe on the basic democratic right to protest by making it a crime, punishable by up to two years imprisonment, to protest in a disruptive manner at any of the stations listed. The Government, represented by Mr Farlow, argued that the need for the Regulation had been demonstrated in March of this year when Sydney commuters were disrupted by protesters blocking roads and train services. He also questioned why the Greens were only seeking to disallow five of the 41 stations listed in the Regulation. Mr Graham spoke to the motion on behalf of the Opposition, arguing that the Government is wrongfully pitting commuters against protesters. In reply, Ms Boyd pointed to the disruption caused by recent natural disasters and argued that the Government should be focused on addressing this, rather than criminalising other forms of disruptive protest in certain public places.
The motion was negatived on division (ayes: 5, noes: 28), with The Greens, Animal Justice Party and Mr Field voting in favour of the motion and other parties against.
TRANSPORT ADMINISTRATION AMENDMENT (RAIL TRAILS) BILL 2022
With Minister Farraway (Nationals) having introduced the Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Trails) Bill 2022 in the previous sitting week, the second reading debate resumed. You can learn more about this bill in a previous blog here.
Members from the Government, Opposition, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, The Greens and Mr Field all contributed to the second reading debate. You can find the full debate in the Hansard record here. With the majority in support of the bill, only The Greens foreshadowed that they would move amendments in committee of the whole.
In committee of the whole, Ms Boyd moved 9 amendments, 6 of which were negatived on the voices and 3 of which agreed to on the voices.
Following the committee stage, the bill was reported with amendment, read a third time on the voices and forwarded to the Assembly for consideration.
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AMENDMENT (DISPUTE ORDERS) BILL 2022
Minister Tudehope (Liberal Party) introduced the Industrial Relations Amendment (Dispute Orders) Bill 2022, which proposes to amend the Industrial Relations Act 1986 to:
- Increase the maximum penalties for contraventions of dispute orders, and
- Remove the prohibition on the Supreme Court awarding costs in relation to proceedings for contraventions of dispute orders.
In his second reading speech, Minister Tudehope explained that the purpose of the bill is to strengthen the existing provisions in the Act to discourage and deter industrial action that has been prohibited by the Industrial Relations Commission. You can find Minister Tudehope’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 Minister Tudehope’s speech.
RESIGNATION OF THE HON CATHERINE CUSACK
In our 23 June post, we discussed the Hon Catherine Cusack’s valedictory speech, where she looked back on an impressive 19 years in the Legislative Council.
On Tuesday, the Clerk formally announced the resignation of Ms Cusack. This means that another member will be elected in her place (filling the ‘casual vacancy’) in a joint sitting on Thursday 11 August. Watch this space for more!