Full Day Hansard Transcript (Legislative Council, 19 September 2012, Corrected Copy)

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LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

Wednesday 19 September 2012

__________

The President (The Hon. Donald Thomas Harwin) took the chair at 11.00 a.m.

The President read the Prayers.
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AMENDMENT (INDUSTRIAL REPRESENTATION) BILL 2012

CRIME COMMISSION BILL 2012

Messages received from the Legislative Assembly returning the bills without amendment.

Pursuant to sessional orders Formal Business Notices of Motions proceeded with.
FILM INDUSTRY

Motion, by leave, by the Hon. Marie Ficarra agreed to:

      That Private Members' Business item No. 837 outside the Order of Precedence be amended by omitting paragraph 3 (b).
      Motion by the Hon. MARIE FICARRA agreed to:
      1. That this House notes:
          (a) Mr Hugh Jackman's latest movie The Wolverine has begun filming in Sydney, reinforcing New South Wales' position as a world leader in film production,

          (b) The Wolverine has created almost 2,000 jobs for cast, crew and extras, and is expected to spend more than $80 million in New South Wales during production, and

          (c) filming is taking place at Fox Studios, in the Sydney central business district, Sutherland shire and western Sydney.

      2. That this House acknowledges that:
          (a) New South Wales is recognised globally as one of the best locations for large-scale films and television programs, and is home to the best post-production, digital and visual effects industry in Australia,

          (b) as well as generating jobs and investment, productions like The Wolverine boost our tourism and visitor economy and raise the profile of New South Wales around the world,

          (c) the support of communities across the State enables New South Wales to provide superior shooting locations, with Kurnell and Picton playing the part of Japan for The Wolverine and Rozelle the stage for the outskirts of 1920s New York in The Great Gatsby, and

          (d) the Government has established a Creative Industries Task Force to develop a new 10-year Industry Action Plan.

      3. That this House acknowledges Mr Hugh Jackman for his brilliance as an actor and as a fine ambassador for New South Wales and Australia.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Formal Business Notices of Motions
    Private Members' Business item No. 910 outside the Order of Precedence objected to as being taken as formal business.
    LIFE EDUCATION
        Motion by the Hon. MARIE FICARRA agreed to:
        1. That this House notes that:
            (a) in 1964, Reverend Ted Noffs commenced work at the Kings Cross Methodist Church Parish Mission in Sydney and within the first months renamed it "The Wayside Chapel",

            (b) in 1967, Reverend Noffs established "The Drug Referral Centre" at Rushcutters Bay,

            (c) Reverend Noffs and his wife, Margaret, recognised the need for reduction and preventative strategies in relation to drugs and in 1974 set up the Life Education Centre which, in partnership with schools and the community, endeavours to help reduce tobacco use and illegal drug use among young people, encourage them to avoid or delay alcohol use, and reduce the harms associated with any drug use,

            (d) Life Education's primary school programs commenced in 1979 and this year celebrate their thirty-third anniversary, and are delivered by 120 full-time and part-time educators using Life Education's national network of more than 90 mobile and static classrooms, complemented by direct delivery in school classrooms,

            (e) over 750,000 students participate in these programs each year,

            (f) today there are now around 100 mobile units operating in Australia and last year alone over 700,000 were visited by Healthy Harold, the Giraffe in these mobile units, and

            (g) 12 other countries around the world having been inspired by this initiative and have adopted the program.
        2. That this House acknowledges and commends the following people for their outstanding work in the community:
            (a) the current Chief Executive Officer of Life Education NSW, Mr Jay Bacik,

            (b) Chairman, Tony Hasham, and

            (c) Directors, the Hon. Robert Ellicott, QC, Rear Admiral A. L. Hunt, AO, Paul Wheelton, Mary Easson, Robyn Hoare, John Landerer, CBE, AM, Clare Payne, Professor Alan Rice, Lyn Thurnham, John Waterhouse, the Hon. Alan Cadman, OAM, Mark Lacy, Mike McAuliffe and Paul Siviour.
    COUNTRY WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION NINETIETH ANNIVERSARY
        Motion by the Hon. MARIE FICARRA agreed to:
        1. That this House notes that:
            (a) the Country Women's Association [CWA] of New South Wales will this year celebrate its ninetieth anniversary by inducting some inspirational Australians, both women and men, into the CWA community with the introduction of CWA Honorary Memberships,

            (b) from modest foundations in 1922, the Country Women's Association now boasts a rich 90-year history of achieving outcomes that better the lives of rural and regional communities,

            (c) there are currently some 400 branches throughout the State and approximately 10,000 members who are all looking and listening for ways to improve the opportunities for women and their families in regional and rural communities, and

            (d) in honour of their outstanding contribution and inspiration to society, the following have been conferred CWA State Honorary Membership:
              (i) Ms Pip Courtney, ABC Landline host,

              (ii) Mr John Fairfax, AM,

              (iii) Mr Ian McNamara, ABC Sunday All Over host,

              (iv) Ms Victoria Carey, Country Style magazine editor,

              (v) Ms Danica Leys, Rural Industries Research Development Corporation Rural Women's Award 2012 NSW winner,

              (vi) Mrs Anne Sargeant, OAM, former Australian netball Captain, Life Member of All Australia Netball Association, NSW Netball Association and Manly Warringah Netball Association,

              (vii) Mr John Dwyer, The Land newspaper,

              (viii) Dr Anita Heiss, social commentator/author,

              (ix) Mr David Peachey, former NRL footballer, David Peachey Foundation,

              (x) Mr Clyde Thomson, Royal Flying Doctor Service.

        2. That this House congratulates and commends:
            (a) the Country Women's Association on its 90 years of service to the people of New South Wales,

            (b) the Executive Committee of the Country Women's Association for its continuing outstanding service, including:
              (i) State President: Mrs Elaine Armstrong,

              (ii) State Vice Presidents: Mrs Roma Bundock, Mrs Maureen Campbell, Mrs Jill Roughley and Mrs Lois Stalley,

              (iii) State Honorary Secretary: Mrs Jocelyn Cameron,

              (iv) State Honorary Treasurer: Mrs Kaye Anderson,

              (v) State International Officer: Mrs Gail Commens,

              (vi) State Agricultural and Environmental Officer: Mrs Joy Beames, and
            (c) those conferred Honorary Membership of the Country Women's Association (NSW) for their outstanding and inspirational service to society.
    GENERAL PURPOSE STANDING COMMITTEES
    Appointment and Portfolio Responsibilities

    Motion by the Hon. Duncan Gay agreed to:
        That the resolution appointing five general purpose standing committees reflecting Government Ministers' portfolio responsibilities adopted by this House on 12 May 2011, and as amended on 15 March 2012, be further amended to reflect changes to Government Ministers' portfolio responsibilities by inserting "Industrial Relations" in paragraph (a) General Purpose Standing Committee No. 1—Economic Development.
    BUDGET ESTIMATES 2012-2013

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads and Ports) [11.09 a.m.]: I move:
        That paragraph 2 of the resolution referring the Budget Estimates and related papers to the General Purpose Standing Committees for inquiry and report, adopted by this House on 15 March 2012, be amended by omitting from Day Two "Treasury" and inserting instead "Treasury, Industrial Relations".

    The Hon. MICK VEITCH [11.10 a.m.]: I move the following amendment to the motion:
        That the question be amended by omitting all words after "15 March 2012" and inserting instead "GPSC 1 Industrial Relations 9.00 a.m.-11.00 a.m." after the heading: "Day Three: Wednesday 10 October 2012".

    Treasury is clearly an important section of the budget estimates process and it has had four hours set aside for its examination for quite a long time. Putting Industrial Relations together with Treasury will reduce the time allocation for Treasury. An adequate amount of time must be spent on Treasury as well as on Industrial Relations, which is a significant issue. A number of areas needed to be further ventilated in the estimates forum. I looked at extending the session set aside for Treasury by an extra hour but that would pose significant difficulties for the secretariat around luncheons for the staff because they would have to resume at 2.00 p.m. The amendment sets aside a separate period for Industrial Relations: We would still have four hours for Treasury but we would also have time set aside for the important area of Industrial Relations. It is important that adequate time be allocated to both Treasury and Industrial Relations during estimates committee hearings.

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads and Ports) [11.12 a.m.]: The Government opposes the amendment. The Opposition would effectively add two hours to the Treasury hearing, which would make it six hours. Opposition members are being hypocritical. They said that it was so important to have time with the Minister for Finance but now they need extra time with the Treasurer. They did not use their time properly when the hearing was with Finance, and there is no compensating arrangement. Are they saying they want another two hours but they are going to remove two hours from another portfolio's time? This is an absolute stunt and a joke.

    These committees are the masters of their own destiny. Four hours is a long time—and I am led to believe that the time was not used too productively on the last occasion. Members opposite did not get within a bull's roar of laying a glove on the Treasurer; in fact, the hearing deteriorated to trite and silly questions. I will give members opposite a little bit of advice. If they were to tighten up their act and work a bit better they could do pretty well in four hours. Instead they are lax and lazy and slothful. Estimates committees are the masters of their own destiny. The committees have the power to sit again if, at the end of four hours, members opposite believe more time is needed. If members opposite are absolutely desperate about not having been able to ask all their questions, the committees can be reconvened. The Government opposes the amendment.

    Dr JOHN KAYE [11.14 a.m.]: I support the amendment of the Hon. Mick Veitch.

    The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Jeremy Buckingham to order for the first time. I cannot hear Dr John Kaye because of his interruptions.

    Dr JOHN KAYE: These budget estimates committee hearings will seek to explore the last budget brought down by the Treasurer, which contained massive cuts for public education. Schools such as Werris Creek Public School will suffer as a result of these cuts. The least that this House can do is give the children of schools such as Werris Creek Public School the opportunity to have the budget comprehensively examined. To cut an hour out of the Treasury budget estimates committee hearing to look at Industrial Relations is simply wrong. Industrial Relations is a major portfolio. It is not as though the O'Farrell Government has been silent on the issue of industrial relations over the past 12 months. In fact, the budget contains substantial industrial relations implications that need to be comprehensively examined. They should be exposed to a full gamut of investigation by an upper House committee. It is simply not appropriate to shoehorn into one four-hour segment two of the largest features of the O'Farrell Government's policy settings for the past 12 months.

    The Deputy Leader of the Government says we do not deserve more time because we "failed to lay a glove" on the Treasurer last time round. That shows a comprehensive misunderstanding of what budget estimates committee hearings are about. The Minister for Roads and Ports thinks it is about point scoring. It is not; it is about investigating the budget and finding out what happened. Whether the Treasurer's reputation is or is not damaged is irrelevant. What is relevant is the opportunity to examine in detail the estimates contained in the budget, particularly around Treasury and the Industrial Relations portfolio. It is appropriate that the Government created a separate portfolio for Industrial Relations in recognition that it did not have the settings right. This Chamber, through the estimates committees, should have the opportunity to comprehensively examine that portfolio.

    It has been said that we do not need additional time because we did not need it last year when the Industrial Relations portfolio was contained within the Finance and Services portfolio. Those of us who were at the Finance and Services portfolio budget estimates hearings understand that it was a very crowded portfolio. We were not able to do justice to the issues of industrial relations, water and the State Debt Recovery Office. It is good that the pressure has been taken off the Finance and Services portfolio, but to transfer that overcrowding to the crucial issue of macroeconomic and microeconomic policy settings of the O'Farrell Government and grant an inadequate hour to Industrial Relations is simply wrong. If the Government fails to support the amendment of the Hon. Mick Veitch, it shows it is trying to cover up and disguise its failure in its economic and industrial relations policies. The Government should recognise that it is the right of this Chamber to conduct comprehensive examinations in budget estimates committees and it should accept the amendment of the Hon. Mick Veitch.

    The Hon. SOPHIE COTSIS [11.19 a.m.]: I support the amendment moved by my colleague the Hon. Mick Veitch, which, if accepted, will set up a separate time to examine the Industrial Relations portfolio. I acknowledge that for the first time in 18 months this Government has recognised the importance of the Industrial Relations portfolio by creation of a separate portfolio instead of having it in the mix with Finance and Services. This is the first time in more than 100 years that any government in the history of this State has not had a labour Minister or an industrial relations Minister. In the past 18 months I have been inundated by inquiries from employers and employees wanting to know who the Minister responsible for industrial relations is in New South Wales.

    Industrial Relations is a very important economic portfolio because it relates to productivity, workplace relations, new challenges relating to conditions in workplaces and new laws. We must ensure that workplaces, which include small business and medium size businesses, are aware of new industrial relations laws. We need to ensure that for services provided by Crown employees, particularly in rural and regional communities where new services present challenges, we get the settings and conditions right. One of the concerns I have expressed over the past 18 months is that this Government will not answer any questions about industrial relations. I keep telling this Government that 75 per cent of the community and most union members supported the Coalition and voted for the Coalition at the 2011 State election. They are calling for this Government to remove ideology and address the genuine concerns of people in the workplace.

    This Government has capped wages at 2.5 per cent and used this Parliament to destroy negotiation between employers and employees and to cut conditions. The Government applied to the Industrial Relations Commission to vary the Crown employees award and gut the conditions that support the very people who provide the services to our communities, especially remote and regional communities—the communities that need disability support workers, child protection workers and front-line government workers. We must ensure that as a civil society we have the right settings and the right framework to ensure we have the best people working in the New South Wales public service.

    The PRESIDENT: Order! I am having difficulty hearing the Hon. Sophie Cotsis because of the conversation being conducted across the Chamber. The Hon. Sophie Cotsis has the call.

    The Hon. SOPHIE COTSIS: Every decision this Government has made with respect to industrial relations must be examined because every decision this Government makes affects working people and their families. We have had $1.7 billion taken out of Education and $3 billion out of Health. We need to ask the Minister for Industrial Relations how those cuts will affect workers at the coalface, such as cleaners, catering staff, physiotherapists, speech therapists and speech pathologists at our hospitals. How long will waiting times be for children who need those types of support services?

    The Opposition needs to examine the Industrial Relations portfolio in detail. We already know that this Government has a backlog in industrial relations legislation. The Government makes irrational decisions and does not talk to stakeholders or to the people who will be impacted by the legislation. The Opposition has been inundated by inquiries from stakeholders and employers who have questions but who cannot arrange meetings with the relevant Minister to obtain answers. The Opposition and the stakeholders need answers. For that reason I urge members to support the amendment moved by the Hon. Mick Veitch to ensure that there will be two hours within which to examine this Government's bad industrial relations record.

    Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [11.25 a.m.]: As Chairman of General Purpose Standing Committee No. 1 I inform the House that yesterday the committee had a long discussion about this matter.

    The Hon. Walt Secord: We had a very short discussion. I was there.

    Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE: It was a long discussion for that issue at a committee meeting.

    The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Walt Secord will have an opportunity to contribute to the debate. Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile has the call.

    Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE: It is important for the committee to maintain its spirit of unity and cooperation, which is what I like to try to achieve. I have been investigating whether another formula could be adopted to extend the time within which to examine the Industrial Relations portfolio on the day originally set down. The other issue is that we do not know whether the Treasurer, and Minister for Industrial Relations is available on the Wednesday. That is the first question that needs to be resolved. He could be in Canberra or anywhere else. We should defer debate on this motion to enable further discussion to take place on the issue and find a solution.

    Debate adjourned on motion by Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile and set down as an order of the day for a later hour.
    BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
    Conduct of Business

    Motion by the Hon. Duncan Gay agreed to:
        1. That, at 10.30 a.m. on Thursday 20 September 2012, business be interrupted to allow the Minister to move a motion without notice relating to the past practice of forced adoption.

        2. That, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the standing or sessional orders, debate on the motion is to take precedence of all other business on the Notice Paper that day.

        3. That the motion be debated in accordance with the following procedures:

            (a) the Minister moving the motion may speak for not more than seven minutes,

            (b) the Leader of the Opposition or member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition may speak for not more than seven minutes, and

            (c) two crossbench members may speak for not more than five minutes each.
      BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
      Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders: Order of Business

      Motion by the Hon. David Clarke agreed to:
          That standing and sessional orders be suspended to allow a motion to be moved forthwith that Private Members' Business item No. 910 outside the Order of Precedence relating to the violent protests in the Sydney central business district on Saturday 15 September 2012 be called on forthwith.
      Order of Business

      Motion by the Hon. David Clarke agreed to:
          That Private Members' Business item No. 910 outside the Order of Precedence be called on forthwith.
      ANTI-ISLAMIC FILM PROTEST

      The Hon. DAVID CLARKE (Parliamentary Secretary) [11.27 a.m.]: I move:
          1. That this House condemns the violent protest in the Sydney central business district on Saturday 15 September 2012.

          2. That this House notes:

              (a) the valuable contribution of Australian Muslims to the broader community, and

              (b) those Islamic community leaders who have condemned extremist violence.

          3. That this House congratulates the NSW Police Force on their uncompromising response to the public disorder.
      Last Saturday, 15 September 2012, something happened in the centre of the city of Sydney. It happened at a time when thousands of Sydneysiders—men, women and children—were busy shopping, dining, socialising and generally enjoying themselves in a law-abiding manner on a weekend day. Also present would have been many overseas and interstate visitors who were keen on enjoying the wonderful attractions of our great city. But extremist thugs tried to take over the streets of the very centre of our city. They descended upon our city at a time when they knew that large numbers of law-abiding citizens would be around. They gave no notice or warning of what they were about to do. They sought no official permission to use our streets for any meeting, march, or demonstration. They set out to shock and to be as offensive and as disruptive as they could be.

      They were intent on looking for trouble, to provoke trouble and to break the law. They physically assaulted and injured members of our Police Force. They committed numerous other criminal acts of violence. As I said, they tried to take over the streets of the Sydney central business district, but in this they failed. They failed because of the actions of members of our Police Force, who acted with courage and firmness, and they failed because Sydneysiders present at the time did not allow themselves to be intimidated and provoked by these thugs. We can be well pleased and proud of our police. Today we honour and praise them for their steadfastness, their determination and for imposing control in the face of extreme lawlessness and thuggery, and for their uncompromising response.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! Members will conduct their private conversations more quietly.

      The Hon. DAVID CLARKE: Lawlessness and thuggery is certainly what it was. The Sunday Telegraph's front page carried the headline, "Hyde Park, September 15, 2012 Sweet Face of Hatred." Another headline read, "City Shut Down by Violent Mob." Well may the Sun-Herald have posed the question in its front-page headline, "Is this Sydney?" The photo images published were also very revealing. One showed a small boy holding up a poster that read, "Behead all those who insult the Prophet." The caption to the photo read, "This is the photo that will shock Sydney. It shows … a young boy … holding a sign preaching death in Hyde Park." What sorts of parents would allow their young child to hold such a sign? What sorts of parents are these, who preach murder and seek to infect with their perverse preaching their own children? I suspect they are the same types of parents who overseas offer up their children as suicide bombers so they can be used to blow up the children of other parents.

      What sorts of people are these who roam around in our free, democratic and tolerant society encouraging such things? What sort of evil darkness is it that unleashes these proclamations exhorting murder in the middle of Sydney on a sunny weekend? Other posters praised the terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Other photos published were also very revealing. One showed a demonstrator physically attacking a police officer. Another was of a demonstrator rushing to kick a police dog. There were other photo images of one thug trashing a police vehicle. A dozen or more people were injured, including six police officers. Seven people were taken to hospital.

