A number of private members’ bills relating to animal welfare were before the House on Wednesday, among others. It was a fitting theme, given that the sitting also brought the valedictory speech of the Animal Justice Party’s the Hon Mark Pearson, who, when joining the Legislative Council in 2015, became the first person elected to an Australian parliament on a platform of animal welfare and protection. Read on to discover more…
PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AMENDMENT (INDEPENDENT OFFICE OF ANIMAL WELFARE) BILL 2022
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Independent Office of Animal Welfare) Bill 2022 was introduced by Ms Abigail Boyd (The Greens). The bill would amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 to establish an independent statutory body responsible for ensuring the welfare of animals in the state.
The Independent Office of Animal Welfare, with the new office of Chief Animal Welfare Officer and an independent advisory committee, would undertake key regulatory and administrative responsibilities relating to animal welfare and protection. This would include reviewing and developing policies and guidelines, and reviewing the administration and enforcement of animal welfare laws in NSW.
The bill would make other changes too, including recognising the RSCPA NSW and the Animal Welfare League NSW as “approved charitable organisations” under the Act. Full details can be found in Ms Boyd’s second reading speech in Hansard. At the conclusion of this speech, according to standing order, debate was adjourned for five calendar days.
FORESTRY AMENDMENT (KOALA HABITATS) BILL 2022
Introduced by Ms Sue Higginson (The Greens), the Forestry Amendment (Koala Habitats) Bill 2022 would amend the Forestry Act 2012 to prohibit forestry operations in koala habitat zones. Habitats covered would be those areas defined as areas of regional koala significance, and areas declared koala habitat by the relevant Minister.
You can find more details in Ms Higginson’s second reading speech, as recorded in Hansard. After the introduction of the bill debate was adjourned for five calendar days, according to standing order.
INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AGAINST CORRUPTION AMENDMENT (VALIDATION) BILL 2022
The Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment (Validation) Bill 2022 was introduced by the Hon Rod Roberts (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation). It would amend the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988, so that a provision to validate certain previous actions of the ICAC would not apply in relation to people who had pending Supreme Court proceedings challenging corruption findings at a certain point in time.
A full explanation on the bill, and the reason for its specific date application, can be found in Mr Roberts’ second reading speech here. At the conclusion of his speech, debate on the bill was adjourned for five calendar days, according to standing order.
ANIMAL RESEARCH AMENDMENT (RIGHT TO RELEASE) BILL 2022
Introduced by the Hon Emma Hurst (Animal Justice Party), the Animal Research Amendment (Right to Release) Bill 2022 was passed in the Council back in June. The bill inserts a new clause into the Animal Research Act 1985 to give dogs and cats used in animal experimentation the right to be released, and to increase the number of animals rehomed after experimentation in NSW.
On Wednesday, the House resolved into committee of the whole to consider nine amendments made to the bill during its passage through the Legislative Assembly. On the voices, the committee agreed to Ms Hurst’s motion that the amendments be agreed to. A message advising of the outcome was then forwarded to the Assembly and the bill will now be forwarded to the Governor for assent.
You can find the full proceedings during committee of the whole in Hansard here.
PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AMENDMENT (PROHIBITION FOR CONVICTED PERSONS) BILL 2022
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Prohibition for Convicted Persons) Bill 2022 was introduced in the Council by the Hon Emma Hurst (Animal Justice Party) in September, and on Wednesday it was back before the House for debate. The bill amends the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 and the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986 to prevent people convicted of certain offences in relation to animals from caring for or working with animals. It also extends the definition of an animal cruelty offence and defines a serious interstate animal offence.
A number of members contributed to the second reading debate, before the second reading was agreed to on the voices and the House resolved into committee of the whole to debate amendments (and a number of amendments to those amendments, making proceedings quite interesting to follow!).
In total, during committee…
- Nine amendments were moved by Ms Hurst – seven agreed to on the voices, and two amended and then agreed to on the voices as amended
- Two amendments to the amendments of Ms Hurst were moved by the Hon Revd Fred Nile (Independent) – both subsequently amended and then agreed to on the voices
- The Hon Shayne Mallard on behalf of the Government moved five amendments, of which one was to the substantive text of the bill; one was to amendment no. 3 of Ms Hurst; and three were to the amendments of Revd Mr Nile. All of the Government amendments were agreed to on the voices.
With the third reading then agreed to on the voices, the bill as amended was forwarded to the Legislative Assembly. To recap the Council’s debate on the bill in full, visit the Hansard record here.
VALEDICTORY SPEECH OF THE HON MARK PEARSON
On Wednesday evening, proceedings were interrupted for the valedictory speech of the Hon Mark Pearson (Animal Justice Party), who has been a member of the Council for eight years. When Mr Pearson was elected to the Council in 2015, he was the very first person to be elected to an Australian parliament on a platform of animal welfare and protection – and among just a few such parliamentarians across the globe.
During his farewell address, which can be read in full here, Mr Pearson reflected on his journey to Parliament and progress made for animals in recent years.
WEAPONS PROHIBITION AMENDMENT (SILENCERS) BILL 2022
A bill of the Hon Robert Borsak (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party), the Weapons Prohibition Amendment (Silencers) Bill 2022 was introduced during our last private members’ day. It would amend the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 to allow gun silencer permits to be issued to people who have a “genuine reason” for requiring a device that supresses the noise created by firing a gun, for weapons used for sport and recreational purposes. Read more in our earlier blog recap.
On Wednesday evening, the second reading debate commenced, though the member’s speech in reply was interrupted by the House’s hard adjournment at 10pm. See the night’s Hansard record to read members’ contributions in full, and stay tuned for more.
One general motion was debated, moved by the Hon Chris Rath (Liberal Party), concerning the Rail, Tram, and Bus Union and industrial action. It was amended following divisions, then agreed to on the voices, as amended.
ORDERS FOR PAPERS
The following orders for papers were debated and agreed to:
- State finances and state-owned corporations – moved by the Hon Daniel Mookhey (Labor) and agreed to on division – due 23 November
- Agent General to the UK, EU and Israel – moved by the Hon Daniel Mookhey (Labor) and agreed to on division – due 16 November
- New regional rail fleet – moved by the Hon Mark Buttigieg (Labor) and agreed to on division – due 9 December
- Sydney Water and Hunter Water – moved by the Hon Rose Jackson (Labor) – due 30 November
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