Published: 05 May 2020

Legislative Council Thursday 30 April, 2020

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, here is my chance to talk on this one. Following my comments on my concern about passing that bill with its third reading tonight, this House has been treated with an enormous amount of disrespect. Governments past and present are slow learners with regard to how the Legislative Council works and the amount of effort we put in in this place in doing our job. That was highlighted tonight through the President and the work of the member for Windermere trying to get clear answers around consultation, around a matter that directly relates to this House and this House only.

We have now seen a motion from the Leader that shows absolute disrespect for this place. Did you, Mr President, know that this was going to be the case, and when did you know? It is important to what I say next.

Mrs Hiscutt - I am sorry that was my fault.

Ms FORREST - There was no consultation around that. I accept the Leader is doing her best to listen to what we are saying. What I said, what the member for Mersey, and maybe even others said, was we should be looking at Wednesday/Thursday. I am going to move an amendment to the Leader's motion to sit to return on Thursday, at 11 o'clock, or even 2.30 p.m. so we can start then. We can come in, do the prayers and whatever else we need to do and then adjourn or suspend the briefings. If we have to sit on Friday, we will have to, but that will give the lower House the opportunity to show some respect to this place. We consider their position. They can move another motion to sit on Wednesday, as well as Thursday. They have already decided to come back next Thursday. Unless there is some constitutional barrier to this, why can they not move to come back on Wednesday, which is the day before, not the day after the day they have already set? They are here, they are sitting. They have not finished. If they can sit on Wednesday, then we can be here Thursday.

My amendment would be that we sit at 11 a.m. on the Thursday. We can be here at 11 a.m., and we can have briefings and we can prepare for the bill - it is obviously complex - and give us a decent amount of time with staff and advisors around who might be able to assist us with not having to ram something through this place so fast that we risk making mistakes and sitting until - what hour is it? Nearly one o'clock in the morning.

The other point is the Subordinate Legislation Committee, the committee that has a responsibility for scrutinising the notices under our COVID act meets on Fridays. We made a commitment based on all the things that were happening that we would meet Tuesdays and Fridays, and here we are, not consulted. Not asked if there is something important going on. No, it does not matter. We will not talk about it, we will just make a decision.

Mrs Hiscutt - I am sorry. It was my fault, trying to help.

Ms FORREST - This place has accommodated the Government and we have bent over backwards to work with you and this is what you do. It is not okay. I urge all members to support my amendment to the Leader's motion to come back at 11 o'clock next Thursday, make the most of the time and hope like hell the Government gets measured and comes back next Wednesday and does their work. Why should we be the ones who have to stand here all night while they are in bed?

Mr President, I move that the motion be amended to '11 o'clock on Thursday, 7 May'.

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