      One Sydneysider who had the temerity to shout at demonstrators, "Shame on you for using religion to advocate for murder" was attacked by a gang of thugs and had to be rescued by police. Police were assaulted with bottles, rocks and pieces of timber. So far, six people have been charged, with police commissioner Andrew Scipione promising that others involved in criminal behaviour will soon be joining them. I have confidence in our police commissioner and I have confidence in our police. They know what they are doing. Were it not for their professional handling of events last Saturday things would have been far worse.

      To those who try to offer excuses on behalf of those who rioted last Saturday, let me say that reasonable people are not buying their whitewash. To those who say those people rioted last Saturday because they feel persecuted, downtrodden, dispossessed or feel that they have had their rights trampled upon by everybody around them, my response is that that is rubbish. Australia is a democracy. It is a country that preaches and practices freedom. We have complete freedom to practice the religion of our choice or not to practice any religion at all provided we recognise the right of others to do the same. Many faith traditions found in this country have more freedom than in the very nations in which they were founded. Those who were involved in the riots of last Saturday have the same rights and privileges as everyone else—and they have the same duties as everyone else as well, and that includes respect for the rights of others and it certainly involves observing the law like the rest of us.

      Australians right across the spectrum repudiate these extremist thugs and what they did in the streets of Sydney last Saturday. The Prime Minister of our nation and the Premier of our State have spoken out, and we in this Parliament need to speak out today also—Government members, Opposition members and members on the crossbench. All law-abiding Australians are saying that we will not be dictated to by extremist thugs. All law-abiding Muslim Australians are saying the same thing. In fact, the response of mainstream Muslim Australia to these extremist thugs has been clear and unambiguous. They are saying, "You do not speak for us. You never have and you never will—not now, not ever." The more that leaders of the mainstream Islamic community speak out at this time, the more it will help solidify that message clearly and unambiguously.

      The message from this Parliament should be loud and clear as well: We do not and never will succumb to thuggery such as that which we saw on the streets of Sydney last Saturday. The people of Sydney and New South Wales will not succumb to it. On behalf of the people of our city and our State the New South Wales police, as they always do, will ensure that criminal thuggery will in the end never, ever triumph. For that we salute them.

      The Hon. WALT SECORD [11.36 a.m.]: I make a contribution to debate on the motion. Over the past few days this matter has been canvassed widely by all sections of the Australian community. We all have our views on the events of Saturday afternoon. My view is informed by my background as someone who first came to New South Wales almost 25 years ago. In the years since, I, like millions of migrants, have built a life beyond my wildest expectations. And I suspect, like almost every one of those millions, I join to condemn the violent protests in Sydney on the weekend. I particularly denounce the attacks on the New South Wales police. There can be no justification for such violence. I also utterly reject and condemn the involvement of children in these protests. Those who wish to break the law and defame the religion of Islam should—at the very least—confine their actions to themselves rather than instilling such perverse hatred in young innocents.

      Of course, having mentioned Islam, I immediately recognise that those at the weekend protest comprise a tiny fraction of the 140,000 Muslims in New South Wales. Indeed, the events of the weekend prompt me to ask whether those at the protest have in any way understood the origins and teachings of their own faith. In my experience, fanaticism like this is never present in those who are truly sincere in their beliefs. Members of this Chamber are aware of my interest in interfaith dialogue. I was proud to assist groups like the New South Wales Chapter of Religions for Peace, which encourages dialogue, tolerance and understanding between the major faiths of the world. In February I hosted the New South Wales chapter at Parliament and I am pleased to support its very noble aims.

      I have never seen other faiths as a threat to my own. As a nominal Christian, I see myself as a person who seeks to better understand and reach out to other faiths. On Sunday night I attended a Rosh Hashanah dinner at the home of Ian and Josie Lacey. With the Laceys and their extended family, we marked the start of Jewish New Year—as we have done on countless occasions. Just last week I reported to the House about my attendance at the annual open day at the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque on 9 September. Like hundreds of other Sydneysiders, I took the opportunity to gain a better insight into and understanding of the Islamic faith. In doing so, I see the commonalities between the three main faith systems—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—which share a common ancestry as the "Abrahamic" religions. I recognise that interfaith dialogue is difficult and at times can be frustrating and challenging. But another people's faith should never be seen as a threat to one's own faith.

      The events and scenes witnessed on the weekend defile the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and the Islamic religion. Those individuals fighting the police simply wish to perpetuate conflict. That is not what Australia is about. We do not judge people by their place of birth or what church, mosque, temple or synagogue they attend. Instead, we say: Show us your ideas, your work, your achievements as these are the only measures in the land of the fair go. As democratic leaders and legislators we must protect this way of life. That includes encouraging Islamic moderates who are committed to Australia and the future. I am heartened by the strong chorus of Islamic voices who have condemned the protests. A friend, Mr Ed Husic, the Federal member for Chifley and the first Muslim to be elected to the Federal Australian Parliament, this week said:
          We need more and more moderate Muslims speaking up against violence as has occurred but more conversations also within communities to build an atmosphere of total zero tolerance for the type of reaction we saw on Saturday.

      I wholeheartedly agree. What we saw on Sydney streets was an expression of an internal conflict within Islam: The eruption of extreme versus the moderate. It is the moderate voices that need to be supported and encouraged to express themselves. While the events of the weekend sadden and depress, I remain entirely convinced that we will continue to build the cohesive and tolerant society that this nation is. Those vandals stand no chance against the millions of Australians who work and live with people of all faiths and who would not have it any other way. They will not buy the message of hate these protesters are pedalling because what Australia offers is so much greater. As a migrant, it is an honour to be able to reflect on that fact in this Chamber of law and democratic rule. I thank the House for its consideration.

      The Hon. TREVOR KHAN [11.41 a.m.]: I speak in debate on the motion with my own perceptions of life and issues of religious intolerance. My grandfather came from a country where hundreds of thousands of innocent people, both Muslim and Hindu, were killed in the name of religion. They butchered each other in a terrible, frightful way in the name of their gods. What we saw on the weekend was truly frightening. Those of us who view Australia as a secular, tolerant and diverse country can only be concerned by the approach and actions, particularly of young men, at the demonstration. I also believe the events of last Saturday offer an opportunity for us all.

      Almost without exception our political leaders, including the Premier and the Prime Minister, have responded in a tolerant and thoughtful way, recognising the need to heal the divisions that self-evidently exist in our society rather than use extreme language. Yesterday in this Chamber the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane spoke in a thoughtful and considered way, conveying how hurt he feels personally and how much hurt the vast bulk of the Islamic community in Australia feels as a result of the riots. The Muslim community fears that the actions of a few last Saturday will alienate it from the broader Australian community, and that is something it does not want.

      As the Hon. Walt Secord commented earlier, 140,000 Muslims live in New South Wales. The vast and overwhelming majority of them live peacefully and happily in our community. They contribute, day in and day out, to their families, their community and the broader Australian community. That is the message I believe can properly flow from what occurred last Saturday. Religious leaders came forward to express their concern and stand shoulder to shoulder with all other Australians expressing their condemnation of what occurred. One such leader is Samir Dandan. Mr Dandan is a strong leader of the Muslim community who was prepared, like the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane, to express his views passionately. That is the positive message that comes out of the incident last Saturday.

      We should as one community embrace the actions of all our leaders—secular leaders, Christian leaders and Muslim leaders—for the way they have responded responsibly to the event. I encourage the debate to continue in an atmosphere of responsibility and tolerance to ensure that what is produced from the violence is ultimately good. All sides of the debate understand the necessity to work to heal the wounds of many in our community that extend back well before the tragedy of 9/11 and to show that at the end of the day we are all Australians. This is a country of true greatness, and that greatness is demonstrated by our tolerance and diversity.

      Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [11.45 a.m.]: I support the motion moved by the Hon. David Clarke. I took the opportunity yesterday to speak on this issue in my adjournment speech as I was unaware the matter would be raised today. My contribution today will be about the video that seems to have been the trigger for the protest on Saturday 15 September 2012. I understand that the video was made by a person in the United States of America, allegedly a person with a Coptic background. It is not known whether that person is a practising Coptic Christian—probably not. Possibly it is someone who came to America from Egypt. The short video was posted on YouTube in 2011. So it has been available for more than a year, but until the riots last Saturday it had been watched by only 35 people.

      The video had no impact until attention was drawn to it. How did that happen? I understand that the Muslim Brotherhood translated the video into Arabic and then showed it on Egyptian television. I believe that was done deliberately to insight a backlash amongst Muslims not only in Egypt but also around the world. There was no need for the Muslim Brotherhood to translate the video into Arabic, thereby making it available to the Arabic-speaking world and increasing its impact. We think they speak English in heaven and I am sure that Muslims think they speak Arabic in heaven. The Arabic language is sacred. To translate the video into the Arabic language increased its impact for the Muslim community.

      I suggest that the only reason the Muslim Brotherhood would translate and broadcast the video is to light a fuse and watch the explosion. It intended to mobilise the Muslim minority regarded as fundamental or radical and incite them to rise up to attack United States embassies and consulates. The person who made the video—who may have come from Egypt—is alleged to be an American and to have made the video in America. America as a nation was an innocent observer and had nothing to do with the video, but it was blamed for it. As far as I can tell, the protests in each country target the primary representative of the United States, whether an embassy or a consulate.

      That was the driving force behind the protest in Sydney: The protesters were endeavouring to attack the United States Consulate General in Martin Place. I have been to the United States Consulate General in Martin Place and it is on level 10; it is not a ground-floor office. So in order to attack the embassy people would have to damage the whole building. Only a few police were on duty when the attacks were launched but they were able to prevent damage to the building and to the United States Consulate General. As I have said, the Consulate General is on level 10 of the building and there is extensive security on that floor, which is also difficult to access. Unfortunately, similar attacks were directed at American embassies around the world. The worst incident was in Libya, where the embassy was attacked and the ambassador captured. I have only just learned that after the ambassador was murdered his body was dragged through the streets as a final act of humiliation and expression of anger against the United States, which had nothing to do with the video.

      I believe the blasphemy law in Australia should have been retained. Even though its original intention may have been to protect the Christian religion and the name of Jesus Christ, the blasphemy law had been interpreted to apply to the religious founder of any religion; there was no distinction in the law. On occasions it had been applied to religious leaders such as Mohammed. Some years ago I remember giving a speech in Parliament in support of the blasphemy law to prevent people blaspheming Mohammed and inflaming Muslims. The blasphemy law should be applied to religious founders of all the major recognised religions, including Mohammed for the Muslim religion, Buddha for the Buddhist religion, Confucius for those who follow Confucianism, and obviously Jesus Christ and God.

      People have strong views about religion—stronger than on any other issue I believe. The issue should be handled with great care, particularly by those who reject religion. People have a right to be atheists but they should recognise that attacks on religious leaders are extremely offensive to their followers, whose faith is deeply ingrained in their mind, body and spirit. People should think about their actions, which is why I have previously supported protests when Jesus Christ has been blasphemed. All blasphemy is offensive, such as the images linking Jesus Christ with a toilet. A similar thing happened during the Muslim protest on Saturday, when a poster was produced showing a photo of the recently deceased Pope Shenouda of the Coptic religion in a toilet. Sadly, it was carried by some young Muslim women, who from the photographs look to be quite intelligent. However, clearly they had no comprehension of how offensive it was.

      It is impossible for people to have a photograph or a painting of Mohammed because such depictions are prohibited under Islam—people have tried to do this in an offensive manner using cartoons. One can imagine how Muslims would react if a portrait of Mohammed was shown in a toilet. The Parliament and the Government should reconsider the blasphemy law, particularly in light of Saturday's protest. The law would have the desired effect of maintaining good order and individuals or organisations would not feel the need to physically take action. Groups or mobs should not feel the need to enforce the law, which is what Muslims were trying to do on Saturday.

      Laws should be enforced by the elected Government and a blasphemy law would give it the necessary power. Like many people, I found Saturday's protest offensive—especially the placards referring to beheading the infidels and references to "yours", meaning Australians, "who die all go to hell" and "ours", meaning Muslims, "all go to heaven" at a time when we are remembering Australian soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan by fundamentalist Muslims. It is a serious issue and should be handled with care. We must not inflame the situation but we must maintain a cohesive Australian society.

      The Hon. JOHN AJAKA (Parliamentary Secretary) [11.55 a.m.]: I support the motion of the Hon. David Clarke. At the outset, I congratulate him on this excellent motion. The motion is short, concise and literally says it all. With the indulgence of the House, I shall read parts of the motion because it can be summarised as follows: It clearly condemns the violent protest. The motion notes the valuable contribution of Australian Muslims to the broader community. It notes also that Islamic community leaders condemn extremist violence and, finally, it congratulates the New South Wales police for their uncompromising response.

      As I said, the motion says it all. Like so many, I was at home with my family when I became aware of the protest as I watched the coverage on television. There was initial shock and outrage. The more I watched the repeated television clips the greater was my initial shock and outrage, but then I became extremely saddened—and I will come to the reasons for that in a moment. I am proud of the NSW Police Force for the manner in which it handled the incident. Our police have much to be proud of. Faced with what can only be described as a dreadful incident, police managed to hold the line, protect officers who were injured, protect people who required protection, and act immediately to dispel further violence. For that, they should be congratulated.

      I was extremely saddened because, like many in this Chamber and in the wider community, it cannot be disputed that the vast majority of the Australian community, including the vast majority of the Islamic community, were also outraged by this demonstration. We know that the vast majority of the Islamic community are hardworking, wonderful Australians who make exceptional contributions to our Australian way of life and to our community as a whole. For most of my life I have lived with those within the Islamic community. I have known them since I was a young child, and I continue to associate and have a relationship with them.

      I have witnessed first-hand that they are no different from me or from all my non-Islamic friends. They have the same values I have, they have the same ambitions I have—and I am happy to admit that—and they have the same desires to ensure that their family members are protected, that their family members are given opportunities and that their family members can enhance their lives. The fact that we all have those opportunities is what makes this country of ours so unique and so wonderful.

      In fact, the only time a number of close Islamic friends of mine—I will mention two by name: Hassan Awada, who was recently elected as a councillor on Sutherland Shire Council, and Gus Balloot, who was recently elected as a councillor on Liverpool City Council—have not taken the position that they are Australian is during the State of Origin football, when the only thing they are interested in is being one of the Blues. They are New South Welshmen who want to see the Queenslanders beaten, and I understand that feeling because I feel that way myself. At all other times they are clearly, first and foremost, Australian.

      I congratulate all sections of the community—Islamic and non-Islamic—on the way they sent a clear message that the behaviour we saw on the weekend will never be tolerated. Politicians, religious leaders—Islamic religious leaders and non-Islamic religious leaders—and community leaders came out with a clear message that such behaviour is not appropriate, that it is not the behaviour of the vast majority of the community and that it will never be accepted. The Hon. Trevor Khan mentioned one of those leaders—Samir Dandan, who I am proud to say is a very good friend of mine. I have known him for many years and have the utmost respect for him.

      This very small minority of people believe that they can commit these unlawful acts and that they are winning in some way. I can assure them that they are not winning. Our community and the vast majority of the Islamic community will never accept their violent behaviour. The community will continually regard them as nothing more than thugs who do not have the interests of the community at heart. They have regard only for their own interests, because if they cared about the community they would never proceed with such actions. Those who preach extreme Islamic views will never be accepted in this State. They will not win; they will fail. The large majority of Australians—not only those of the Islamic faith, but all of us—will never support them.

      As I have said on many occasions in this place, my parents came to this country in the early fifties. They came here so that they could give their children a better life. That was their sole purpose in coming here, and I am convinced of that. It was not just so they would enjoy a better life; their priority was the future of their children. The vast majority of immigrants to this country, including immigrants of the Islamic faith, have exactly the same philosophy and exactly the same aim. Although I say that the small minority who engage in violent behaviour will never win, I still have one area of concern. Sections of our community—in particular, the media—criticise the entire Islamic community for the acts of a few extremists. My message to them is: Please stop it, because all you are doing is encouraging those few extremists to in some way believe that they are now winning because the entire Islamic community will be criticised. That is unacceptable. We should congratulate the Islamic community for its stance against these extremists and in no way criticise it.

      The Hon. Trevor Khan mentioned the contribution yesterday of the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane. I am quite happy to say that first thing this morning I went to the office of the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane and congratulated him on his speech because I was truly moved by it. If we look at the circumstances of the family of the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane and my family we have many identical circumstances. The family of the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane came here for a better life for him and his siblings; my family came here for a better life for me and my siblings. He was raised in Rockdale; I was raised in Rockdale. He attended a Rockdale primary school; I attended a Rockdale primary school. He attended a Kogarah high school; I attended a Kogarah high school. He was a lawyer within the St George area; I was a lawyer within the St George area. We both served on Rockdale City Council.

      But the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane and I accept that we have one fundamental difference, which is something on which we will never agree, but that is our right. That fundamental difference is not the fact that he is of the Muslim faith and I am of the Christian faith; it is that he is Labor and I am Liberal. I use that analogy to demonstrate that those who believe that in some way there is a division between Australians of the Islamic faith and Australians of a Christian faith are very wrong—that division does not exist. The only real division will either be political or in representing the wrong football team—not representing the St George Dragons. They are the only differences that exist in this society—acceptable differences.

      There is a bit of irony in what occurred at the weekend because this afternoon, with co-host the Hon. Barbara Perry, I will be launching the textbook of Peter J. El Khouri, Keeping Up Appearances. One theme of the book is that we should never differentiate between groups in Australia because clearly we are all Australian and we should all be treated equally. To those in a very small minority who think their actions will lead to another course I say that they are wrong; they will never win. We as a whole society will never allow them to win.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [12.09 p.m.]: On behalf of The Greens and as The Greens multicultural spokesperson I speak in support of this motion. The Greens condemn all violence. It is a core principle of our party to support non-violence and it is essential to every position taken by the Greens, whether it be as members of Parliament, as campaigners or as members of our community. The protests this weekend were punctuated by a tragic display of violent behaviour from an extreme minority that is not representative, as we have heard today and from the community, of Australian Muslims. As leaders in this place we must repeat over and again that they were not representative of Australian Muslims. It is extremely important that we categorically support tolerance and Muslims everywhere who are equally appalled by the weekend's events and who will be feeling the weight of judgement applied unfairly and unequally.

      The Greens moved quickly to condemn the violence at this weekend's protest and immediately called for restraint and dialogue. The film that was the stated reason for the protest may well be offensive, insulting and of absolutely no merit either artistically or socially, but to use it as an excuse for violence is totally unacceptable to most Australians and it is also deplorable to most Australian Muslims. It would be a tragedy if a small minority of extremists were allowed to taint community perceptions of a cultural and religious group that has contributed so much to the fabric of Australian society.

      To demonstrate just how unrepresentative of the Muslim world these violent actions were, Muslim community leaders from across the country united to condemn the violent protests. Yesterday in Lakemba at a special media conference the leaders made clear the voice of the majority of Muslim Australians. The Greens congratulate these leaders from the 25 Muslim organisations who met to condemn the violence and to call for no more protests against the anti-Islamic film that has sparked violent riots around the world. In a letter to News Limited papers, Dr Omar Lum, the chairperson of the Islamic Foundation of Australia, said:
          Islam is a religion of peace.

          Provocations have been made on the Prophet Muhammad and Islam throughout history.

          The proper Islamic response has always been the exhibition of patience and enjoining good, despite hostile provocations.

