Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, it hardly needs to be said that the time given to scrutinise this bill is completely unsatisfactory. I know some people believe we should just tick off everything the Government states it has a mandate for, but I am not one of them. To suggest that because this was a pre-election promise - or predominantly pre-election promises - it should be simply accepted and passed without full and proper scrutiny denies the role and importance of this House.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, supply bills are not unusual in an election year to tide over the actions of government. Nurses, police, teachers and treasury officials want to be paid in the intervening period between the end of the financial year and the new budget. The appropriation associated with that is approved by the parliament. It was to be expected.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, we generally see a supplementary appropriation bill each year around this time, in some years for a single purchase such as the purchase of the Tamar Valley Power Station. This is quite comprehensive.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, provision of accessible quality healthcare is a fundamental responsibility of the state government. It is always a challenging area because demand will always outstrip capacity. That becomes evident at some peak demand times, such as during the winter in Tasmania, when medical admissions to our acute health services increase significantly.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I am happy to support this bill. I have some questions, but I do not know that the Leader will have some responses to them at a later time. I also wish to declare my interest in the arts. We all have an interest in the arts. I am on two arts-based boards, one being Junction, the other being Unconformity. I am missing a board meeting this evening as we speak. That is the nature of the beast here.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I support the legislation. This is an important step and needed. Great harm has been caused to people over the years, particularly in terms of institutionalised sexual abuse of children, as the royal commission found. It must have been harrowing for those people in the process - those hearing the evidence repeatedly time and time again, the atrocities that happened, and also the re-traumatisation of people who told their stories. It takes a great degree of bravery to do that.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr Deputy President, the continued push by this Government to impose mandatory sentencing is not backed by evidence. It is an action that seeks to appeal to the fears and emotions of the general public. This is expert evidence that I am talking about. It was interesting that the member for Windermere talked about the Western Australian situation.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, the addition of alternative sentencing options outside the prison setting are preferable, regardless of what else you do. There has been lots of discussion about whether we should remove the option for suspended sentences as well as introduce other options. That is definitely a backward step and until you introduce other options and see how they fit into the current options a court has in determining a sentence for someone, we do not know whether they are necessary or not.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I say from the outset I can see both sides of this debate. When the proposed takeover was first mooted by the Treasurer with a view to making TasWater mark 2 a GBE, I publicly stated I had some sympathy for the suggestion.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I think everyone in this place and in the broader community understands the harm that family violence perpetrates. We need to ensure that adequate protections are there, remembering that there is always a perpetrator and a victim, and sometimes those roles can swap. You are not always sure exactly who the victim is.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I support this bill. I notice a proposed amendment has been put forward by the member for Hobart, which we will get to later.
The Acting Leader's second reading speech was very comprehensive and certainly covered all the key aspects of the bill. It is, in many respects, modernising what is quite old legislation. It is important that occurs on a regular basis - probably slightly more regularly than it has, one could argue.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, as members would know finfish farming is an important part of my electorate and has been for a very long time. Macquarie Harbour has been a matter raised with me a number of times over the last 12 and a half years, since my election and being in this place. What made me really stand up and take notice was when we started hearing from some of the old timers on the west coast. I call them 'old timers' because they have lived there all their lives. They were starting to express grave concern about the health of the harbour.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I support this bill. I do so for many reasons. Before I go into those, I would like to quote an article from the ABC that reflects my reasons for support and acknowledges the work done by our Leader, the honourable Vanessa Goodwin. I wish to thank her for her dedication to righting, as much as we can, some terrible wrongs done at a time before many of us were in this place. Many of those wrongs resulted from the delay in decriminalising homosexuality in Tasmania, a move blocked by the Legislative Council, this place, a number of times. I will come to that shortly.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr Deputy President, I will be supporting this legislation, but I want to reflect on the process that sees us here. It is important at the outset not to revisit the debate we had a year ago, but to discuss the key reasons we are here.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Thank you, Madam Acting President.
I will not go over all the matters the member for Rumney raised, particularly her comments regarding the difficulty in understanding what is the best way forward with this bill.
I consulted some time ago with people who are actively engaged in this area in terms of dealing with workers' rehabilitation and compensation claims. In my view, it is about keeping lawyers out of it as much as we can because that is where the costs and all the - sometimes - challenges lie.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AMENDMENT (RATES) BILL 2017 (No. 7)
Legislative Council Wednesday 31 May 2017
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I intend to make a brief contribution and then seek to adjourn the debate. We have received a lot of information at the last minute, which concerns me and other members in this place, particularly given the implications of the legislation's retrospectivity and the exemption for marine farming.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I support the adjournment for a further briefing. The issue is - and I respond to the honourable member for Apsley's comments - that normally there is consultation on a bill and we get feedback on it. When this bill was tabled, I did not get much chance during the election period to have a look at all the legislation coming up. I might not have needed to and it could have saved me a lot of work.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I welcome back the honourable member for Launceston on her election. It is nice for us both to be returned. I appreciate the ongoing contribution she will make. Also, the new member for Rumney - I am sure she will find her feet very quickly. She has a couple of colleagues here to see her on the right path.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, it will come as no surprise to anybody that I am not going to support this bill. I have been consistent since this bill was tabled. As soon as it was tabled in the other place, I made it my business to contact the key employers in my electorate involved in the forest industry.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I do not support that amendment. I hope to make a contribution on the bill as other members may wish to. The contribution of the member for Huon related to section 17 and his view that it goes too far and needs amendment. That is not part of this bill. Go back to the second reading speech that the Acting Leader delivered in this place a couple of weeks ago to grant religious exemption. It is not about amending section 17.