The House finished the week by again considering the Government’s compliance with orders for papers, and the House’s powers to compel the production of these documents – in particular Cabinet documents. The House also agreed to Assembly amendments to the Modern Slavery Bill 2018 introduced by Mr Green (Christian Democratic Party). This is the second time this Parliament that a private members’ bill originating in the Council has been agreed to by the Assembly. Several other items of private members’ business were considered, before the House finished the day by agreeing to the budget bills and returning them to the Assembly without amendment. The House stands adjourned to Tuesday 14 August 2018.
Thursday was a standard private members’ business day in the Council, with the exception of a message from the Assembly agreeing to a private members’ bill (the Modern Slavery Bill) subject to 22 amendments made in the other place. The House debated three private members’ motions before adjourning until 19 June, Budget Day, and the final sitting week before the winter recess.
The week began with the House debating an issue of great significance for its role as a House of review: the Government’s response to orders of the House for the production of documents, and the House’s powers to compel the production of these documents. After a lengthy debate the House ultimately agreed to censure the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council for the Government’s non-compliance with these orders. The House then turned its attention to legislation, agreeing to three bills and forwarding them to the Assembly for concurrence.
On Thursday the House spent most of the day debating a single private members’ bill: the Public Health Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill 2018, introduced by Ms Sharpe (Opposition) and co-sponsored by Mr Khan (The Nationals). Numerous members contributed to the debate, resulting in the House sitting past its usual adjournment time in order to conclude proceedings on the bill. The bill was ultimately agreed to without amendment and has been forwarded to the Assembly for consideration. Before proceeding to consider Ms Sharpe’s bill, Revd Mr Nile (Christian Democratic Party) had introduced the Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms) Bill 2018.
After dinner on Wednesday the House began debating the Electoral Funding Bill 2018. By the time the House rose just before 3 am on Thursday morning, and after nearly six hours of debate, 57 amendments had been moved and 16 amendments agreed to. A further four bills were introduced ahead of Friday’s cut-off date for the introduction of government bills during this sitting period. Another government bill was received from the Legislative Assembly and agreed to without amendment.
Thursday was a busy day for private members’ business in the Council. Two bills were introduced, debate commenced on two motions and the House agreed to order the production of papers relating to the Tune report on the out-of-home-care system. The House also voted to amend its proposed order of business to prioritise debate on the establishment of a new select committee, which was ultimately agreed to.