          The violence, destruction and deaths caused by these misguided Muslim extremists in Sydney and around the world have no place in Islamic teachings.

          We strongly condemn the violent and destructive reaction of these extremist Muslims in Sydney and elsewhere.

          We condemn the teaching of hatred and extremist ideas to Muslim children.

      I draw to members' attention an article in The Drum by Dr Ghena Krayem, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, and Mehal Krayem, a writer and PhD candidate at the University of Technology, who had this to say in part:
          The protestors, some of them children, carried signs that proclaimed, 'Behead all those who insult the Prophet', 'Our dead are in paradise. Your dead are in hell' and 'Obama, Obama we love Osama'. This is hardly projecting the image of peace they apparently intended. Conjuring associations with terrorism and barbarism and spreading hatred is contrary to both our democratic beliefs and Islamic values.

          Unless this was an academic exercise in irony, on all accounts protestors missed the mark with their placards, which were at best ill thought and at worst reinforced long-held beliefs that Muslims will never belong.

          It is made even more ironic by the fact that these placards, banners and chants are far from the conduct that befits those who follow in the footsteps of a Prophet who came with a message of peace and mercy. Ultimately they undermine the true message of Islam and the very message the protestors sought to defend.

          But let's be clear, this wasn't simply a protest about a film. It was a protest intended to address years of abuse suffered by the Muslim community and in particular by a section of the community that clearly feels marginalised and disenfranchised. The inconsistent messages on the placards being paraded by protestors were as clear an indication of this as anything could be.
      This brings me to another extremely important point: Where did this anger come from? It is undeniable that elements within what has become a global phenomenon of protest is the disadvantage, discrimination and marginalisation experienced by Muslims in various places around the world, including by some in Australia. I repeat that this is in no way an excuse for the violent behaviour at the weekend, but as leaders we have a responsibility to dig deeper and to truly examine the reasons violence such as this, including riots, occurs. We have a responsibility to future generations of both Muslim and non-Muslim Australians to maximise social cohesion and prevent future unrest. The perpetrators of the violence should be brought to justice, just as the perpetrators of discrimination and intolerance should be exposed, condemned and held to account for their actions.

      I despair at some commentary which has used the weekend's terrible events to attack the very core of multiculturalism in Australia—one of our most significant achievements as a society. Some conservative commentators, including Piers Akerman, have refused to speak out in support of the majority of Australian Muslims, instead choosing to inflame hatred by statements such as the following incredible contribution published by the Daily Telegraph:
          There are decent Muslims, to be sure, but they are fighting a losing battle in the war for civilisation.

      Piers Akerman recently wrote another article with the headline "Muslims show no tolerance for the tolerant". This man is a thought leader in our community. In some ways what do we expect when leaders and commentators preach such intolerance in our mainstream publications. If we are to prevent future events such as this we must take a calm and evidence-based approach to examine the causes and possible solutions. References to humiliated and marginalised Muslim youth are not pandering to violence as some would have us believe, nor is examining the reasons behind extremism in other cultures and in all religions. Yes, extremism exists in all cultures and religions. Dutch member of Parliament and extremist, Geert Wilders, who is awaiting visa approval to visit Australia, has compared the Koran to Mein Kampf. The Greens have called on the Australian Government to reject his application to come into this country to spread his hatred.

      As sickened as we were by the sight of signs that preached hatred and violence on Saturday, we would do well to remember that hatred and violence are not unique to this riot, nor are they unique to the Muslim community. During the Cronulla riots we saw messages such as, "Love Nullah, Fuck Allah", and, "Go home, we're full". We saw hatred in the eyes of both sides of that riot. We most definitely saw fear in the eyes of many of those innocent young men and women deemed to be of Middle Eastern appearance and hence singled out for violent attacks by the mobs on that shameful day. In 2007 two pigs heads were staked at the site of the proposed Islamic school in Camden. One of the pig's heads had an Australian flag on it. In June 2004 a pig's head on a stake was left at the construction site of a Muslim prayer hall in Annangrove.

      We remember other signs filled with hatred and hate speech. I saw one recently which said, "Kill Gillard, Hang Bligh". We also remember the hate-filled signs reading, "Ditch the Bitch", and, "Ditch the Witch". We need to remember that these events do not happen in a vacuum, and that is why I have given examples of signs that we all think are appalling. These riots are of course taking place as riots take place across the globe against the foolish and hateful film, which media reports state a 55-year-old Egyptian-born Coptic Christian from California, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is responsible for. This is an amateurish half hour about "Innocence of Muslims", which mocks the prophet Mohammad. The Greens do not support the riots; however, we do support peaceful protests. We do not support hate speech in any form. We do not support the publication and distribution of this film.

      It is important to remember that despite the majority of people in Sydney and New South Wales condemning racism in all of its forms, as members have said during their contributions, racism is still alive and well around the State. That is why it is critical we do not allow events such as those that happened in Sydney on Saturday to wind back the good work of hundreds if not thousands of members of Muslim communities in New South Wales to promote tolerance and an understanding of shared values between all members of the wider community. The Greens reiterate our commitment and the commitment of all members of this place to a rich and vibrant multicultural Australia. In the wake of the violent protests it is all the more important for us to give voice to that commitment, but as Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale has stated:
          The knee jerk and opportunistic call from some commentators for Australia to shut its doors and 'give intolerance a try' is just as offensive. Both forms of extremism have no place in a modem Australia.

      The Greens categorically condemn the weekend's violence. We call on all Australian political leaders and every member of this Parliament to use their influence to promote tolerance. I call on all members to reject hate speech and violence wherever it occurs, from all sections of the community. Only by doing so can we help prevent events such as those which occurred on Saturday from occurring again.

      The Hon. NIALL BLAIR [12.19 p.m.]: I support the motion moved by the Hon. David Clarke. At the outset I commend him for the wording of the motion, which I think is well balanced, particularly concerning the language that has been chosen. In particular, the motion states that we condemn the violent protest. I tend to disagree a little with the Hon. Cate Faehrmann, who continually referred to the incident as a riot. I believe that a riot was avoided. I believe it was a violent protest. The actions of the NSW Police Force and leaders of the Islamic community prevented the incident from escalating to a riot, the likes of which we have seen throughout the world, even in London. This was a violent protest. The actions of Islamic community leaders and the quick response by the police contained it to just that—a violent protest. It is very important when considering the motion, particularly the language of the motion, to understand that further escalation of violence was avoided.

      The motion refers to the valuable contribution made by Australian Muslims to the broader community. It is also important for us to reflect on that during debate on this motion. Many other members have referred to the contribution by the Islamic community right across the country, which is of critical value. An overwhelming number of stories that many members of this House could cite illustrate how that contribution is for the betterment of this country. One only has to consider some New South Wales regional communities that rely heavily on members of the Islamic community to fill positions that are not very pleasant, particularly in abattoirs, yet those positions are vital to business operations and to opening export markets for business organisations. It is important for us to recognise that throughout regional New South Wales there are some quite large Islamic populations.

      The fact that members of the Islamic community have come out and condemned that violent protest speaks volumes about what we are trying to do in this country. We have allowed people to come here to seek a better life and to contribute positively to the Australian way of life in a way that embraces the values that we adhere to in this country. I have only to reflect on my personal experience when my parents sought to come to this country from Northern Ireland. In the 1970s in particular, and in the 1980s, Northern Ireland was quite a violent country in which many riots and bombings occurred. A lot of terrible things happened, so my parents sought to come to this country to try to get away from that. In doing so they made a conscious decision to leave behind the sectarian differences that existed in Northern Ireland to ensure that my brothers and I were brought up to appreciate what we have in this country and look past some of the differences. The fact that the Islamic community and leaders of that community are striving to achieve exactly that by informing their people and condemning violent protests should be commended.

      I commend the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane, who spoke yesterday in a very considered and emotional address to this House. It was quite evident that he spoke with a very heavy heart. The actions of a few will put such a bitter taste in the mouths of many Australians when they see that footage and some of the banners and will reflect adversely on people such as the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane. It is disappointing. I commend him for his courage and the manner in which he gave his address yesterday. While I certainly do not seek to put myself in his shoes, I grew up in New South Wales in the 1980s. In that era, when I said that my parents were from Northern Ireland the first response was, "You must be a terrorist."

      I do not seek to draw a direct comparison between my experience and the experience of members of the Islamic community, but at that time in this country all we saw of what was happening in Northern Ireland was the terrorist activity such as bombings. We did not see some of the beautiful scenery and the beauty of that culture. We saw only the worst of it. Yesterday when I witnessed the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane give his address I could only take my experience and compound it many, many times over, which is not to underestimate what he and the members of his community must be going through, to appreciate what he must be feeling. I absolutely applaud that the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane and the Islamic community are standing up and condemning this violent protest.

      In conclusion, I wish to address the response of the NSW Police Force to the protest. On the weekend I was in Canberra and I ran into Scott Weber, the President of the Police Association. The Wall to Wall Ride had just been completed in memory of police officers who have lost their lives. I had only just found out about the protest and I had a conversation with Scott. His first reaction and response was, "Yes, there are a couple of injured officers, but the response has been good. We don't think there's going to be a further escalation. The police have things in hand." That was a pretty good summary. We saw that the protest was drawn to a close. The police are now engaged in gathering information and investigating the people who were responsible for the violence.

      The fact that the protest caught so many people by surprise—evidenced by the images of innocent people going about their shopping on a Saturday being caught up in the protest—warranted the response by the NSW Police Force. I definitely believe that the swift and decisive action taken by the police prevented a full-scale riot from breaking out in ensuing days. I express my gratitude and thanks to the police for managing the situation. Other members have discussed other aspects of the motion relating to the protest. My purpose in participating in this debate was to offer my perspective and applaud the Islamic community for condemning such violence. I commend the motion to the House.

      The Hon. HELEN WESTWOOD [12.27 p.m.]: I support the motion moved by the Hon. David Clarke and thank him for bringing this important issue before the House for discussion. As a member of this place, it is absolutely imperative for me to condemn the violence that took place last Saturday. Indeed, I condemn all violence. To my mind, violence is never the resolution of conflict, violence is not an appropriate response to offence, and violence certainly is not the answer to disagreement. I believe that in a pluralist democracy such as Australia's it is important that we resolve our differences through dialogue and non-violent conflict resolution. Initially I found out about the protest from last Saturday's traffic reports. My partner asked me what protest would be taking place because we had not heard of any. Then the social media, as is its wont these days, drew our attention to the protest. The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps is laughing.

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: The social media is a news source these days, is it?

      The Hon. HELEN WESTWOOD: No. Initially it was the radio, but usually if there is going to be a protest, signs are put up around the city so that people will know there will be traffic disruptions and can be guided around them. The police usually put in place measures to ensure that the type of chaos and disruption that occurred last Saturday does not occur during protests. That is why I made the comment that I was not aware of any protest having been planned for last Saturday. Then, like others, I began to see the comments posted in the social media. The comments I first read were from members of the Muslim community, who were mortified that violent action was being carried out in the name of Islam. They strongly objected to it.

      All of the tweets and Facebook entries I read were saying: Not in my name, this is appalling, this is not acceptable behaviour. I too turned on the television to see the images of the protest and also the violence. I found it distressing—but I am sure not as distressing as the family, friends and colleagues of the officer who was injured, seeing his head opened and bleeding and him being dragged away from the melee. That reminds us again what an incredible and difficult job our police officers are asked to do in the name of our community to ensure we continue to live in a safe environment. I put on record my congratulations to the NSW Police Force on the work it did on Saturday in very difficult circumstances.

      This protest seemed to be leaderless. None of the community leaders—those who were identified as leaders of the Islamic community—was supportive of the protest. Some were not even aware that it was occurring. Again it seems the social media was one of the ways in which the message was communicated or the calls put out for people to attend the protest. Out of Saturday's protest some good has come. One of the things I have been pleased to see is the number of not only leaders but also members of the Muslim community coming out and having discussions about what this means for the Muslim community and its relationship with the broader Australian community. We have seen some excellent leadership, particularly from young Muslims. Some came here as young children with their families and others were born here. They have shown great strength and intellect in their capacity to discuss openly the issues they think the Muslim community now needs to take on board that have come out of Saturday's violent protests.

      As someone who has spent most of her adult life in Bankstown and then in Auburn, I have spent a lot of time with the Muslim community. My neighbours are Muslim, as are my friends and colleagues and the community leaders that I worked with while on Bankstown council and while I was mayor. I know how mortified they are. They feel that this incident has taken them back. They have worked so hard to address the difficulties that that community has faced. Some articles have referred to incidents that have caused some younger Muslims a sense of alienation. It started some time ago. I can remember that when the first Iraq war occurred there were incidents of discrimination against young Muslims, which they were concerned about. That was followed by the horrendous events of 9/11 and the second Iraq war. Locally we had the gang rapes and the awful Cronulla riots. All of these things placed focus on the Muslim community. Often members of the community felt they were bearing the weight for the terrible actions of a few.

      That was acknowledged by the community and then strong community leaders came out and established those interfaith groups. We have some excellent examples of organisations that have advanced interfaith dialogue. A good example that comes to mind is the United Muslim Women Association, which has shown great leadership in particular areas, established community projects supporting the broader community. Those people thought they were making great advances and, hopefully, turning around the negative stereotypes about the Muslim community. They would all acknowledge that the events of Saturday have taken that back a long way. I could see the pain on their faces when they were facing the media the other day, and even in their comments in the social media. We should be thankful that we have community leaders who are willing to accept responsibility for overcoming what happened on Saturday and to work together to ensure we do not see a repeat of those violent protests.

      A number of hash tags have appeared in the social media in the last few days. It started on Saturday with Muslims against violent Sydney protests [MAVSP], and then yesterday and last night the hash tags were turning into: Smile at a Muslim; Talk to a Muslim. It has been amazing. The Muslim community is not a homogeneous group. People come from different ethnic backgrounds. Some people are quite secular in the way they express their Islamic faith; others are far more conservative. We have seen people from the whole range of the Australian Muslim community speaking on behalf of the Muslim community or speaking about being a Muslim or speaking about being an Australian. That is a healthy development and I hope it will help to break down some of the negative stereotypes about Muslims in our community. But I totally accept that the actions of a few last Saturday work absolutely against that. What they did by their violent actions and words was to enforce those stereotypes. They have now given the leaders of the community a difficult job to turn things around.

      I hope we never see a repeat of that violence. As Australians, whatever our heritage or whatever faith we practice, or whether we have a faith, it is important that we all value the pluralist nature of our democracy. As part of that we should also acknowledge that freedom of speech is something we value. People can say things that you find offensive. I was completely offended by the comments of Senator Cory Bernardi last night comparing my relationship to bestiality. I am deeply offended, but do I have the right to respond violently? Absolutely not. My response has to be through words and political action, not through violent action.

      I particularly commend all those leaders of the Muslim community who have come together to acknowledge that the violence on Saturday was unacceptable and to do whatever they can to work together to turn around the attitudes of those people who participated in that violence, and also to turn around the negative stereotypes that were portrayed and reinforced on Saturday about the Muslim community. I also acknowledge my colleague the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane. Shaoquett, being the first Muslim in the New South Wales State Parliament, really felt the pain of Saturday. He has worked hard to represent the Muslim community in many political contexts to ensure that its views are heard in this Parliament. I know that he was deeply disappointed with the behaviour of those few on Saturday. He displayed great courage in speaking yesterday on behalf of the Opposition. I commend him for that.

      Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [12.40 p.m.]: On behalf of The Greens I also speak to the motion of the Hon. David Clarke. I state from the outset that the contributions from all members for the most part have been extremely thoughtful, balanced and careful. I particularly note the contributions of the Hon. Niall Blair, the thoughtful contribution of my colleague Cate Faehrmann, yesterday's contribution by the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane and that of the Hon. Trevor Khan. I believe they tried to alleviate some of the hurt and pain, but also looked for some positive ways to address in the coming week, months and years the concerns about what happened in a non-partisan fashion on which we can all agree as elected representatives. On Saturday night after The Greens NSW became aware of what had occurred I made the following statement:
          The NSW Greens have condemned today's violent protests on the streets of Sydney and called on all members of the community to support restraint and dialogue and to reject intolerant messages and violent behaviour in our society.

          The Greens NSW condemn the violence we have seen on Sydney's streets today and the intolerant messages of hate and violence that accompanied it.

          If we are to have a successful and engaged multicultural community we cannot tolerate intolerant and violent behaviour by any group.

          It is clear that only a minority of today's protestors engaged in violence but this in no way excuses the behaviour.

          The film they were protesting may well be offensive, insulting and of no artistic or social merit, but this can never justify violence or messages of hate.

          There is no place in our democracy for anyone initiating violence against the police or diplomatic missions.

          The Greens join with those members of the community who support restraint and dialogue and reject intolerant messages and violent behaviour.
      I made that statement on behalf of The Greens NSW only a week after I attended the open day at the Gallipoli Mosque at Auburn. It was a wonderful moment when members from the broader community saw the day-to-day workings of a mosque—probably the biggest mosque in Sydney—and how the members of the Muslim faith peacefully worship their God. It was an enormously peaceful and positive event that attracted people from across Sydney. Not only The Greens members attended: I saw and greeted the Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones and the Hon. Barbara Perry from the other place, and Federal members of Parliament and a series of councillors from different political parties also attended.

      We saw a happy, functioning and well-integrated community with its own faith. I do not share that faith, nor do I share the faith of the Hon. David Clarke, but in our society we have the freedom to choose our faith and respect our gods, if we have them, in a non-violent and peaceful fashion. Anyone who goes to the Gallipoli Mosque will see, as I saw, a tolerant and peaceful community with a respectful relationship with their God and their faith which is a credit to New South Wales and Australia. The phrasing of paragraph 3 of the motion causes some unease. It states:
          3. That this House congratulates the NSW Police Force on their uncompromising response to the public disorder.
      I support public sector workers and their right to go to work without being subjected to any kind of violent assaults. No doubt a number of police who went to work on Saturday were subjected to totally unacceptable violence for doing their job of protecting the United States consulate. They did their job courageously, but it was not with some kind of uncompromising response. They did their job as required under law: with proportionate force. The Greens will support police when they use proportionate force in response to violent protest. The Greens do not support uncompromising responses from the police. It is unfortunate language that has found its way into the motion. It does not take from the overall spirit of the motion, which is intended to support police going to work and returning safely.

      The motion supports the valuable contribution of Australia's Muslims and their broader community and condemns violent protests. The Greens support the proportionate use of force in response to illegal violence and do not support the unfortunate language used in paragraph (3) of the motion. Many members of this House have made contributions to what this motion means and how in the coming days, weeks and months we can respond to the events of last Saturday. Today's Sydney Morning Herald published an excellent contribution from Mohamad Tabbaa, who is a PhD candidate in law and criminology at the University of Melbourne. I thought his remarks were quite insightful about perhaps what we all should do from today onwards, that is, to engage with the youth for a change and speak to them rather than about them.

      The Hon. RICK COLLESS [12.46 p.m.]: I too offer my support for the excellent motion of the Hon. David Clarke regarding the unfortunate incidents that occurred last Saturday. I believe that Australia is a tolerant and forgiving society and one in which people enjoy free speech. Those who live in Australia are not threatened by freedom of speech. They enjoy some aspects and disagree with others but, importantly, we all enjoy that freedom of speech from time to time. On Saturday we saw actions and activities by what could only be described as a minority of Muslims who live in Australia who hold some extremist views about a video put together by an individual that really was a pathetic attempt at religious satire. Nonetheless, it was an issue about freedom of speech. Over the years many attempts have been made at religious satire, many of which, of course have been directed at various Christian faiths.

