Ms WEBB (Nelson) (by leave) - Mr President, I move -
Noting the significant impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on the lives of Tasmanians, and given the emergency response by the Tasmanian Government including Coronavirus related expenditure, legislative and public policy developments, that a Joint Select Committee be appointed with power to send for persons and papers, with leave to sit during any adjournment of either House, with leave to adjourn from place to place and with leave to report from time to time to inquire into and report upon -
(a) the Report of the State Coroner's Court of New South Wales of the Inquest into the death of six patrons of NSW music festivals (the Report), released on 8 November 2019 by Magistrate Harriet Grahame, the Deputy State Coroner for New South Wales;
(b) the thorough and evidence-based approach taken to inform the Report; and
(c) the Report's Recommendation 1, to the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, recommending the introduction of a front of house medically supervised pill testing/drug checking pilot for the summer of 2019-20.
Ms FORREST - Mr President, I thank the member for Elwick for bringing this motion forward. It is a really important topic. I have had a number of representations from my constituents on this matter, not just since the report was tabled but beforehand as well. I will be reflecting particularly on that feedback. The member for Elwick has gone through a lot of the Tasmanian background to this. I will come back to some of those points.
I note it is very difficult for public servants to speak out publicly regarding their concerns on government policy so I believe the comments I make here reflect only the very tip of the iceberg. There are many more teachers and principals in Tasmania who share similar views and concerns as those I will raise.
Ms FORREST - Mr President, I will speak only briefly on this report. As the member for Hobart said, the report speaks for itself and I encourage members to read it. It contains a great deal of very relevant information. I will speak to a few aspects of it.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I reiterate the comments made by the member for Mersey.
When I read this motion initially, I felt the clear question is: who is this trying to influence? The Government has clearly said it would back a Tasmanian team. The Opposition has said that. The AFL has made it really clear what its views are, and I do not think a rocket is going to change them. The member for Windermere's contribution on this issue was really emotive and has much value in getting these points across and identifying the challenges, the issues and the fact that so many people back it, which we all know.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I am happy to speak on this issue. I am not going to reflect on what the Government Administration A subcommittee is looking at in its inquiry. It will report in due course. A few things being talked about in the public arena do need comment, particularly with my background in the health field as a nurse and midwife. This is not reflecting on the work of the committee; this is reflecting on public comments I have made in other places and information already in the public arena.
Ms FORREST ( Murchison ) - Mr President, we have spoken a couple of times already about the honourable Dr Vanessa Goodwin in this place. It is a tragic story. I will call her Vanessa from hereon. She was quite an incredible woman, who was a trailblazer in many respects. She often went about her business in a very quiet way and achieved much more in her work than many of us would know, particularly in the reform of the prison services and the work she did with the Mary Hutchinson Women's Prison. It is great to see that being progressed. Unfortunately, as other members have noted, she is not here to see it.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I will not make a long contribution because much has already been said. I particularly reflect on and remember Greg as the parliamentarian and the role he undertook in this place, connected with his work and his role in the community. He was a well-respected member of parliament and local government, who was elected more than once. He had the support of the people of his electorate for many years, in local government as well as the state parliament.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, access to housing and the rise of the sharing economy in short-term accommodation through Airbnb, Stayz and other platforms has been raised many times with me as a member of this place. People are facing some serious challenges with this. It is not only their competing with other accommodation providers about which I have had much representation; it is also about people not being able to get rental accommodation in some of our smaller communities because these houses are not available for long term rentals.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, my contribution will be brief. I will ask a number of questions of the member moving the motion.
I start with the same questions I asked during debate on the motion previously put by the member for Launceston. Is this an area of significant concern? Absolutely, yes it is. One reason there is so much concern is the way the policy was released during the recent election period. The letter sent out by the Liberal Party was dated 9 February, in their planning for the election. It was sent out to a number of stakeholders, but not all.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr Deputy President, I move -
That the Legislative Council Government Administration Committee A report on King Island shipping and freight services be considered and noted.
In noting this report, I begin by acknowledging the hard work of the staff. I did it with the previous committee but we had a couple of changes of committee secretary during this process. The staff have all worked very hard to get what is a very comprehensive and good report together.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I would like to add to some of the comments made by the members on this committee. I commend the member for Elwick chairing his first committee. He did a good job. It is always a new experience when you are chairing for the first time and seeing how everything works, so I congratulate you on that. Also, I acknowledge the hard work of the staff as well. They worked very hard with the committees, particularly over these last few weeks, with sickness and a range of other things that have challenged the committee secretariat in this place, and they have done an incredible job. I say that for all the committee reports we are noting at the moment. It has been a huge task for all of them. We thank them for their dedication and commitment because it is huge.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, as the honourable Leader said, this is a regular occurrence. I think it will be the second last one before we change to the new Financial Management Act and it will be a section 23 or section 24 report, which, from memory, will be a similar process. As the Leader also said, much of it has been shifting around within agencies and does not have an overall impact on the budget. The Leader has gone through the areas where there are no offsetting revenues to cover that and where the shifting within agencies has been.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I thank the member for Mersey for his comprehensive noting of the report and his comments. I think he must have been looking at some of my notes.
