Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, we do indeed live in unprecedented times at the moment. I commend the Government for acting promptly to seek to assist businesses in whatever way it can, when effectively, not only is COVID-19 causing chaos for our state and the world, but it is also forcing the Government to make decisions they would rather not make.
We are seeing the Government being forced to make decisions to close down businesses, to stop the operations of businesses, and it has been hard for the Premier to make a decision to effectively put hundreds of people out of work and have no job.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I support the overall intention, the introduction, as I did with the Foreign Investor Duty Surcharge last year. We would not be here today if more notice had been taken last time of key stakeholders like the Law Society and others involved in discretionary trusts, who clearly identified these issues as a problem. We were in such a rush to ram the legislation through before 1 July that we did that, and here we are trying to sort out what some lawyers would describe as an unholy mess because they knew it was coming.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, as other members have mentioned, this is basically completing the work started last year, which was quite rushed, when the Anglican Church made a decision to fund its obligations under the National Redress Scheme. It needed to free up some cash and so it thought it would sell off a few churches and, by necessity the graveyards and burial grounds that were attached to the churches.
This was the reaction by the Government at the time to try to stop the Anglican Church, or certainly make it harder for it - which it has.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I commend the Government for continuing to act on the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It is an area that has received significant attention and rightly so.
I reiterate the Leader's comments in the second reading speech - the royal commission's recommendations recognise governments, institutions and the broader community share responsibility for keeping children safe.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I commend the Government for taking this stand and this approach. It is evidence-based and a review was done. I will quote a number of sections from that review to back my support for the bill as it stands before us.
It is interesting to note that it has been difficult to define what we are talking about. I go back to the Joint Select Committee's Gene Technology in Primary Industries report in 2008, produced by a committee I sat on.
Ms FORREST (MurchisonNext Hit) - Mr President, I will support the bill. Sometimes even the content in the second reading speech is not enough to clarify the intent when it is testing the courts. It is important we do our best to have it right in legislation to ensure the intention is reflected in the legislation.
As the second reading speech the Deputy Leader delivered made pretty clear, in 2017 a decision of the NSW Court of Appeal potentially could impact on our legislation, even reflecting on the original intent of the legislation. We know a number of sports engaged in professionally are very dangerous.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, as other members have mentioned, this bill implements the Government's commitment to amend the Criminal Code to make serious cyberbullying a criminal offence.
There will be some who have and will say it does not go far enough. Some will say it goes too far, so somewhere in the middle is the balance. This is a difficult area to legislate in. Bullying, particularly cyberbullying, is so insidious. It happens almost behind the scenes and you only actually see the results of it at times.
Ms FORREST - Mr President, I thank the Government and commend it for taking this action and being so proactive in it.
The Leader's second reading speech said many of the things I wish to repeat. It is important to have a number of things on the record. All of us cannot remain unaffected by the royal commission held into sexual assault of children. I also reiterate the Leader's words in sincerely thanking those victims and their families who came forward to give evidence because without them this would not have been uncovered. I thank organisations involved in the media who blew the lid on some of this.
Ms FORREST - Mr President, in speaking about this bill, I will not go over the territory other members have covered so much, but I note the Leader and member for Montgomery's contribution when she mentioned what Dr Broad had said in the other place about Tasmania having some of the best forest practices in the world.
It is true, and it is important we recognise that. It does not mean we should be complacent, and the Government is not being complacent, but, as the member for McIntyre said, some of the provisions in this bill have been a long time coming.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I support the bill but want to comment on its provisions and the nature of the step-down provision.
I absolutely accept and acknowledge policing is unique. Police sign an oath that requires them to act. It has been said many times they run toward the problem or violence while most other people are running away. I am constantly amazed and pleasantly surprised at the speed and the skill with which they do that.
You only have to look at police across the world, not only in Tasmania but in the more unfortunate circumstances of terrorism. There was a recent event where police arrived within a minute of a shooting in the United States.
Ms FORREST - Mr President, I support the bill. I want to make some comments on it and talk about some of my concerns about getting access to mental health care when people are requiring this level of treatment.
The Mental Health Bill, when it was introduced in Tasmania many years ago - I think it was 1996 - was deemed to be revolutionary in some respects. It had a 12-month review clause in it because of that. That 12-month review took 13 years. This was when the Labor Party was in power. I moved to establish a select committee to look at it. That was vehemently opposed by the then minister for health, Lara Giddings. But we pushed on, as we do in this House, and inquired into the provisions of the Mental Health Act, and undertook that long overdue review.
We have a Bill before us that seeks to achieve a number of changes, the intent of which I fully support. Tasmania does need to be compliant with Commonwealth Law, in this case, the Marriage Act 1961, so the so-called ‘no forced divorce’ provision contained within this Bill does need to proceed as soon as possible as we are already non-compliant since December 10th last year.
When the debate last year didn’t occur on the second reading, all Members of this place made speeches on the adjournment regarding this and I won’t revisit that matter at this time. I was, like I assume most other Members were, ready to debate the second reading of the Bill but we didn’t even get that far.
On average at least one woman is killed every week at the hands of a current or former partner in Australia. Last month the numbers were even more alarming. Nine women were killed in October - seven allegedly in the context of a current or former intimate relationship, the other two also suspected to have died at the hands of male perpetrators.
What are we doing? We are trying to do some more here. That was a quote from today's edition of The Conversation. It goes on -
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I will take a word out of the Government's playbook when it comes to amendments in this place. I will not be opposing this legislation. As we mentioned in the briefing, it remains a concern when governments interfere in energy pricing. I understand the volatility in the wholesale energy price, particularly the Victorian wholesale energy price, and some of the factors behind that. This response from the Government is to give effect to a policy to keep energy prices low for Tasmanians. That is a really good thing because many Tasmanians are struggling to pay their energy bills.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I was not planning to say much on this bill but the member for Hobart was so encouraging I thought I would.
I support the bill. I supported the process being dealt with and the first facilitation of this process to allow the councils, the owners of TasWater, to make a decision about whether they would accept this proposal.
As I said by interjection a moment ago, we could have saved 18 months of pain and uncertainty and frustration for many people had the Government considered this option earlier when it was proposed to them.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, when we deal with legislation taking away some personal liberties, it is important we fully consider it fully and in doing so not only weigh up the potential benefits to the broader community, but the rights, privileges and protections individuals should be able to expect and access in our society.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, this is an important step forward in many respects because a number of healthcare providers are not subject to this review process. A few years ago when we debated the national health practitioner regulation process and adopted the national law, a number of professions, such as medical practitioners, nurses and physiotherapists, were initially put into that lot. Another cohort was then added to that regime.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I will be supporting the legislation because it gives certainty about the use of the information that can be recorded.
I was trying to remember during the briefing whether it was two years ago when Mr Hidding was minister for police and emergency services. He brought along one of these cameras to our budget Estimates committee meeting. It was similar to the one that has been decided upon - it was bigger and heavier but had the same sort of design.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I am pleased we are moving down this path. Every time I think about the whole situation I become very tense and upset, because of the blatant disregard of our children in the past. It is still happening around the world and, unfortunately, around our country.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) – Mr President, I support the bill. It is important and timely to look at the actual framework that governs justices of the peace. The member of Mersey talked about the issue of updating the website and I would be interested to hear what the Leader has to say.
I wanted to focus a bit on the second reading speech, which says –