      The Hon. Duncan Gay: The Life of Brian.

      The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I will talk about The Life of Brian shortly. Many images on Saturday were highly offensive to me, as I am sure they were to many others. In particular, I cannot comprehend as a parent and grandparent why a young child would be allowed to hold the placard displaying those words that everyone saw. How could any parent allow their child to hold such a placard? Religious satire is nothing new. In medieval times I understand that court jesters were often the king's closest advisers. Often they used religious satire to cheer up their kings when needed. As the Minister for Roads and Ports pointed out, the Monty Python film The Life of Brian probably is one of the best-known religious satires. When it was released in 1979 it was accused of blasphemy. Many religious groups around the world were insulted by it, but those groups did not resort to violent protests to get across their message of disagreement with the film.

      They certainly did not involve themselves in the riotous behaviour such as we saw last Saturday. I sincerely congratulate those Islamic leaders who immediately came out and condemned the graphic violence we saw on Saturday. I congratulate the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane on his address to the Parliament yesterday on behalf of peace-loving Muslims that are critical of the minority that did those terrible deeds on Saturday. I congratulate the NSW Police Force on quelling and controlling the irresponsible activities of that minority in a tense situation. I congratulate the Hon. David Clarke on moving the motion before the House. I commend the motion to the House.

      The Hon. NATASHA MACLAREN-JONES [12.50 p.m.]: I support the motion moved by the Hon. David Clarke and thank him for moving it. It condemns the violence that occurred on Saturday and acknowledges the contribution of Australian Muslims to the broader community and the Islamic community leaders who have condemned extreme violence. I strongly support the third point of the motion and congratulate the police on their uncompromising response to the violence. I place on the record my disgust at the acts of violence by this small minority of extremists. I understand that there were only 100 protesters present on Saturday, which is not a reflection of the half a million Muslims in Australia. Those protesters are a minority and a fringe extremist group who use provocative behaviour to get attention. They use violence, deliberately damage property and physically hurt others who do not share their views.

      Australia is a tolerant nation but that behaviour is unacceptable and has been rejected by all Australians, including the majority of the Islamic faithful. What is most frustrating about the acts of violence last Saturday is the waste of resources by the police in having to control the protesters. Yes, they are doing their job but to do so they have to put their lives at risk to save others, particularly innocent victims that are caught up in violent acts. I, like many Australians, was shocked to hear and see the images of the protestors, injured police and innocent victims. I call them victims because they were unfortunately caught up in the acts of these criminals who deliberately set out to cause problems. There is a right to protest and demonstrate in Australia and I respect that right but we cannot tolerate that right being abused.

      I attended the twelfth annual Auburn Gallipoli Mosque open day, as did Mr Shoebridge. I understand that throughout the day there were 3,000 visitors to the mosque, many not Muslim. A number of guests were from community groups and State Parliament. I acknowledge a great speech given by Craig Laundy, the Liberal Party candidate for Reid. Mr Laundy talked about and highlighted the strength of the nation as shown through its people. He acknowledged all Australians for coming together to celebrate events such as the open day. Mr Laundy encouraged people to take pride in their heritage and to use every opportunity to educate others.

      Australia is a fortunate—and some say a lucky—country. However, I do not believe it is luck. It is through hard work that we have made Australia a great country. We are privileged to live in a nation that has not had any need to fight for its freedom. Our history is shaped by waves of immigration and not by our battles. The incident last Saturday has shaken our culture and abused our country's goodwill. The Liberal Party recognises and values the multicultural nature of our State and nation. The Liberal party philosophy is to encourage all in our diverse communities to maintain and take pride in their own cultural traditions whilst embracing the Australian culture. We must capitalise on the diversity of our great State by valuing its resources—our people—whilst condemning acts of violence that drive hatred and division. I commend the motion to the House and thank the Hon. David Clarke for moving the motion.

      The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN (Parliamentary Secretary) [12.55 p.m.]: I congratulate the Hon. David Clarke on moving this motion in the House. The motion is important because people are frightened: they fear for the welfare of our country. They fear that the values that are enshrined in our Australian way of life are under threat. They are aware that there are extremists in our midst who preach hate and violence against our democratic way. Many were reminded of the depth of this hate when they saw a child holding a placard calling for Muslims to behead all those that insult the prophet. Putting aside that nobody in Australia has insulted the prophet, they know it is not an idle threat: the community has witnessed on television Western hostages being beheaded.

      Next month we will commemorate the death of 88 Australians who were assassinated in Bali by a bomb. Australians are justified in perceiving the threat to the Australian way of life. Australians fear an assault from left-wing apologists if they dare to speak out, and seethe over the fact that they will be branded racist and those who provide them with a forum to express their fear and disgust are branded as shock jocks. Apologists have mobilised to warn people how they will be treated in the media by the so called intelligentsia if they dare speak out. I would like to record in Hansard an article in the Australian today by Julian Hare. The article entitled "Academic 'vilified for Islam scrutiny'" reads:
          Mervyn Bendle is an educated man. He has eight tertiary qualifications including a PhD in comparative religion and degrees in history, social theory, education and urban sociology, among others.

          In a world that above all should venerate the life of the mind, the Townsville-based academic has spent most of the past 11 years "in Coventry".

          "I am seen as pariah," he says. It began 11 years ago today, a week after 9/11, when Dr Bendle wrote an article in The Australian calling for "academics from relevant disciplines to pool knowledge and expertise to offer comprehensive analysis of the immediate and long-term effects of the crisis."

          His call to intellectual arms was ignored. "I found either absolute apathy or outright hostility", he said.

          "There's an overwhelming resentment and hatred of America (among many academics). It's a mentality that the enemy of our enemy must be our friend. If Islamists are attacking America, they should have our sympathy."

          Dr Bendle now says the notion of academic freedom is a myth. "There are certain ideological no-go zones. It's the same with indigenous affairs."

          He says he is neither pro United States nor anti Islam. "I draw a difference between Islam, which is one of the world's great religions, and Islamism, a political ideology based on Islam which makes truth claims which are used to mobilise Muslim masses around the world."

          He also has a problem with left-wing academics who view terrorism through a post-modernist lens and see it as a "social construct" and "signifier in a discourse" and "not primarily as an act of murderous violence."
          Along the way, Dr Bendle has taken aim at the Australian Defence Force Academy, trashing its journal for its theories of terrorism, which he describes as "naive in the extreme".

          He's also had a go at the academy for its lack of interest in the subject over the past 11 years and for its simplistic default position of "class, sex, race" to explain the rise of terrorism.

          "Academics are basically moralisers. They are not prepared to make the intellectual investment to study these complex topics. It's much easier for them to fall back on settled, conventional, politically correct positions which are widely shared and immune to criticism."

          Academic freedom is enshrined in legislation in Australia, but legal expert George Williams from the University of NSW said it was of little use in most situations.

          "Those laws can't respond to cases such as this," Professor Williams said. "The legislation was designed to devolve responsibility to the university. It requires universities to ensure they have policies and procedures in place to protect their staff from attacks on academic freedom."

          In Dr Bendle's case, his employer, James Cook University, did that.

          He won a WorkCover claim in 2004 after ongoing "harassment and vilification" by academics led to depression.

          He moved departments and found a greater level of acceptance, "but the prolonged series of attacks on me for engaging in public debate about Islam and Islamist extremism has seriously damaged my health, and I have chosen to take an early retirement".

          His career in academe will end in December.
      [The President left the chair at 1.02 p.m. The House resumed at 2.30 p.m.]

      Pursuant to sessional orders business interrupted at 2.30 p.m. for questions.

      Item of business set down as an order of the day for a later hour.
      QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
      __________
      WORKCOVER PRIVACY PROTOCOLS

      The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: My question is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services. When injured workers speak to their WorkCover caseworker are they informed of their legal rights and must they give express consent for information to be used publicly?

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: As the Leader of the Opposition knows, our WorkCover scheme—which is the scheme introduced by the Labor Government—works through a series of scheme agents. The scheme agents are very reputable insurance companies that have guidelines prepared by WorkCover and operate with the injured workers who, unfortunately, have to utilise their services. We are working on improving the contracts with those insurance companies because the Labor Government ignored them and did not do anything to ensure that the focus was on getting the best possible outcome for injured workers.

      We are continuing to work through WorkCover to improve those contracts, to improve service delivery by those agents and to ensure that we deliver the best possible outcomes for injured workers—that is, getting them back to work as soon as possible or assigning care to those injured workers who, regrettably, cannot return to work. As I indicated yesterday, as part of our reforms we have increased the payments to seriously injured workers who cannot go back to work. The mob opposite were happy to leave the most seriously injured workers on the drip-feed of the statutory rate—the rate that the previous Government thought was appropriate—of $432.50 a week.

      The Hon. Luke Foley: Point of order: I have been patient; I have listened to the Minister in silence for more than half his allocated four minutes—

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I ask the Leader of the Opposition to succinctly state his point of order.

      The Hon. Luke Foley: The Minister's answer is not generally relevant to a question about the public disclosure of discussions between an injured worker and his or her caseworker.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! The Minister should be generally relevant in his responses.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: As we saw during the WorkCover reform debate, that mob on the other side dragged injured workers into Parliament and used them as props. They are the disgusting lengths they will go to. The Labor Government forced the most seriously injured workers to survive on virtually nothing and did nothing about it. Then Labor in opposition used injured workers as props. Those opposite should be ashamed of themselves—especially the Hon. Walt Secord.

      The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister elucidate his answer with respect to whether express consent must be given for the public use of discussions between an injured worker and his or her WorkCover caseworker?

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Point of order: That is simply a repetition of the original question and should be ruled out of order.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I rule the question out of order because it restates the original question.
      OPERATION JAVELIN

      The Hon. TREVOR KHAN: My question is addressed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Will the Minister inform the House on the success of the police in making our public transport network safer?

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I thank the Hon. Trevor Khan for his ongoing interest in public transport. What a wonderful question. On Monday 16 July the NSW Police Force commenced Operation Javelin—a high-visibility policing operation targeting crime and antisocial behaviour across the New South Wales public transport network. Each Police Transport Command sector dedicated significant resources to Operation Javelin in line with strategic operational strategies. These strategies include a focus on peak community hubs within the greater metropolitan network, deployment on trains during peak periods, and community and media engagement.

      At the conclusion of Operation Javelin on 31 August, 707 people had been searched, 75 people had been arrested and 112 charges had been laid for various offences such as drug possession, assault, possession of an illegal weapon and goods in custody. In addition, 1,386 infringement notices were issued for a variety of offences, including fare evasion. That is a fantastic result for an operation that lasted just over a month. When the Police Transport Command was launched in May this year I said that a well-led, dedicated police command with a full complement of police powers would increase our ability to combat crime on the public transport network. The results of Operation Javelin are testament to this.

      Each day commuters travel on buses, ferries and trains to go to work, to travel, to see events or simply to catch up with family and friends, and they should be able to feel safe and secure whilst doing so. During Operation Javelin officers from the Police Transport Command patrolled more than 1,190 trains, conducted searches and inspections on 191 buses and four ferries, and spoke to 107 taxi drivers. Their objectives were and are clear: to keep commuters safe and to catch and challenge those who think they can break the law on our public transport system. The results of Operation Javelin are proof that this is being achieved, and it is another example of a strategic approach being undertaken by the Police Transport Command to address crime on the public transport network and to reassure public transport customers.

      The successful work of the Police Transport Command also highlights that offences on the transport network extend far beyond people not buying a ticket. The deployment of officers on the network provides more effective policing and security coverage than the use of transit officers. The deployment is being well received. Police officers have greater powers and capability than transit officers and can investigate and prosecute the whole spectrum of criminal offences. Some public transport routes are well-known crime corridors. The presence of police on those networks assists to reduce criminal activity throughout the community.

      The Government is aware that the visible presence of police is the best deterrent when it comes to crime throughout our public transport system. The success of operations such as Operation Javelin in detecting and charging offenders has sent a very clear message to anyone thinking of misbehaving or conducting criminal activities on public transport: Antisocial and criminal behaviour on the public transport network will not be tolerated. Genuine customers of our public transport network can be assured that through regular patrols the transport command is maintaining the expected level of safety and security to prevent incidents when they can and ensure that offenders are brought to justice. All this has taken place in the face of the Opposition not believing they should be there.
      WORKCOVER PRIVACY PROTOCOLS

      The Hon. ADAM SEARLE: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services. What protocols are in place for injured workers to protect their personal sensitive health information when dealing with the Minister's agency WorkCover?

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I am happy to take that question on notice and I will provide the protocols.
      NALTREXONE IMPLANTS

      Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, representing the Minister for Health. Will the Minister state the detailed nature of any objections to the use of naltrexone implants in New South Wales, which has had success in Dr George O'Neil's clinic in Perth and now receives $2.5 million in funding from the Western Australian Liberal Government?

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I will seek an answer from the Minister for Health as the member has requested. I will report back to him as soon as I have received that answer.
      PINCH POINT PROGRAM

      The Hon. JOHN AJAKA: My question is addressed to the Minister for Roads and Ports. Will the Minister update the House on the New South Wales Government's Pinch Point program?

      The Hon. Penny Sharpe: We've seen this. Do we need to hear it again?

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: Members opposite have seen it but they did not learn about it. They look but they do not take anything in. I thank the honourable member for his question. As I have previously advised the House, the New South Wales Government has extended the successful Pinch Point program to 11 new sites across Sydney. To recap for members opposite who probably were not listening because they talk too much, the $17.5 million program aims to improve traffic flow at key congestion points on major arterial road corridors. Once again, the New South Wales Government is delivering. Unlike those opposite, we are not delaying projects year after year; we are getting them done right now so that Sydneysiders can get the maximum benefit.

      The program is intended to deliver an increase in capacity at problem locations, resulting in reduced delays and more reliable and consistent travel times during the critical commuter peaks. They are commonsense small projects that are intended to help people on a daily basis. Importantly, it is estimated that nine of the 11 planned projects will be completed by the end of this year. Projects include the F3 off-ramp onto the Pacific Highway, where we are widening the southbound ramp to provide three left-turning lanes. This work is expected to be completed by Christmas.

      Not only will this help Central Coast commuters get home quicker each day, but it will also assist holiday-makers get to the beautiful Hunter region—as the Hon. Mike Gallacher knows—for a weekend away. At the intersection of the Cumberland Highway and Hume Highway widening work is taking place to increase the capacity of the intersection. That is so Corncob Joe can get that big yank tank around. The project is expected to be opened to traffic in early December. On Campbelltown Road at the Hume Highway, Casula, the extension of right-turning lanes will benefit through traffic on the highway. Work is expected to be completed next month.

      Improvements are happening quickly and people will be able to experience the benefits almost immediately. Work is also taking place on Parramatta Road, Concord Road and the Hume Highway. The 11 projects are not large-scale roadworks but they are every bit as important to reducing congestion. Where we can spend millions instead of billions to improve traffic flow it is financially prudent to do so. We will not stop there. The Roads and Maritime Service is currently working on the development of future Pinch Point projects, including investigations along Pennant Hills Road, James Ruse Drive, Canterbury Road, Henry Lawson Drive, Woodville Road, and Taren Point Road.

      For 16 years Labor members showed contempt for the people of New South Wales. They failed to deliver the infrastructure upgrades needed on our roads. We inherited a financial mess and infrastructure backlog from those opposite. The Liberal-Nationals Government is working hard to rectify the neglect of the former Labor Government and to reduce congestion on our roads.
      WORKERS COMPENSATION SCHEME

      Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services. On 6 September the Minister answered my question without notice, which asked what he was doing to resolve the problems regarding costs in the workers compensation system by stating that he would be making a statement on the matter next week. Given that the Minister failed to make any statement on that matter last week, will the Minister advise the House what he and his Government are doing to address the problem?

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I did say that and at the time I had hoped to be able to make a statement that week. I apologise to the honourable member for not being able to make the statement.

      Mr David Shoebridge: To the House.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: And I apologise to the House. However, work has continued and I will be making a statement very soon.

      Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister elucidate his answer by describing what action he has taken to date and what the thrust of the reforms will be?

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I will be making a statement very soon.
      CHILD PROTECTION CASEWORKERS

      The Hon. SOPHIE COTSIS: My question is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services, representing the Minister for Family and Community Services. On the Department of Family and Community Services website an advertisement for caseworkers refers to staff as "front-line" and includes leave loading among employment conditions. How does the Minister expect the Government to recruit new child protection caseworkers when it is cutting their wages?

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: We have no trouble recruiting. Members on that side of the House might not have noticed. I think some of them might be suffering from "loss of job" syndrome.

      The Hon. Duncan Gay: Or can't get a job.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Or "can't get a job" syndrome. We have no trouble recruiting, in spite of being left with an absolute financial basket case and a public sector that was thoroughly demoralised because of 16 years of Labor nepotism. We are recruiting extra nurses and teachers.

      The Hon. Michael Gallacher: Extra cops.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: We are recruiting extra police officers. We are inundated with wonderful people who want to work for the Government.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Sophie Cotsis to order for the first time.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: We are inundated with wonderful people who see the work we are doing to improve conditions for the public sector.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Sophie Cotsis to order for the second time.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: We have introduced the Public Service Commissioner to improve standards, education and work conditions for the public service. We respect our workers and we are looking after them. That is unlike the union mob and the union backers on the other side of the House who spent their entire time lining their own pockets. Do not forget The Greens. What is David Shoebridge worried about? Legal costs from his workers compensation practice.

      The Hon. Penny Sharpe: Point of order: The Minister is making imputations against members of this House. He is also being completely irrelevant to the question of how he is going to fill child protection caseworker vacancies when he is cutting their pay.

      Mr David Shoebridge: To the point of order: I personally took offence at the Minister imputing my motives for standing up for getting some fair legal costs in workers compensation. He has now said it twice to the House.

      The Hon. Duncan Gay: Are you still practising?

      Mr David Shoebridge: I am not still practising. He said it was for my private practice. If the Minister wants to make those kinds of imputations against my character he can do it on the street outside but he cannot—

      [Interruption]

      It is offensive and it should not come from the Minister.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I did not hear the Minister's words. Under the standing orders a member must find the words offensive. I invite the Minister to withdraw the imputation to which Mr David Shoebridge has taken offence.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I would withdraw if there was an imputation.

      The Hon. Greg Donnelly: "Lining your pockets" you said.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I simply said that your union mates were lining their pockets.

      Mr David Shoebridge: Further to the point of order: I ask that you review my complaint on the receipt of Hansard because the Minister's comments twice now have been deeply offensive and just then he misrepresented what he said in the House.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I will give that matter further consideration. The Minister has concluded his answer.

      Later,

      The PRESIDENT: Order! Earlier in question time when the Hon. Greg Pearce was giving an answer to a question asked by Mr David Shoebridge, Mr David Shoebridge raised a point of order on the basis of an imputation that he claimed had been made about him. From my review of the transcript of the proceedings it is clear that the Minister did make an imputation about Mr David Shoebridge. Accordingly, as the Minister made an imputation, I call him to order for the first time. The Minister also misled the Chair, and for having done so I call him to order for the second time.