If we had to compile a list of things that society could do without, I am sure poker machines would be included, but they are legal - at this stage, anyway - and a few people enjoy them apparently. There is no doubt that poker machines cause social harm, but - and I am trying to briefly summarise what I understand the industry's position to be - the economic benefits exceed the social cost. Why else would we tolerate them?
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I will make a few comments on this report. It is only a fairly short report and members have referred to the content of it. It is worth making a few points on this particular report.
It strikes at the heart of the committee structure overall, which is an important point. The member for Windermere has an unfortunate habit of taking other members' comments out of context.
In terms of my comment about not losing confidence of a committee to be able to give confidential information: if we say no-one should have any confidence in our committees in the future, we are undermining the whole work of all committees anyway.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr Deputy President, I move -
That the Legislative Council -
(1) Notes the economic benefit of investment in infrastructure, particularly long term intergenerational infrastructure;
(2) Notes infrastructure funding is often influenced by election cycles; and
(3) Calls on both Houses to consider the value of establishing a cross party Infrastructure Funding Review Panel, comprising a representative from each party and independent member to review current infrastructure funding, decision making and assessment processes and options.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I am happy to proceed with this. I welcome the opportunity to reply to the Premier's Address. However, every time I speak on a motion like this one before us, I am not a pessimist, but there is a need to question some of the hype been passed off as perfecting the state of our state. It is true we are closer to a surplus than we have been for the past few years. It is largely a mirage. There are a few significant caveats.
Establishment of Select Committee - Inquire and Report -
Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2016 (No. 54)
[11.37 a.m.] Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I move -
That a select committee be appointed, with the power to send for persons and papers, with leave to sit during any adjournment of the Council, and with leave to adjourn from place to place to inquire into and report upon the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2016 (No. 54).
And that Mr Dean; Mr Finch; Mr Gaffney; and the mover be of the committee.
Mr President, why do I think there is a need for a more detailed look at this bill? There are a number of reasons. I will comment on each of them and refer to other people's comments. These key areas include: the low level of community support; the very limited time for consultation on the draft bill; genuine concern regarding possible consequences of the bill; and concern by some that the bill does not go far enough and will not result in change that some in the community believe is necessary. There has not been broad support for this change and there has been a lack of time for input into consultation on the draft bill.
MOTION Consideration and Noting - Report of the Commissioner for Children and Young People
[3.31 p.m.] Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I move -
That the report of the Commissioner for Children and Young People titled 'Children and Young People's Unique Experiences of Family Violence' be considered and noted.
In noting this very important and informative report, I commend the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Mark Morrissey, on his approach to his work in this area. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that the voices of young people are heard in matters of such importance to them. I note the voices of the children throughout the report in words and pictures, a valuable inclusion in the report.
(1) That where appropriate the Legislative Council supports the use of Aboriginal names for Legislative Council electorates; and
(2) That the Tasmanian Electoral Commission be advised accordingly.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, no-one in this place would be adverse to some consideration being given to Aboriginal names of places where there are geographic features or electorates if it was a wish of the Aboriginal population and people who had a connection with the area were able to advise appropriately. As the member for Hobart said, it is about doing things with the Aboriginal people, not to them. It is at their request and it is a respectful request.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I will make a few comments about the Auditor-General's report. I will not go broadly into the whole education debate. It is a worthy debate, but is probably best left for another time in many ways. I note the contribution of the member for Elwick, who covered a lot of information well beyond the Auditor-General's assessment, which was all useful and part of the conversation.
(1) The value and importance of the ongoing work of the Pacific Women's Parliamentary Partnerships Project - PWPPP.
(2) That the PWPPP supports and promotes gender equality in parliaments across the Pacific nations, Australia and New Zealand.
(3) That the 2015 PWPPP forum was recently held in Fiji and focused on the theme of family violence and provided opportunity to explore the reality of this issue which confronts all nations; and
(4) The forum is coordinated by the Australian Parliament, with the financial support of Australian Aid, under the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative and the invaluable and ongoing support of the Australian Government.
Ms FORREST (Muchison) - Mr President, I do not intend to support the motion on the basis that the Standing Orders Committee looked at this particular question about the need for quorum calls and whether they are still necessary, appropriate or relevant on 6 November last year.