      The Hon. Mick Veitch: Just hand all your Dorothy Dixers to someone else, Greg.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Mick Veitch to order for the first time.
      ILLAWARRA WATER INFRASTRUCTURE

      The Hon. MATTHEW MASON-COX: My question is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services, and Minister for the Illawarra. Will he update the House on the progress of servicing arrangements for West Dapto?

      The Hon. Adam Searle: Have you been to West Dapto?

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I am often at West Dapto. I thank the Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox for that question.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I cannot hear the Minister because there is so much conversation in the Chamber. The Minister has the call.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I inform the House that the environmental assessment of Sydney Water's $225 million plan to expand services in the West Dapto region has been put on display. The environmental assessment is a key step in Sydney Water's proposal to provide drinking water and wastewater services to the West Dapto urban release area and adjacent growth areas. Those areas are located approximately 15 kilometres south-west of Wollongong within the Wollongong city and Shellharbour local government areas. The water and wastewater services are essential to allow those areas to be developed in line with the New South Wales Liberal-Nationals Government's strategy to provide for future growth in the Illawarra region.

      Through this essential project Sydney Water plans to provide water and wastewater services to 30,000 new homes and nearly 500 hectares of non-residential development over the next four decades. This will cater for population growth and employment generation in the Illawarra region up to 2048 or thereabouts. Timing of servicing will be in stages following Sydney Water's growth servicing plan. This plan takes in Kembla Grange, Sheaffes-Wongawilli and West Horsley, Cleveland, Avondale, Yallah-Marshall Mount, Calderwood, Tallawarra Lands and Tallimba Village. The proposal includes the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a significant body of infrastructure, including 80 kilometres of new drinking water pipelines, 45 kilometres of new wastewater pipelines, one new drinking water pumping station and five new drinking water reservoirs, three new wastewater pumping stations and an upgrade of three existing wastewater pumping stations.

      The proposal also includes potential upgrades to the Wollongong water recycling plant and the Shellharbour wastewater treatment plant. Sydney Water's proposal for those areas will provide a range of social and economic benefits, including a secure water supply, reticulated wastewater that protects public health, and protection of catchment and river health. Most importantly, it will provide affordable and efficient water and wastewater services to meet the Government's development time frames and support the orderly rollout of land releases and infrastructure. In developing its proposal, Sydney Water considered the potential environmental, social and economic impacts and consulted with government and non-government stakeholders. It assessed a variety of options to ensure that its proposal is safe, reliable and sustainable.

      Sydney Water is working closely with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, local councils, the Illawarra Urban Development Committee and other stakeholders while developing the proposal. There will be public information sessions on 22 September and 20 October at Centenary Hall, Albion Park, and Dapto Leagues Club respectively. Interested stakeholders and members of the public will be able to view the environmental assessment until 29 October or at the internet site majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au. This is another example of the New South Wales Liberals and The Nationals delivering on our commitments and providing better services for the residents of the Illawarra and the people of New South Wales.
      INCOME MANAGEMENT SCHEME

      The Hon. JAN BARHAM: My question is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services, representing the Minister for Family and Community Services.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I cannot hear the Hon. Jan Barham's question because Mr David Shoebridge is shouting across the Chamber. I ask him to refrain from doing so while a question is being asked.

      The Hon. JAN BARHAM: Given that the Federal Government has revealed that only 71 people are participating in the Federal Government's income management scheme in five trial sites across the country, including Bankstown, will he advise how many of those participants are from New South Wales? How many were referred to the scheme by staff from the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services? How many volunteered for the scheme?

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: That is a good question. I heard that report on the radio this morning too. I do not have any personal knowledge of the numbers, but I can say it is indicative of the Federal Labor Government under Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan. They are the most incompetent Labor Government this country has ever seen—except of course for the Labor governments that have been removed in New South Wales.

      Mr David Shoebridge: Point of order: My point of order relates to relevance. By definition, everything the Minister says is irrelevant when he begins his answer by saying he has no knowledge.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! There is no point of order. Does the Minister have anything else generally relevant to add?

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I will be delighted to obtain for the Hon. Jan Barham the detailed information.
      PACIFIC HIGHWAY UPGRADE

      The Hon. STEVE WHAN: My question is directed to the Minister for Roads and Ports. Yesterday he told the House:
          Let me make it clear up front. The promise of 2016 was the Prime Minister's promise. No matter what weasel words members opposite use, no matter how they twist and turn, that was a "ranga" promise ...
      The Premier promised the people of New South Wales on 8 March 2011 when he said:
          Only the NSW Liberals and Nationals are committed to completing the upgrade of the Pacific Highway by 2016.
      Yesterday did the Minister mislead the House by ignoring the comments of the Premier?

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: The short answer is no. The long answer is no. There was one person who said "2016". We have always said that we would work to adhere to the Prime Minister's promise of 2016. I must say in good faith that that certainly would have been achievable if the Labor Party and Anthony Albanese had not removed the money. The Hon. Steve Whan and his Labor mates deserted the people of regional New South Wales, and in particular the people who live along or near the Pacific Highway. I am pleased to receive this question because it allows me to talk about the Business Chamber's support for the Federal Coalition's pledge on the Pacific Highway. It is in no doubt about how good this is.

      The Hon. Steve Whan: Point of order: My point of order is on relevance. I asked the Minister a specific question about his misleading of the House yesterday. He has just told us that he has already answered the question to the best of his ability and now he is going on to something completely different.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! The member knows full well that he is making a debating point, not taking a point of order. There is no point of order.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: Let us be clear: The reason the Hon. Steve Whan is on the losers lounge is that he has not listened to the people of the State.

      The Hon. Greg Donnelly: Point of order: The Minister knows that members in this Chamber sit on a bench, not a lounge. He knows better and he should not use that term in this House.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! The member has made his point. I have made a number of rulings on this issue. There is no point of order.

      The Hon. Catherine Cusack: Point of order: My point of order is that members opposite are interrupting the Minister by taking improper points of order. That is against the standing orders. I ask that you name the members for being disorderly by abusing the standing orders in that way.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I assure the member that if I think members are taking frivolous points of order I will call them to order.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: Let us be clear on this matter. We have two different scenarios. The first is that a Federal Coalition Government will provide enough money to finish the project, and the second is that the current Federal Labor Government reneged on a deal. With regards to a completion date, I would not be asking questions about that if I was within a bull's roar of the Labor Party because the behaviour of the Federal colleagues of those opposite has been disgraceful. Warren Truss the Good and Saint Tony Abbott have pledged the money to finish the highway and those opposite—

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Penny Sharpe to order for the first time.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: —and the members opposite want to try to play politics. That is disgraceful. I said to the Federal Minister when he pulled the money out that he put it at risk— [Time expired.]
      STORMSAFE WEEK

      The Hon. SCOT MacDONALD: My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Will the Minister advise the House about StormSafe Week?

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I know every member here is keenly aware of the invaluable assistance given to our community by the New South Wales State Emergency Service during natural disasters and other emergencies. But our volunteers cannot do it alone. An educated, informed and prepared community not only reduces the number of calls for assistance, it also reduces the distress and costs caused to our community by severe storms. That is why StormSafe Week is so important. It highlights the importance of preparing and knowing what to do before, during and after a storm. StormSafe Week 2012 will be launched next Monday at Penrith Whitewater Stadium, an event I will be proud to attend. As part of the launch proceedings, I understand a simulated flood rescue will be demonstrated by New South Wales State Emergency Service flood rescue operators, to highlight the dangerous nature of flash flooding that often accompanies storms.

      While the storm season officially begins on 1 October and concludes at the end of March 2013, StormSafe Week begins a week before the season starts to give the public a chance to prepare for the onslaught of bad weather to come. This year marks the tenth year StormSafe has been observed in New South Wales and it has grown in scope. It is now commemorated in most States and Territories across the country, on dates appropriate to their own storm seasons.

      The New South Wales State Emergency Service has also developed new look StormSafe and FloodSafe websites as part of the lead-up to StormSafe Week. These colourful, easy to use websites are full of useful information and are available for use on both computers and mobile phones. To make it as easy as possible for people to find the StormSafe site, it is accessible at stormsafe.com.au, stormsafe.nsw.gov.au and stormsafe.org.au. Headings like "Are You At Risk?" and "Simple Things You Can Do" lead to a wealth of information, including clickable maps.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I do not know how many times I have warned the staff of Opposition members in the President's Gallery about the level of noise they make during question time. This is their final warning. If there is another peep out of them, they will be removed from the gallery for the remainder of question time.

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: The new website offers the following enhancements: a new StormSafe schools program for years kindergarten to year 6; statistics and web apps from principal partner NRMA Insurance; translations of each page of the site into over 80 community languages; a list of local events that involve the New South Wales State Emergency Service; and a section on what StormSafe means to members of the community, containing tailored flood safety information for people in various situations, such as those with disabilities, people living in rural areas, people with pets, families, children and many others. In addition to the expanded StormSafe site, there is a revamped FloodSafe website, which also can be found at a range of domain names. Any one of floodsafe.com.au, floodsafe.nsw.gov.au, or floodsafe.org.au will get people to the site.

      The FloodSafe website now offers, again in over 80 languages, FloodSafe guides, plans, historical flood information, radio stations and contacts for one's local area; the Business FloodSafe toolkit—to help one prepare one's business in the face of flood risk; a list of local events involving the New South Wales State Emergency Service; information for local councils, including an order form that councils can use to tailor a FloodSafe guide to their own local government area; and material about what FloodSafe means to individuals, which again has flood safety information for people in a range of different situations. I congratulate our New South Wales State Emergency Service for these significant improvements in providing safety information to the public, and I encourage all people to look at the websites to ensure their own safety and that of their home, business and family during the coming storm events.
      FARMING SECTOR

      The Hon. ROBERT BORSAK: My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Roads and Ports, representing the Minister for Primary Industries. Is it a fact that at least one farmer a week is quitting the land as a direct result of cheap imported products undercutting their livelihoods and forcing them to sell their products for less than the cost of production? What is the New South Wales Government doing to ensure that the warning of New South Wales Farmers Association vice-president, Peter Darley, that "if the country doesn't change shopping habits or importation laws, there will be no horticulture in five years" does not become reality?

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: This is a damn good question and I thank the member for it. I am not seeking to debate the issue, but I question whether the real problem is not imported products but rather tough business decisions taken by the major supermarkets. Significant pressure is placed on farmers by what is effectively a war between the major supermarkets to control the retail trade in New South Wales. The current milk war is indicative of that. On top of deregulation many dairy farmers across the State are now faced with their price being used as the price leader in the supermarkets. I know that the Minister for Primary Industries is working on this and has been talking to her Federal counterparts and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

      The Hon. Amanda Fazio: What is she doing about it?

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: There is concern about the predatory activity in this area. Many of my friends in farming, particularly dairy farming, have been hit hard by this. We do not know where it will stop. The farmers of the State have invested their lives and their family's wealth into their farms, and they work huge hours and feel the pressure of world markets and climatic conditions. On top of all that, I suggest it is a bit tough that they are also being used as pawns by the supermarkets, who are trying to get an advantage in the marketplace. The Hon. Amanda Fazio asked me what the Minister is doing. She is actually working with her Federal counterparts trying to address this issue because, frankly, the previous labour Minister did not care that much about it.
      PACIFIC HIGHWAY UPGRADE

      The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO: My question is directed to the Minister for Roads and Ports. Given that the Premier promised to resign if he did not keep his promises, will the Minister now match that pledge and resign for his failure to honour his promise to complete the Pacific Highway by 2016?

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: Only if Albo goes first.

      The Hon. Michael Gallacher: No, don't say that.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I rescind that. I had a rush of blood to the head. If this highway is not completed by 2016, it will be because the Federal Labor Party removed the 80:20 funding arrangement with New South Wales.

      The Hon. Amanda Fazio: Point of order: My point of order is relevance. I asked the Minister if he would resign. I did not ask him about anything to do with Federal matters.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! As the member well knows, the question was broader than that. The Minister was in order.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I know the member does not like the fact that Anthony Albanese and the Federal Labor Party have sold out the people of New South Wales. This highway project would have been on the way if they had not sold out the people and removed the 80:20 funding arrangement. We now have a Federal Opposition—

      The Hon. Amanda Fazio: Point of order: My point of order is that the Minister is now clearly misleading the House, and that is against the standing orders.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! The member well knows that that is not a standing order. Her point of order does not relate to the standing orders.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: The member is deliberately taking up my time because she does not like to hear the truth. She has hidden herself from the truth for too long. She has been in denial about what the Labor Party has done and continues to do to New South Wales. She has supported the Labor Party ripping money from the Pacific Highway. Now we have Tony Abbott—Saint Tony—pledging to put the money back. The only reason the highway may not be finished by 2016 is that Anthony Albanese pulled out the money. Those opposite know that and should be ashamed.
      LIFE JACKET SAFETY PARTNERSHIP

      The Hon. RICK COLLESS: My question is addressed to the Minister for Roads and Ports. Can the Minister please update the House on the life jacket safety partnership?

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: This is an important issue.

      [Interruption]

      If the Hon. Jeremy Buckingham remained quiet for a moment, he might learn something.

      [Interruption]

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Amanda Fazio to order for the first time.

      [Interruption]

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Melinda Pavey to order for the first time.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I am sure members are aware of the two boating accidents that occurred over the past few days: one at Wangi Wangi, Lake Macquarie, the other at Erowal Bay, St George's Basin on the South Coast. I take this opportunity to extend my condolences to the family and friends of the men involved in both accidents. These tragic incidents have highlighted again the importance of boating safety and the need to wear a life jacket. The past few weekends have seen glorious weather in the harbour city and with it a return to boating on the world's best waterways. Whilst we all love this time of the year, the important message to heed is that a lifejacket will not save your life if you do not wear it. Over the past 10 years, 167 people have died while boating. Sadly, approximately 92 per cent of the deceased were not wearing a life jacket at the time.

      An examination of fatality statistics shows clear evidence of the potential for lives to be saved if more people wear life jackets when boating. Since it was made compulsory in October 2003 for people in boats to wear lifejackets when crossing coastal bars—one of the few good initiatives of the previous Government—the number of fatality incidents each year involving boats crossing coastal bars has more than halved. For the 2011-12 financial year there were 19 boating fatalities and 62 serious injuries reported, arising from 327 incidents, of which more than 70 per cent involved recreational vessels. Thus recreational boaters who do not wear a life jacket are disproportionally represented in the injury and fatality statistics.

      To address this clear imbalance I recently launched a process to partner with the industry the development of initiatives to support the supply and promotion of life jackets. In early August registrations of interest were called to gauge the level of industry interest in partnering with government to deliver such a scheme. It is pleasing to note that 18 registrations of interest were received from a range of organisations spreading from Sydney to London. Just as pleasing was the positive response from industry, with one global leader in safety and survivability equipment saying:
          It is very encouraging to see the forward thinking of the New South Wales Government on the issue of marine safety and the openness to industry on potential partnering to provide the best result in minimizing the loss of life on our waterways.

      This was not the only positive industry response; submissions contain a range of ideas on how to promote the supply and wearing of life jackets. The ideas ranged from building on national marine retail networks to support improved education to a swap-and-go system for replacing inflatable life jackets based on the way people can conveniently swap barbecue gas bottles at service stations and other outlets. These are sensible ideas from the community. The responses are being reviewed and will help inform the next stage, which is to call for expressions of interest before the end of the year with a view to starting a select tender process early in 2013. [Time expired.]
      POLICE FIREARMS STORAGE INSPECTIONS

      The Hon. ROBERT BROWN: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Following on from the Minister's answer yesterday when he advised that the encrypted NSW Police Force radio network, which is used in the greater Sydney Basin, was being rolled out into other areas of New South Wales, can the Minister provide the House with a time frame for that program? In the interim, can the Minister assure the House that he will immediately require the commissioner to enact protocols that will ensure that details of addresses at which firearm storage inspections are being held are not broadcast by the unencrypted radio system?

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I thank the member for his question and his ongoing genuine interest in the security of information that is broadcast over our police radio network. It is fair to say that the unencrypted police radio network has been in place for many years, as has police methodology regarding the transmission of information over that network. Police adapt to a range of measures to ensure that, where possible on those unencrypted systems, limited information is available on a range of investigations being conducted.

      Equally they are mindful of simply going to an address and of the circumstances surrounding the matter that they are attending to. The member is particularly vigilant and concerned about the ongoing opportunities that may exist for information to be broadcast over an unencrypted radio network. That information may reveal to any person who is listening—who may have no lawful right to be listening—addresses of people being broadcast, particularly in country areas of New South Wales. It may also identify a person who has a firearm at particular premises and the reason that police are attending, and that may be to conduct a firearm audit and inspect the firearms at the premises.

      The member has raised this with me both privately and in the House. I will seek an undertaking from the Commissioner of Police to get a better understanding of the concerns that have been raised and also the practicalities in terms of application by police. The member has asked a reasonable and fair question. It may well be that some simple changes to standard operational procedures employed by police—not just in relation to firearm audits but in relation to a range of matters where there may be some sensitivity—require consideration.
      COST OF LIVING

      The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE: My question is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services. Given the Government's promise to keep the cost of living down can the Minister inform the House why the Government has raised the price of electricity, public transport fares, fines and drivers licence registration while now proposing new taxes and tolls that will affect every family in New South Wales?

      The Hon. Mick Veitch: You are on two calls, Greg, so be careful.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! And so is the member. I call the Hon. Mick Veitch to order for the second time.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Mr President, I apologise if I inadvertently misled you. I must have misconstrued the comments I made to Mr David Shoebridge.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! The Minister's apology is accepted. There was a lot noise in the Chamber and I was unable to hear what he said because I was consulting the standing orders about the proper procedures under Standing Order 190 for removing a member from the Chamber.

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: The question poses a number of inaccuracies that I do not propose to address. The Government is determined to do everything it can to rein in increases in cost of living that the previous Government did nothing about. Firstly, let us focus on electricity prices. Electricity prices are regulated. The current prices are the regulated prices determined under the Labor Government based on the capital expenditure under the previous Government's capital spending and lack of control of electricity price delivery. The same applies to water costs. The Government had to start with what it was given by the previous Government. It is working strenuously to reduce cost of living increases wherever it can and at the same time the Government is working hard to repair the trashed budget it was left with.
      ST HILLIERS CONSTRUCTION PTY LIMITED

      The Hon. MARIE FICARRA: My question is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services. Can the Minister update the House on the latest progress being made by the Government in delivering the stalled social housing projects following St Hilliers Construction going into voluntary administration?

      The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I thank the honourable member for that very important question, and I am sure all members will be interested to hear the answer. The Liberals and Nationals are committed to seeing the completion of each property through to the end. Members may recall that in June I advised the House that I directed the Department of Finance and Services to take over the projects by having St Hilliers Construction sign novated deeds.

      NSW Public Works, a division of the department, assumed management of the projects and has been working with the administrator and subcontractors to see the projects restarted and completed. The failure of St Hilliers Construction left 190 units unfinished across the State. The good news is that excellent progress has been made since that time. Work recommenced on 11 of the 13 projects and five of the projects have been completed. The Warrawong and Caringbah projects reached completion in nine and seven weeks respectively from when the projects were taken over by NSW Public Works. The other three completed projects are Sturdee Street Towradgi, Henry Street Tarrawanna, and Harbour Drive Coffs Harbour, with the majority of the remaining projects due for completion over the next few months.

      I advise that 69 dwellings have now been completed. Each one goes a long way to housing those in the community who are in need of public housing assistance. I am pleased to report that since NSW Public Works has taken control of the sites it has organised deeds of novation for 135 businesses around New South Wales. That means that these businesses can now be paid under the new contractual arrangements. During this time more than $9.9 million has been paid to subcontractors and suppliers for their work on the sites formerly managed by St Hilliers Construction. It is worth noting that not one site, including those that reached completion, could have recommenced work without having the subcontractors and supplier payments novated through the various deeds. Through these deeds NSW Public Works has ensured the income of subcontractors and suppliers who are engaged on the sites.

      NSW Public Works also continues to monitor the performance of each site as they move towards completion and will work to actively identify and react to any issues that may emerge. The contracts now under the full management of NSW Public Works are on target to reach completion within their intended time frames. For some this will be a matter of weeks and for others up to six months, depending on the level of works still required to be carried out. I assure the House that each project will be completed to all industry and regulatory standards.
      COAL SEAM GAS EXPLORATION

      The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM: My question is directed to the Minister for Roads and Ports, representing the Minister for Resources and Energy. In an answer given to this House on 21 June the Minister stated that the fracking moratorium would remain in place "pending the completion of an independent review process". Now that the moratorium has been lifted can the Minister inform the House when the review process was completed and when the details of the review will be made available to the public?

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I thank the honourable member for his detailed question, which I will take to my good colleague the Minister for Resources and Energy for a detailed answer. I get asked a lot of questions in this House, many of which are asked by the honourable member, and I remember in answer to one of those questions I asked him what he was going to do about his carbon offsets.

      The Hon. Jeremy Buckingham: Point of order: I made an adjournment speech on the matter; the Minister has not read it. My point of order is on relevance. If the Minister has taken the question on notice and has nothing further to add, I would ask that he be instructed to sit down.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I will not deal with points of order, whether they have relevance or not, that contain argument. Accordingly, there is no point of order.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: That is a good lesson for a young member of Parliament to learn.

      The Hon. Michael Gallacher: Clark Griswold.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! The Minister can have that conversation with the Leader of the Government later if he wishes to do so. If he has anything else generally relevant to add he should do so.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: Thank you for your advice, Mr President. Tempted as I am to go into National Lampoon's Vacation with the honourable member, I will not.
      TAFE FEES

      The Hon. PETER PRIMROSE: My question is directed to the Minister for the Hunter. Given that businesses in the Hunter are struggling to find sufficient skilled workers, why is the Government making it harder for young people to get trade qualifications by increasing TAFE fees by almost 10 per cent?

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: If the member took any time travelling to the Hunter—

      The Hon. Sophie Cotsis: Which he does.

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: No, he doesn't.

      The Hon. Sophie Cotsis: Yes, he does.

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: He doesn't go to the Hunter.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I warn the Hon. Sophie Cotsis.

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: The closest he has got is Hunter Street as he walks to Parliament House. Two challenges are front and centre for business in the Hunter Valley right now. The first is that the mining industry in the Hunter is creating an environment where a lot of businesses are finding it difficult to get trained employees to come to the Hunter because the demands of the mining industry in the western part of the Hunter are so great.

      The Hon. Duncan Gay: Jeremy is trying to kill that.

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: Jeremy and The Greens are doing whatever they can to turn back the hands of time for the Hunter, particularly the eastern part of the Hunter, areas in and around Newcastle. I have met with Australian industry representatives and manufacturers in the area who are continuing to work with government. Beyond that they recognise they need to face some of the challenges the mining industry presents in providing such an attractive lure for people.

      The Hon. Duncan Gay: Like a carbon tax.

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: It is a unique area because, unlike parts of Western Australia or the far northern areas of Queensland, people can commute reasonably from the Hunter Valley to the mining areas, and do so on a daily basis. That is an interesting challenge for the business community in being able to attract people, particularly into manufacturing. It goes without saying that the other challenge for workers and employers is the carbon tax. This area of the Hunter is most certainly confronted with this impact that will continue to grow over time. It will be a significant challenge.

      The Hon. Steve Whan: Point of order. The Minister is more than halfway through his answer and he is not being relevant to the question asked, which was about TAFE fees and skills development. I ask that you draw the Minister back to the leave of the question.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! The Minister was being generally relevant.

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: The member asked a question about challenges for manufacturing in the Hunter Valley and these are two significant challenges for manufacturing industry in the Hunter Valley. It also goes without saying that this Government is committed to providing the necessary support to that community to attract people into manufacturing with the continued work that is going into Maitland TAFE and work in the plastering and tiling areas of the building trade. The Hon. Jeremy Buckingham laughs. We have demand that we are trying to stimulate in the building industry in the Hunter but the member laughs. He is not interested in the Hunter or in mining.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! The Minister should steer clear of making imputations about members.

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I have spent time listening to people in Kurri Kurri about their concerns over the closure of the smelter and talking to representatives from Kurri Kurri about what they are doing to attract more people into the community to create greater opportunities for employment in that area. [Time expired.]

      If members have further questions, I suggest they place them on notice.
      NORTH RICHMOND BRIDGE

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: Yesterday the Hon. Paul Green asked me a question without notice about the North Richmond Bridge. I provide the following answer:
          Richmond Bridge and its approaches are key routes for the communities of Richmond and North Richmond, along with motorists using the Bells Line of Road corridor.

          A long-term plan needs to be in place to ensure the best outcome to manage traffic and congestion.

          Roads and Maritime Services has been working with key stakeholders, the community and Hawkesbury City Council looking at ways to alleviate congestion on Richmond Bridge and its approaches.

          Roads and Maritime Services is undertaking planning and investigation works in two stages to alleviate congestion in the short and long term.

          The Stage 1 report, was discussed at a community workshop on 24 July 2012 and included a traffic analysis of the cause of congestion and the structural suitability of the existing Richmond Bridge.

          A preferred short term solution is being developed taking into account the community and stakeholder feedback.

          Long-term options for improvements were also discussed at the community workshop held on 24 July.

          A report on four long-term options has been published and the community is invited to provide feedback during the next month.

          The report outlines the design for each option and has the results of investigations prepared as part of the project, including flood modelling and traffic flows.

          This is a major milestone in the long term plan to improve Richmond Bridge. We invite the community to come to information sessions on 10 and 13 October at the North Richmond Community Centre to hear more about the plans and speak to the project team.

          Feedback received on the four options will be considered before a decision is made on the preferred long-term option.

          Following selection of the preferred long-term option, the required road corridor will be reserved to enable construction to take place.
      BULLI HOSPITAL URGENT CARE CENTRE

      The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: On 15 August 2012 Dr John Kaye asked the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, representing the Minister for Health, a question without notice regarding the Bulli Hospital Urgent Care Centre. The Minister for Health has provided the following response:
          I am advised:

          The planning process that will determine the provision of clinical services across the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District for the next 10 years is currently underway. A draft Health Care Services Plan 2012-2022 has been prepared and is due to be finalised later this year. This planning process is examining models for the continued provision of emergency primary care services at the Bulli Hospital site and a final decision is yet to be made.

          The planning process has included a community engagement strategy comprising multiple community consultations across the district. Residents have been encouraged to participate in this process to enable the views of the community to be heard.

      Questions without notice concluded.
      CLASSIFICATION (PUBLICATIONS, FILMS AND COMPUTER GAMES) ENFORCEMENT AMENDMENT (R 18+ COMPUTER GAMES) BILL 2012

      Bill received from the Legislative Assembly, and read a first time and ordered to be printed on motion by the Hon. Michael Gallacher.

      Motion by the Hon. Michael Gallacher agreed to:
          That standing orders be suspended to allow the passing of the bill through all its remaining stages during the present or any one sitting of the House.

      Second reading set down as an order of the day for a later hour.
      BUDGET ESTIMATES 2012-2013

      Debate resumed from an earlier hour.

      Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [3.37 p.m.]: This debate was adjourned earlier. During that time we have had discussions and resolved the situation to allow a suitable amount of time to question the Treasurer and also deal with Industrial Relations. I am very pleased that we have been able to resolve that matter. Therefore, in my view there is no need for the amendment moved by the Hon. Mick Veitch. However, that is a matter for the member.

      The Hon. MICK VEITCH [3.38 p.m.]: I seek leave to withdraw the amendment I moved earlier.

      Leave granted.

      Amendment by the Hon. Mick Veitch, by leave, withdrawn.

      The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO [3.38 p.m.]: I advise the House that the concerns raised earlier by the Opposition about the allocation of time between Treasury and Industrial Relations have been satisfactorily resolved and I thank the Government for its cooperation in resolving this issue. We understand that the Government has proposed to proceed on the following basis: that Treasury and Industrial Relations be examined from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on the second day of budget estimates, with the Government to give up one hour of its questioning time to enable one hour of questions on Industrial Relations from the Opposition and crossbench within the allotted four hours.

      The Government has suggested that Treasury be examined from 9.00 a.m. to 12 noon, with the Government allocated 20 minutes only for questions. Industrial Relations will then be examined from 12 noon to 1.00 p.m., with the Government asking no questions. On the basis of this proposal, my colleague the Hon. Mick Veitch has withdrawn his amendment. I am sure we are all looking forward to budget estimates.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads and Ports) [3.39 p.m.], in reply: I thank the Hon. Mick Veitch, Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile and the Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox for their worthwhile work in resolving this matter. The Government commends all members for it and commends the motion to the House.

      Question—That the motion be agreed to—put and resolved in the affirmative.

      Motion agreed to.
      BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
      Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders: Order of Business

      Motion by the Hon. David Clarke agreed to:
          That standing and sessional orders be suspended to allow a motion to be moved forthwith that Private Members' Business item No. 910 outside the Order of Precedence relating to the violent protests in the Sydney central business district on Saturday 15 September 2012 be called on forthwith.
      Order of Business

      Motion by the Hon. David Clarke agreed to:
          That Private Members' Business item No. 910 outside the Order of Precedence be called on forthwith.
      ANTI-ISLAMIC FILM PROTEST

      Debate resumed from an earlier hour.

      The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN (Parliamentary Secretary) [3.41 p.m.]: If academics had not failed to heed Dr Bendle's call for academics from relevant disciplines to put their hate of America to one side and pool their knowledge and expertise to offer a comprehensive analysis of the immediate and long-term effects of the crisis of 9/11, there is a good chance that the violent protests we saw on Saturday could have been averted. Last Saturday the NSW Police Force was left to clean up their mess by having to confront an angry and hateful mob in Hyde Park in full view of families and holiday makers. As a result of that ugly confrontation the entire Islamic community in Australia has been stigmatised.

      Callers to talkback radio included a number of men and women from the Islamic community who expressed their disappointment and disgust at the protest. Their concerns were echoed by the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane in this House yesterday, and I congratulate him on the political leadership he has displayed, along with responsible leaders in the Islamic community who have condemned the violence associated with the protest. Our challenge is to adopt the strategy outlined by Dr Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Effective People. The main theme in Dr Covey's book is to seek to understand before being understood, and it is about earning mutual respect based on these understandings. My own experience with the Islamic community indicates that this is not an impossible task. Another theme that is appropriate is the slogan of the Australian Army Parachute Training School, which says that knowledge dispels fear.

      In 2006 I was asked to lead a group of young Islamic students from Punchbowl Boys High School across the Kokoda Trail. They had been alienated from Australian mainstream society at the time as a result of 9/11 and the rape trials happening in Sydney. The school was their fortress. A young leader, Brett Murray from campDare, approached the headmaster and suggested that they give these students an experience that was truly Australian. I led that young group across the Kokoda Trail, and they suffered tremendously. But the important part of the experience was that it educated them and they understood the message and the symbolism of what it stood for: the ability of the human spirit to conquer adversity. I remember when we got near the end of the journey the students felt quite pleased with themselves, and deservedly so, and I said to them, "If anybody now gives you a hard time for being a Muslim you can ask them if they have trekked Kokoda. The chances are that they will say no and you can then respond by saying 'Well, you do not really know what it is to be Australian, mate'".

      A couple of months later a VP Day service was held at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway at Concord. Young Mohammed Kibatta came along wearing his Punchbowl Boys High School uniform with pride—he was a prefect—and he was tasked to read the poem for the service. I introduced him to the veterans and explained to them that he had not long come back from the Kokoda Trail and he was going to read the poem, which he did. After the service I looked across and saw a line of veterans, all of them wearing rows of medals, standing in front of Mohammed waiting to shake his hand and tell him how proud they were of him. That had an incredible impact on his self-esteem and on the self-esteem of the school.

      A year or two later the first serious ugly confrontation happened with the Cronulla riots. Once again, a young, disenfranchised Islamic bloke burnt the Australian flag. Rather than sending him to jail the RSL provided some national leadership and said it would pay for him to walk across the Kokoda Trail. He walked the trail and the ABC recorded a documentary on it. The experience had the same effect on him: it converted him from being a negative leader to a positive leader and he has stayed that way.

      A year or two after that, the Hon. Jason Clare from Bankstown and the Hon. Scott Morrison from Cronulla put together a team of young community leaders from Bankstown and Cronulla and they walked the Kokoda Trail together. Those young people were as good as anybody I have taken over the Kokoda Trail in my 21 years involvement with it. They too understood the message and they ended up feeling proud of their achievement, proud of who they are, proud of who they stand for and proud of who they worship.

      The challenge for us now is not to go out and hunt down these violent protesters. We cannot send them home because most of them were born in Australia and sending them to jail for a long term will not achieve anything except to further alienate them. The Islamic community and we in this Parliament have to provide the leadership necessary to reach out to them. We have to put into practice Stephen Covey's theme of seeking to understand before being understood. But these people must understand also that they live in Australia, that Australia is a Christian democratic society and that we expect everybody to respect the law of this country. We have to look to the leaders of this protest movement and seek to turn them from what is currently a negative style of leadership to a positive style of leadership. It will not be easy and it will not happen in the short term.

      I also took across the Kokoda Trail a couple of young blokes who had taken part in the Macquarie Fields riots years ago. Those two chaps came back and they now work for Father Chris Riley as leaders. I remember one of them said to me that if those riots had not happened they would still be out there doing nothing. But he said the community took an interest, Father Chris Riley got involved and they have largely fixed the problems in the area. I believe the same thing can happen following Saturday's protest. I commend the Hon. David Clarke for moving this motion so that we can address these issues. We can respect each other's views but we can work towards the common good of removing a lot of the fear that currently exists in our society and work together to build a better place.

      The Hon. SCOT MacDONALD [3.49 p.m.]: This country has a long, proud history of dissent and protest, and vigorous and robust debate. This country is successful because that debate, protest and dissent are usually peaceful. When it descends into violence we are a poorer country for it. What we saw on the weekend was sad and alarming for the country. It was also sad for the people who were violent because it reflects poorly on them and their community. We have clearly heard the community distance itself from that rogue minority. I accept that it is a rogue minority who took matters into their own hands and caused fear and harm to the community and were violent towards police. I condemn that violence. I respect the Muslim community. I come from a diverse, wonderful and colourful community in Armidale.

      The Hon. Trevor Khan: Colourful?

      The Hon. SCOT MacDONALD: They are colourful. On their international day they wear kaftans and all the rest of it. We have all ethnic backgrounds in Armidale, probably because of the university. We get on and it is a successful community. I hope Saturday was an aberration. We condemn it. I support the motion.

      The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK [3.50 p.m.]: Seven years ago in this Chamber we universally condemned the riots at Cronulla. They shocked the whole of our country. A group of young people spending the day at the beach suddenly found themselves surrounded, chased and bashed by angry mobs for no reason other than the mob thought they looked to be of Middle Eastern appearance. Seven years later we have seen another violent protest by angry young Australian men. Of course, this protest was allegedly done in the name of Islam, according to the protesters. Much to our horror during the Cronulla riots the Australian flag was wielded as the weapon against those young people. In my view this was not a Muslim protest. It was an unacceptable outburst of violence by angry young Australian men. It has been condemned as roundly as we condemned the Cronulla riots and the revenge riots that occurred following that incident.

      Members might recall Operation Pendennis in Victoria. It was a joint operation launched by the Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation [ASIO] acting on a tip-off from a member of the Muslim community in Melbourne that a certain person was planning a major terrorist attack with the objective of killing at least 1,000 Australians. I understand that the Australian Football League [AFL] grand final may have been a target. Various other targets were also discussed. Operation Pendennis was a huge intelligence operation which ran for 18 months and resulted in the arrest of a large number of radicalised young Muslim men. Those men were subsequently charged and convictions have arisen. It was a largest anti-terrorism operation in this country's history.

      Victoria Police took the huge amount of information collected in that operation and analysed new approaches to countering the threat of violence. Again I use the term "angry, alienated young Australian men". In the Melbourne Muslim community the first problem they faced was that once a young person had been identified as a potential radical or threat the rest of the Muslim community, in fear of being smeared by the actions of that person, would ostracise them. The Victorian police worked out that ostracising the young person virtually guaranteed they would go down the track of being angry, alienated and open to radicalisation.

      In Victoria a counter-violence program operates at all levels of the justice system, including the prison system and ordinary policing, to identify people at risk of being recruited into radical causes and ensure that they are given other options to divert them away from radicalisation. It has been a stunningly successful program. It has relied on creating new relationships, recruiting imams into the cause and taking the Muslim community into police confidence by sharing intelligence and information with them. The aim is to work with those communities to reduce the number of angry young men that our society is producing in the first place.

      I commend this program to the NSW Police Force because what we saw last weekend reflected two things about the police. First, a lot of lessons have been learned from the Cronulla riots. Members will recall the great soul searching that went on after that event as to the organisation, support and intelligence available to police. The police response that we saw last weekend was simply outstanding and reflected those lessons. Second, the event showed the bravery of the police. How they stood unflinching as young men with makeshift lances charged at them left us in awe and made us proud of our police and greatly indebted to them. The front-line response was simply outstanding.

      I respectfully suggest that at an intelligence level and at a community level an additional operation now needs to be conceived and proceeded with in New South Wales. We can learn from the outstanding work of the Victorian police. Victorian police had this opportunity because of the amazing amount of intelligence gathered in Operation Pendennis. We should look at what lessons we can learn from that operation. Members might remember a training camp for jihad radicals was discovered in Louth in New South Wales. Clearly this is connected all around Australia.

      I emphasise that what they have done in Victoria by digging deeper is not some sort of namby-pamby welfare program that makes excuses for bad behaviour. It is a police operation that is very focused on intelligence and cooperation from the community in order to divert and disrupt the efforts of radicals trying to recruit young Australian men into their cause. I believe that the lesson from last week's protest is that we perhaps need to take that additional step. I congratulate my colleague the Hon. David Clarke on moving this motion. I support the motion.

      The Hon. DAVID CLARKE (Parliamentary Secretary) [3.57 p.m.], in reply: I thank honourable members for their contributions to this debate. It is good to see that this motion will be carried by this House. This is a great day for this Parliament because on behalf of the people of this State and city we are sending a message that we stand up to the disruptive thugs who invaded the centre of Sydney last Saturday. It shows that democracy is stronger than thuggish misfits. It sends a message that we stand firmly behind our police and we commend them for the action they took on the day. The motion also sends a message that we acknowledge the good work of the Muslim community in repudiating these sorts of people. The Muslim community has made clear that these thugs do not speak in any way for the mainstream Muslim community. Also by passing this motion we send a message that these thugs will not succeed in breaking the religious tolerance which goes to the heart and soul of this nation.

      The Hon. Rick Colless referred to the film Life of Brian and said that no riots arose from that film even though many perceive it to contain a negative message about the Christian faith. The way my wife and I dealt with that film was this: We did not go and watch it and we did not buy it on DVD. That was sufficient for us. We did not want to see it. We had no desire to see it, so we just did not watch it and did not buy it. That is the way we dealt with a situation when we were faced with what we perceived to be an attack on our faith. It gives me great pleasure to commend this motion to the House.

      Question—That the motion be agreed to—put and resolved in the affirmative.

      Motion agreed to.
      CRIMES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2012
      Second Reading

      The Hon. DAVID CLARKE (Parliamentary Secretary) [4.00 p.m.], on behalf of the Hon. Michael Gallacher: I move:
          That this bill be now read a second time.

      The Government is pleased to introduce the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2012. The purpose of the bill is to make miscellaneous amendments to criminal legislation as part of the Government's regular legislative review and monitoring program. The bill amends a number of Acts to improve the efficiency and operation of the State's criminal laws. The bill also contains provisions to repeal certain legislation. I will now outline each of the amendments in turn. Item [1] of schedule 1 amends section 66F (7) (a) (ii) of the Crimes Act 1900 to remove the word "established" from the term "established de facto partner". Section 66F provides for the offence of engaging in sexual activity with a person with a cognitive impairment, and subsection 66F (7) (a) (ii) provides a defence where the accused was married to the person to whom the charge relates, or was a de facto partner of that person.

      The term "de facto partner" has a specific statutory meaning under section 26C of the Interpretation Act 1987 and the word "established" is not necessary to convey that meaning. The amendment will not change the nature of the defence or what needs to be proved in order to establish it. Item [2] of schedule 1 amends the definition of "special care" in section 73 of the Crimes Act to include the de facto partner of a parent, guardian or foster parent. Section 73 provides for the offence of unlawful sexual intercourse where the victim is aged between 16 and 18 years and under the "special care" of the offender. The existing definition of "special care" in section 73 (3) (a) captures circumstances in which the accused is the step-parent, guardian or foster parent of the victim, or in certain professional relationships with the victim. The amendments contained in the bill will ensure that offenders who are the de facto partner of a parent, guardian or foster parent are also captured by the offence provision. Reform of this provision was suggested by the Supreme Court in the recent matter of R v JAD in which the court had to consider whether or not the definition of "special care" extends to de facto partners.

      Item [3] of schedule 1 amends the offence of kidnapping in section 86 of the Crimes Act to include circumstances in which a person detains another, without their consent, with the intention of committing a serious indictable offence. "Serious indictable offence" is defined in section 4 of the Crimes Act to mean an indictable offence that is punishable by imprisonment for life or for a term of five years or more. At present section 86 criminalises detention of another with intent to hold them to ransom or to obtain any other advantage. Therefore, when a person detains another with intent to commit a particular offence other than obtaining a ransom that offence must be nominated as the "advantage" that the offender intended to obtain.

      By adding the new intention subsection, it will enable the prosecuting authority to identify the specific offence the accused intended to commit without having to express it as an advantage. Further, the amendment will facilitate the offence of kidnapping being added to the definition of "serious sex offence" in the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act 2006. The new intent provision is intended to operate as an alternative form of charging, which means that the prosecution will not be obliged to proceed under the new subsection unless it considers it appropriate to do so in the circumstances.

      Item [4] of schedule 1 clarifies the law relating to spousal immunity by explicitly abolishing any common law rule that prevents a person from being found guilty of an offence involving failing to disclose a crime committed by their husband, wife or de facto partner. The Crimes Act already contains provisions abolishing common law spousal immunity defences in relation to conspiracy between spouses, and a wife being accessory after the fact to a felony committed by her husband. The amendment contained in the bill will ensure consistency of treatment for similar offences.

      The transitional provisions in the bill provide that the amendments to sections 73 and 86 will apply only to an offence committed, or alleged to have been committed, on or after the commencement of the provision. Further, the provision that abolishes the common law rule in relation to failing to disclose a crime will apply only when the offence involving the failure to disclose is committed, or alleged to have been committed, on or after the commencement of the provision. Items [1] to [6] of schedule 2 expand the definition of "sensitive evidence" in section 281B of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 to capture an audio recording of a person committing an offence against another person, being the protected person, where the contents of the recording are obscene or indecent, or when providing a copy of the recording to another person without the protected person's consent would interfere with the protected person's privacy. Section 281B (1B) provides that an audio recording is not obscene or indecent merely because it includes obscene or indecent language.

      The existing definition of "sensitive evidence" in section 281B applies only to images. Concerns were raised by the Director of Public Prosecutions that an audio recording of the commission of an offence that is obscene or indecent would not be captured where there is no accompanying image. The reforms in the bill will ensure that such recordings are captured as "sensitive evidence" and are therefore subject to the restrictions on possession and dissemination required by the sensitive evidence regime. It was not considered appropriate to extend the definition to capture audio recordings made during the investigation period when such recordings relate to the evidence of vulnerable witnesses and are therefore captured by the specific regime for disclosure and dissemination of such evidence provided for in part 6 of the Criminal Procedure Act. The amendments made by this bill will provide added protection for sexual assault complainants by preventing the dissemination of material that may cause humiliation or further trauma to them. The transitional provisions in the bill provide that these reforms will apply to existing prosecutions.

      Items [1] to [3] of schedule 3.1 amend sections 48 and 72 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 to provide that an appointed guardian can apply for an apprehended violence order on behalf of a person subject to a guardianship order. These reforms were requested by the Office of the Public Guardian to enable its officers to make an application for apprehended violence orders on behalf of persons over whom they have guardianship. The reforms will not impact on the existing practice for matters involving a criminal allegation whereby a police officer will apply for an apprehended violence order on behalf of the alleged victim. Items [1] to [3] of schedule 3.2 contain amendments to sections 32 and 35A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.

      Section 32 permits a prosecutor in sentence proceedings to file in court a list of additional charges that the offender wants the court to take into account on sentencing for the principal offence. Section 35A requires prosecutors to file a certificate on sentence confirming that requisite consultation has taken place with victims and police officers in charge in relation to the filing of a list of additional charges or the preparation of an agreed statement of facts. At present these sections provide that a list of additional charges or a charge negotiation certificate can be filed only after it is signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The regulation presently provides a number of persons with a delegation to sign those documents on behalf of the director, including officers of the WorkCover Authority, the Department of Health and the NSW Police Force.

      However, it is not appropriate that these persons sign documents on behalf of the director as his office generally has little or no oversight over their prosecutions. The bill therefore will amend sections 32 and 35A to provide that a list of additional charges or a charge negotiation certificate can be signed by the director or by a person or class of persons prescribed by the regulations. Schedule 3.3 to the bill contains consequential amendments to the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Regulation 2010 and includes the provision of a delegation to sign lists of additional charges for the chief executive officer of the New South Wales Food Authority. Item [1] of schedule 3.4 amends the definition of "serious sex offence" in section 5 (1) (b) of the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act 2006 to include the new kidnap offence of detain with intent to commit a serious indictable offence and the offences of being armed, disguised or entering premises with intent to commit an indictable offence.

      Pursuant to the definition in section 5 (1) (b), these offences will be captured as "serious sex offences" only where they were committed with intent to commit offences in the nature of sexual assault and where the offence the offender intended to commit is punishable by seven years imprisonment or more. The transitional provisions provide that these amendments apply only in respect of offences committed on or after the commencement of the legislation. In relation to the section 114 offences, prosecuting authorities will now be on notice that they need to nominate the requisite sexual intent in the charge if they wish the offence to be captured within the definition of "serious sex offence". It is not proposed to include the offence of possessing implements without lawful excuse, also referred to in section 114, in the definition of "serious sex offence" at this stage. That offence has no element of intent and therefore cannot be readily captured within the definition.

      Schedule 3.5 and 3.6 address the need for the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research to obtain from police records warnings, cautions and youth conferences under the Young Offenders Act 1997. At present there are legal limitations on this exchange. The bureau needs this information in order to effectively monitor and research juvenile reoffending and there is a strong public interest in the bureau doing so. The amendments ensure that these records can be disclosed to the bureau for the purposes of its statistical and other research, subject to protections such as a requirement that any published data be de-identified. The bill will also retrospectively authorise the information exchange that has occurred to date, permitting the bureau to retain the information it has already collected in this manner. The schedule also updates the legislation to reflect the move of Juvenile Justice staff from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Attorney General and Justice.

      Schedule 4.3 repeals the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment (Detained Person's Property) Act 2008, which never commenced. That Act included amendments to the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 to remove the need for police to itemise the property seized from arrested persons and to allow police to store this property in a resealable property bag instead. The amendments were intended to reduce the time police have to spend itemising individual items of prisoner's property.

      Commencement of the legislation was delayed to allow the NSW Police Force to complete a trial of the new procedures. The trial resulted in largely negative feedback from police. Whilst the bags did result in some efficiencies, these were outweighed by the practical difficulties police encountered with them, including their size, which rendered them unable to store large items of property. Both the NSW Police Force and Corrective Services NSW, which also participated in the trial, expressed concern that the absence of a written record of property made it difficult to account for the items seized from a person once they have been transferred into custody.

      The legislation will now be repealed. Police will continue to use the present procedures for recording and storing prisoners' property which have been in place since the Law Enforcement Powers and Responsibilities Act was passed in 2002. Schedule 4.4 repeals the Sporting Venues (Offender Banning Orders) Act 2005, which commenced on 18 November 2005. Schedule 4.1 and 4.2 make amendments consequential to that repeal. The Sporting Venues (Offender Banning Orders) Act was intended to prevent violence and disorder at sporting events by establishing a sports banning orders regime in New South Wales. The Act provides for a court to make an order banning a person from attending or being near specific sporting venues where they have been found guilty of an offence involving violence and disorder at, or in connection with, a sporting event. The specific offences that can result in a ban are identified in section 3 of the Act and include offences involving actual or threatened violence.

      In compliance with section 12 of the Act, a statutory review was conducted by the Department of Attorney General and Justice to establish whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid and whether its terms remain appropriate for securing those objectives. The review received submissions from legal stakeholders and sporting bodies, including the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Australian Rugby Union Limited and the Football Federation of Australia. Following inquiries with the NSW Police Force, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the courts the review could find no evidence of any banning orders having been made under the Act since it commenced. None of the sporting bodies that responded to the review had ever sought an order under the Act. Instead, sporting bodies advised that they use their own administrative systems for banning persons who commit offences at the events they manage. Those systems are generally enforced by way of conditions of entry that patrons must agree to when purchasing a ticket to a sporting event.

      The review also noted that the National Rugby League [NRL] currently has a memorandum of understanding with the NSW Police Force with regard to enforcing its bans. That memorandum of understanding has been in place since July 2007, and as at July this year 34 bans had been issued by the NRL. Submissions to the review identified a number of drawbacks with the legislative regime that make it less effective for sporting bodies than their own administrative banning systems. Delay is one drawback as a ban under the Act can be issued only following a conviction, which may come months after the commission of the offence.

      This contrasts with an administrative ban that a sporting body can issue instantly following unacceptable behaviour. Further, the Act does not have the flexibility or responsiveness of an administrative banning system, which can be easily altered by, for example, simply changing the conditions of entry to a particular event. A lack of similar legislative banning regimes in other Australian jurisdictions also means that national sporting bodies cannot rely on consistent legislative sanctions across jurisdictions. This contrasts with an administrative banning system that can be applied with national or even international consistency by sporting bodies.

      The review considered whether the terms of the Act could be amended to make the legislative banning regime more responsive to the needs of sporting bodies and thereby increase its use. However, the review concluded that it would not be possible to amend the Act in such a way as to make it as effective for sporting bodies as their own systems. Preventing violence and disorder at sporting events remains a worthwhile objective. However, in the absence of any banning orders having been made, there is no evidence that the Act is contributing to that objective. On the contrary, it appears that the prevention of undesirable behaviour at sporting events is being addressed more effectively via the various banning systems instituted by sporting bodies themselves.

      In the absence of evidence that it is likely to be used in the future, the only argument for retention of the Act is the deterrent effect of having it in place. However, the review noted that there is little evidence that the Act is having any deterrent effect. Again, it would appear that the sporting bodies' own banning systems and conditions of entry are far more likely to act as a deterrent to offending behaviour than the legislative regime. It was the conclusion of the review that there is no longer any demonstrated need for a legislative banning regime and in those circumstances it cannot be said that the Act is meeting its policy objectives. The bill therefore includes provisions to repeal the Act. I commend the bill to the House.

      The Hon. ADAM SEARLE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [4.17 p.m.]: I lead for the Opposition in debate on the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2012. The Opposition does not oppose the bill, which contains amendments to miscellaneous legislative provisions. This is an effective and efficient way of making comparatively minor amendments to parts of the Attorney General's portfolios. All governments have used the sensible revision and review process. The legislation and regulations amended by the bill include the Crimes Act 1900, the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007, the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, the Crimes Sentencing Procedure Regulation 2010, the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act 2006, the Young Offenders Act 1997 and the Young Offenders Regulation 2010. There are also provisions replacing the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment (Detained Persons Property) Act 2008 and the Sporting Venues (Offenders Banning Orders) Act 2005.

      The Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment (Detained Persons Property) Act, as the Parliamentary Secretary indicated, was never commenced. That Act removed the obligations on police to itemise property seized from arrested persons and, instead, to store it in resealable plastic bags. It was about reducing the time spent by police on administrative functions. While on the face of it it was a perfectly sensible approach, the police conducted a trial, the results of which suggested it would not work and it was, thus, never implemented. The Sporting Venues (Offenders Banning Orders) Act 2005 will also be repealed. I note that the Parliamentary Secretary, and the Attorney General in the other place, spent some time in their respective speeches on this aspect. That legislation has never been used, because sporting organisations and venues have their own administrative mechanisms that they prefer to use rather than going to court and seeking orders. The argument is that the legislation is not being used, is unlikely to be used and therefore should be repealed.

      A couple of things are raised by this: the privatisation of public space and the development of a system where private and not State institutions are effectively imposing sanctions on private individuals. It is similar to shopping centres imposing bans on prospective customers. It may well be in the overwhelming majority of cases the court would make similar orders to what is being done here by non-public organisations. However, we do not know that. Of course, effectively we are allowing unregulated non-government bodies to behave like State institutions, but this is not the vehicle for that discussion. The Attorney General in the other place, when discussing this aspect of the bill and talking about how sporting bodies use their own administrative systems for banning persons who commit offences at events they manage, said:
          I assume that includes rock throwers.
      The Parliamentary Secretary omitted that from his second reading speech. Is the Attorney General in the other place mindful that his comments may be a recognition that criminal conduct is not being touched by the law because these private bodies take their own actions to remove people from the venues? However, if those people have committed other criminal acts and the authorities are not informed the criminal law has no opportunity to act. I suspect the honourable Attorney General in the other place has highlighted that problem, whether inadvertently or otherwise, but the Parliamentary Secretary omitted it from his second reading speech.

      The Hon. Catherine Cusack: That is very forensic, Adam.

      The Hon. ADAM SEARLE: We do pay attention on this side of the House. I will not deal with every provision of the bill.

      Mr David Shoebridge: Oh, come on, do, Adam.

      The Hon. ADAM SEARLE: No, I will not. I will resist the temptation.

      Mr David Shoebridge: Schedule 3.4.

      The Hon. ADAM SEARLE: As tempting as it may be, I will not, but some things should be mentioned. The bill contains a new offence of kidnapping with intent to commit a serious indictable offence. Current provisions make it an offence to detain someone with intent to hold them for ransom or other advantage. This meant that the commission of another offence had to be itemised as the advantage. The bill enables the explicit offence to now be particularised without being pleaded as an advantage. The bill also explicitly seeks to abolish any common law rule that would prevent anyone being convicted of an offence involving failing to disclose a crime by their partner—wife, husband or de facto. This modernises the law and makes it consistent with other crimes.

      Sensitive evidence within the Criminal Procedure Act is expanded beyond images to include an audio recording. That now will be subject to the restrictions on possession and dissemination required by the sensitive evidence regime. An appointed guardian can apply for an apprehended violence order on behalf of a person subject to a guardianship order. The bill contains provisions also to allow the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research [BOCSAR] to obtain from police records of warnings, cautions and youth conferences. This is obviously a sensible idea to allow the very good research of the bureau to continue to properly inform the public debate in locations such as this place. It also acts retrospectively, covering information that the bureau already has, which, of course, suggests that perhaps in the past it has acquired information not lawfully—but I will leave that. As I indicated at the outset, the Opposition does not oppose this bill, which, in the main, engages in sensible, technocratic modernising of the law.

      Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [4.22 p.m.]: The Greens in large part support the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 with one significant reservation, which I will address in the course of my contribution to the second reading debate. In large part the Parliamentary Secretary has accurately characterised this compendium bill that tidies up parts of the criminal law and procedure. I shall not address every provision, only the more substantive. Schedule 1 to the bill, amongst other things, updates a reference to an established de facto partner to the simpler phrase "de facto partner". That is consistent with the term found in the Interpretation Act 1987 and will make the definition in the Crimes Act consistent with the balance of legislation in New South Wales. It is sensible and The Greens support it.

      Item [2] of schedule 1 clarifies that, for the purposes of section 73 of the Crimes Act, sexual intercourse with a child between 16 and 18 under special care is an offence. A person is considered to be under the special care of another person if that person is a de facto partner of the child's parent or carer. The need for this change was flagged by Acting Justice Whealy in Regina v JAD in which the defendant argued that under the Crimes Act the meaning of "stepfather" does not include a de facto partner of a parent or carer of a child. Clearly, culpability should be extended to the de facto partner of a parent or carer of the child. The Greens support that amendment to the Crimes Act.

      Item [3] creates a new offence of kidnapping with intent to commit a serious indictable offence under section 86 of the Crimes Act. This is separate from the current provision, which relates to kidnap with intent to obtain ransom or other advantage, and removes the requirement to argue that the indictable offence in question is an advantage. Again, The Greens support this rationalisation and improvement of the criminal law. However, item [4] abolishes the existing common law rule that a person cannot be found guilty of an offence of failing to disclose a crime committed by the person's spouse or partner. This is said to apply only to situations in which it is an offence to fail to disclose an offence that has been committed. The Greens shall move an amendment to seek to refer this matter to the Law Reform Commission. The Greens sought clarification from the Minister's office as to the extent of the intended effect of removing the common law privilege. We received this response from the Attorney General's office:
          The provision abolishing the common law defence applies to any offence which involves an offender failing to disclose a crime committed by their husband, wife or de facto partner. Whilst it will be most relevant to the offence of concealing a serious indictable offence under section 316 of the Crimes Act ... its application is not limited to that offence.

          It is possible that the defence could apply to any offence involving a failure to disclose a crime committed by a husband, wife or de facto partner including offences under the common law. Whilst many common law offences have been abrogated by statute, in order to provide absolute certainty on this issue, the provision abolishing the common law rule has been expressed with general application to ensure that it applies to any other offence involving a failure to disclose a crime committed by a husband, wife or de facto partner.

          It is noted that the legislative amendment will only apply where the offence involving the failure to disclose is committed, or alleged to have been committed, on or after the commencement of the provision.
      In common law in Australia, and before that in England, there has been a long tradition regarding immunity. A spouse—wife, husband or common law partner—could not be compelled to convict their wife, husband or common law partner out of their own mouth. It was traditionally not considered a crime for a wife, husband or partner to not go to the authorities and disclose that an offence had occurred when they had found out about that offence through their wife, husband or partner. We have this privilege in law for public policy reasons, of which one was, traditionally, to support the institution of marriage. It was believed that if communications between a wife and husband or husband and wife compelled the other party to disclose an offence to the police it would degrade their relationship and lead to an inability to have frank exchanges.

      But, of course, privilege has remained on the books for other reasons. One reason is the power relationship involving, potentially, a seriously violent husband, who may be involved in substantial violent criminal activities—there may be domestic violence in the relationship. In the course of coming home or at any time in the relationship he may disclose to his wife or partner that he had committed a violent offence. The wife or the partner may be genuinely concerned for their safety—they may suffer from something like battered women's syndrome—and may have great difficulty disclosing to police or any other authority figure what the husband or partner has told them. Yet, once this law goes through this Parliament, that failure to disclose will be an absolute crime across the board. There will be no defence for a wife or partner based on common law spousal immunity.

      There are clear examples where we would be deeply concerned on a public policy basis—and rightly so—when one person does not disclose the criminal activities of their partner. An example of that is the case of RH v Regina. It was a decision of the District Court on appeal from the Magistrates Court. The defendant was charged with the following offence:
          That between 29 January 2007 and 6 July 2009 at Engadine in the State of New South Wales did fail without reasonable excuse to bring information to the attention of a member of the Police Force or other appropriate authority knowing that a serious offence had been committed (namely) aggravated indecent assault child between 10 and 14 years by (RH) and that she, the said accused, had information which might be of material assistance in securing the prosecution of the said (RH).

      In that case a woman knew her partner had been sexually abusing foster children in their care and she had failed to disclose the abuse to authorities. That is a great concern not only because of the failure to disclose past abuse but because of the potential for the abuse of other children placed in that foster care arrangement. The Greens see an absolutely compelling argument for removing spousal immunity in that circumstance because there is a clear protective reason to do so—it is about protecting children and giving some justice to past victims.

      Contrast that with the circumstance where a woman is in a seriously violent domestic relationship and her partner returns after committing a crime such as robbing a service station, physically abuses her and during the assault says, "I have just robbed the service station"—adding to the humiliating insults directed at his partner. Is Parliament going to make it a crime for that woman not to disclose to the police what her partner has told her? That seems to be a step too far in terms of getting rid of this immunity. This amendment must be considered carefully.

      The Greens suggest that the issue be referred to the Law Reform Commission, where a carefully crafted set of laws can be prepared rather than the blanket removal of spousal immunity. There are compelling cases where spousal immunity should not be available as a defence, and the appeal in RH v Regina is one such case. That appeal resulted in the acquittal of the appellant because she could rely on spousal immunity. That seems an unjust result and if it is allowed to continue without remedy further violence or sexual assaults may occur without an obligation to disclose.

      However, The Greens ask whether Parliament wants to make it a crime in every circumstance for a person not to disclose a partner's indictable offence. Battered wives and partners may have difficulty coming forward to disclose information. There may be other solid public policy reasons to give protection to a marriage or a de facto relationship between two adults so that there can be disclosure between partners. It is a matter of substantial public policy to which the bill advocates a substantial change. It has been snuck in by the Government in one small part of a compendium bill.

      The Greens foreshadowed amendments would delete this provision from the bill and call on the Law Reform Commission to inquire into and report on the common law rule that a person cannot be found guilty of an offence involving failure to disclose a crime committed by the person's husband, wife or de facto partner and whether the rule should be abolished. There is no evidence that the Government has consulted with the broader legal community, women's groups, community legal centres, or anyone who might deal regularly with the people who will be impacted by the blanket removal of this spousal immunity provision. It has been snuck in under the radar in this compendium bill. I urge members to examine The Greens amendments, which will allow for a far more carefully considered and crafted review of spousal immunity.

      Turning to the balance of the bill, schedule 2 makes amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act 1986. It amends the definition of "sensitive evidence" for the purposes of section 281B of the Criminal Procedure Act, which limits the access to and distribution of images and other materials of protected persons. The amendment adds audio recordings to the current listing, which already includes photographs and videos. The Greens support the amendment. The amendments in schedule 3 include amendments to the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007, which make the reasonable—indeed protective—change to allow the guardian of a person to make an apprehended violence order application on that person's behalf for their protection. That has been a gap in the law. Allowing the guardian to make an application will allow vulnerable people to have the protection of apprehended violence orders that is not presently available in the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007.

      Amendments are also made to the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act relating to a list of charges for offenders and certificates of prosecutors' files. Currently those lists and certificates must be signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions and other persons by delegation. The change proposed in this bill will mean that they can be signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions and other persons as prescribed by the regulations. That is a sensible reform intended to address concerns about the appropriateness of such delegation without oversight. Consequential amendments specify that the Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Food Authority should be added to the list of people who can sign such lists of additional charges.

      The amendment in schedule 3 also includes provisions to circumvent current legal restrictions on the release of police records of warnings, cautions and youth conferences under the Youth Offenders Act to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. Such material is redacted of identity information and provides a useful source of information in understanding the effectiveness, or otherwise, of interventions by Juvenile Justice. The Greens believe compiling this kind of information is essential for the development of evidence-based policymaking—and we look forward to that form of policymaking from the Government. It is hoped that this move on the part of the Government signals that it will refer to such evidence in its future policymaking in Juvenile Justice.

      Schedule 4.4 repeals the Sporting Venues (Offenders Banning Orders) Act 2005. It is an Act that has never been used since being placed on the statute books. When there was a crossbench briefing on the matter I joked, "Well, we can wait for the Opposition to come out and say in a headline and media release, 'Government goes soft on violence at sporting venues'." Within 24 hours there was a media release from the Leader of the Opposition saying, "Government goes soft on violence at sporting venues." The Greens do not believe the Government has gone soft on violence at sporting venues. The Greens support the Government removing legislation that has never been used and does not seem to be effective. The Greens support rationalisation of penal laws that are not used and clog up the statute books. On the whole, this bill makes a series of modest amendments. They are mainly operational and technical in nature and The Greens support the bulk of them. We look forward to further discussion in Committee of the amendments foreshadowed by The Greens to deal with spousal immunity.

      The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN (Parliamentary Secretary) [4.38 p.m.]: I support the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2012, which amends criminal legislation as part of the Government's regular legislative review program. The amendments will ensure greater efficiency in the delivery of the State's criminal laws. A number of Acts have been amended to change, remove or adapt terminology without necessarily changing the nature of the offence or what needs to be done to establish it. They refer to crimes of a sexual nature and to kidnapping.

      Of course, these are extremely serious crimes and the definition according to the Act must adequately reflect their level of gravity. It would be completely unacceptable for a person to be exonerated from guilt for such an offence because the working of the Act was in any way open to interpretation. Item [3] of schedule 1 amends the offence of kidnapping in section 86 of the Crimes Act to include circumstances where a person detains another without their consent with the intention of committing a serious indictable offence. Under the Act that means an offence of such severity that it is punishable by imprisonment for life or for a term of five years or more.

      In cases of kidnapping, there is a demand for ransom in exchange for the return of the victim. Under section 86 of the current Act it is a criminal offence to detain another person with the intent of holding them for ransom or to obtain any other advantage. Under the proposed amendment the term "advantage" will be used to cover the unlawful detention of a person without the demand for a ransom. This will enable a prosecutor to identify the specific offence the accused intended to commit without having to express it as an advantage. The amendment will allow the inclusion of kidnapping in the definition of "serious sex offence" under the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act 2006.

      I now turn to the provisions under the existing Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. Domestic violence is one of the invisible crimes within our legal system. Often the victims of domestic violence are frightened to come forward or report the crime for fear of further retribution. In many cases they are forced to stay and endure further abuse because they have nowhere to go. Domestic violence is not physical abuse alone. While this is common, it can also involve abuse by a partner, carer or other family member in order to dominate and cause fear. It can also be emotional, psychological, financial or sexual abuse. In 2011 alone there were 26,673 reported cases of domestic violence in New South Wales. That number was up on the previous year but it is still not an adequate reflection of the crime as most instances continue to go unreported.

      Under the proposed amendments new sections 48 and 72 of the Act will provide that an appointed guardian can apply for an apprehended violence order on behalf of a person subject to a guardianship order. This amendment has been made in response to requests from the office of the Public Guardian so that its officers can make an application on behalf of victims over whom they have guardianship. The amendments will in no way diminish the seriousness of the crime and police officers will still be able to apply for apprehended violence orders on behalf of the victim. Other amendments to the Act relate to the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act 2006. The original Act provided a mechanism for the management of convicted sex offenders once they have completed their sentence. New section 5 applies when a person has a conviction for a serious sex offence. This includes an offence committed against an adult victim that is punishable by imprisonment for seven years or more. I seek leave to incorporate the remainder of my speech in Hansard.

      Leave not granted.

      Item [1] of schedule 3.4 amends the definition of a serious sex offence to include the new kidnap offence or detain with intent to commit a serious indictable offence. Offences involving being armed, disguised or entering premises with intent to commit indictable crimes are also covered. It is important to note that these amendments will only apply in respect of offences committed on or after the commencement of the legislation. These crimes are extremely serious and it is up to this Parliament to ensure that the legislative provisions are clear in order to avoid potential legal misinterpretation. In relation to new section 114 offences, prosecuting authorities will be required to nominate the requisite sexual intent in the charge.

      The offence of possessing implements without lawful excuse will not be included as part of the definition of "serious sex offence" as that offence has no element of intent. Amendments to the legislation take into account the importance of allowing the free exchange of information between authorities. In this case that applies to information relating to records of warnings, cautions and youth conferences under the Young Offenders Act 1997. This legislation will make that information available to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. It is essential that the bureau has access to this information. The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has three key functions: to identify factors that affect the distribution and frequency of crime; to identify factors that affect the effectiveness, efficiency or equity of the New South Wales criminal justice system; and to ensure that information on these factors and on crime and justice trends is available and accessible.

      Current laws make it difficult for the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research to access information on juvenile offenders. If the bureau is to be able to deliver on its brief, it is essential that it has access to all this information so that it can monitor and research juvenile reoffending. This amendment will permit the free exchange of information and will allow the bureau to retain any information it has already received in this regard. It also reflects the fact that Juvenile Justice staff from the Department of Human Resources will be moved to the Department of Attorney General and Justice. Other amendments in the bill clarify the powers of the Sporting Venues (Offender Banning Orders) Act 2005.

      This legislation was introduced to reduce violence at sporting events. The review found that individual sporting organisations worked with the NSW Police Force in applying bans to various individuals without reference to the legislation itself. It became apparent from the review that sporting bodies used their own administrative systems in banning individuals from the events they manage. There is no evidence that the law is contributing to the objective. With that in mind, I support the Minister's recommendation to repeal that section of the Act. In conclusion, I congratulate the Attorney General on his work in giving New South Wales an effective and comprehensive system of criminal law. I commend the bill to the House.

      The Hon. Dr PETER PHELPS [4.45 p.m.]: I speak briefly to indicate that I will be supporting the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 but I flag two small items of concern. These go to issues raised by Mr David Shoebridge in relation to the abolition of the common law defence. The first is a philosophical concern. The relationship between spouses and their partner is fundamental. The American Psychological Association has determined that the two greatest creators of stress are the death of a spouse and divorce from a spouse. The personal relationship between two people is of such magnitude that it transcends any other relationship that a person can have with another person in society. The implication is that people now have a duty to the State that is higher than their duty to their spouse. Unsurprisingly, given my libertarian leanings, I have concerns with that.

      The second concern is on a more practical level and Mr David Shoebridge gave an example. I will take a purely hypothetical example. Let us say that a senator with mental issues has a mental breakdown and shoplifts. Her husband finds out about it. Is he then obliged to report that? Presumably under this bill he is so obliged. I suggest that that is an unwanted intrusion. Has a crime been committed? Obviously it has, but in this instance the object surely should not be some sort of prosecutorial advantage over the person who has committed the crime. I would have thought there were far better ways of dealing with a circumstance such as that. I will support the bill, but if the provision comes into effect I will be looking at the statistics of who will be prosecuted and under what circumstances.

      The Hon. PAUL GREEN [4.48 p.m.]: I lead for the Christian Democratic Party in debate on the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2012. The objects of the bill are to make various amendments to the Crimes Act 1900, including creating a new offence of kidnapping with the intent to commit a serious indictable offence; to amend the Criminal Procedures Act 1986 in relation to sensitive evidence; to amend the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 to enable the guardian of a person under the Guardianship Act 1987 to make an application for an apprehended violence order on behalf of that person; and to amend the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 and the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Regulation 2010 in relation to the signing of lists of additional charges and certificates relating to charge negotiations in various prosecutions.

      In addition, the objects of the bill are to amend the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act 2006 to provide that certain criminal offences are serious sex offences under that Act; to amend the Young Offenders Act 1997 and the Young Offenders Regulation 2010 to enable records of warnings, cautions and conferences given to children under the Act to be disclosed to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research for statistical and research purposes; and to repeal the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment (Detained Person's Property) Act 2008 and the Sporting Venues (Offenders Banning Orders) Act 2005.

      I note the concerns of Mr Shoebridge and I appreciate Hon. Dr Peter Phelps sharing those concerns. In light of his comments, it would be wise for this House to heed that advice and to watch very closely the situation of people having to respond to law enforcement in relation to offences committed by their spouse. It would be wise for this House to review that issue after 12 months to ensure that the spirit of the Act is upheld. The Christian Democratic Party supports the amendments and believes they will bring efficiencies to the Act.

      The Hon. DAVID CLARKE (Parliamentary Secretary) [4.50 p.m.], in reply: I thank honourable members for their contributions to debate on the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2012. The bill makes a number of important amendments to the criminal laws of this State. The amendments will ensure that criminal laws and procedures continue to be as effective as possible. The amendments will also support the effective administration of justice in New South Wales. I commend the bill to the House.

      Question—That this bill be now read a second time—put and resolved in the affirmative.

      Motion agreed to.

      Bill read a second time.
      In Committee

      Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

      Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [4.52 p.m.], by leave: I move The Greens amendments Nos 1 and 2 on sheet C2012-127 in globo:
          No. 1 Page 3, schedule 1 [4], lines 13–23. Omit all words on those lines.

          No. 2 Page 3, schedule 1 [5]. Insert after line 31:
                Law Reform Commission to inquire into common law rule of spousal privilege

                (1) The Law Reform Commission is to inquire into, and report on, the common law rule that a person cannot be found guilty of an offence involving failing to disclose a crime committed by the person's husband or wife or de facto partner and whether the rule should be abolished.

                (2) The Commission is to do so in accordance with the Law Reform Commission Act 1967 and as if the Minister had referred the matter to the Commission under section 10 of that Act.
      The purpose of these amendments is to delete item [4] from schedule 1 of the bill, which currently reads:
          7 Person who fails to disclose crime committed by the person's husband or wife or de facto partner

          (1) Any common law rule that a person cannot be found guilty of an offence involving failing to disclose a crime committed by the person's husband or wife or de facto partner is abolished.

          (2) This clause applies only to or in respect of an offence involving failing to disclose such a crime if the offence is committed, or alleged to have been committed, on or after the commencement of this clause.
      The Greens amendments would replace that item with the following:
          Law Reform Commission to inquire into common law rule of spousal privilege

          (1) The Law Reform Commission is to inquire into, and report on, the common law rule that a person cannot be found guilty of an event involving failing to disclose a crime committed by the person's husband or wife or de facto partner and whether the rule should be abolished.

          (2) The Commission is to do so in accordance with Law Reform Commission Act 1967 and as if the Minister had referred the matter to the Commission under section 10 of that Act.
      The Attorney General made almost no reference to this in his second reading speech. He stated:
          Item [4] of schedule 1 clarifies the law relating to spousal immunity by explicitly abolishing any common law rule that prevents a person from being found guilty of an offence involving failing to disclose a crime committed by their husband, wife or de facto partner. The Crimes Act already contains provisions of abolishing common law spousal immunity defences in relation to conspiracy between spouses, and a wife being an accessory after the fact to a felony committed by her husband. The amendment contained in the bill will ensure consistency of treatment for similar offences.
      That is the only intellectual support given by the Government for this quite substantial reform of the criminal law. But removing the immunity could potentially have quite substantial repercussions. I note the observations of the Government Whip. I very rarely agree with him, but I think he has outlined some of the philosophical concerns that attach to the blanket removal of the immunity. There are circumstances in which the interests of the broader community, represented through the State, might prevail and would, in my mind, prevail over the sanctity of marriage or the personal relationship between two people. In my contribution to debate on this bill I cited the case of RH, a District Court decision, as an example of a situation where a partner fails to disclose a series of sexual assaults being committed by their partner on foster children. I can see no rational argument for allowing immunity to protect that kind of crime, particularly where children might be put at risk if they were accepted as foster children by that couple.

      There are other examples. The Government Whip gave a somewhat hypothetical example of a husband or a wife finding out that their partner has committed a shoplifting offence or has robbed their workplace. The partner may know that their spouse has serious mental issues and may, through love and affection, find themselves unable to dob them in and disclose the offence to the authorities. Surely, as a society we would realise that there are cases when we would weigh up those competing considerations about disclosing a crime but also recognising that we are human. We form enormously intimate, loving relationships—we hope—with people and we ought not just make it a blanket rule to criminalise the failure to dob in our partner. There are cases when people should do so, but surely there are cases when people should not. We should not get rid of the rule entirely without conducting a thorough inquiry and considering all the impacts that abolishing the rule may have.

      The Greens amendments do not say, "No, we will never consider this." The Greens amendments say, "Let's have a broader discussion with the community and with stakeholders; let's refer the question of the abolition of immunity to the Law Reform Commission, get it to do a report and, if it recommends the blanket abolition of the immunity and it has a good and reasoned case for doing so, this House will consider it." But I sense that the Law Reform Commission will recognise that it is a complicated issue and that there are certain disclosures in certain relationships that should not lead to a criminal prosecution. Unfortunately, under this bill every disclosure that might relate to an indictable offence carries with it the potential for a criminal prosecution against a partner if they fail to tell the police. The Greens commend the amendments to the Committee.

      The Hon. DAVID CLARKE (Parliamentary Secretary) [4.59 p.m.]: This provision does not create any new offences. It is already an offence to conceal a serious indictable offence pursuant to section 316 of the Crimes Act 1900. The Director of Public Prosecutions has provided advice that a number of people are already being prosecuted for concealing a serious indictable offence committed by their spouse. Notwithstanding this, a common law defence was used successfully in the recent matter of RH. In that case a District Court judge upheld a conviction appeal in relation to an offence of concealing a serious indictable offence under section 316 of the Crimes Act 1900. The matter involved an allegation that the appellant had concealed an indecent assault committed by her husband against their foster daughter.

      The appeal was upheld on the basis that the appellant was not obliged to disclose the crime because of the operation of the common law doctrine of spousal privilege. The judge in that matter recommended that the issue urgently be brought to the attention of the Attorney General so that reform of this area could be considered. In the decision of ACC v Stoddart, decided after RH, the High Court upheld that the common law in Australia does not recognise any privilege in relation to spousal incrimination. However, the High Court did not make a specific pronouncement on whether the common law immunity in relation to disclosing a crime committed by a spouse continues to exist. The amendment in this bill will provide absolute clarity regarding this issue. It will send a clear message to the community that those who fail to disclose a crime committed by their spouse will have not any common law defence of spousal immunity available to them.

      The Crimes Act already contains provisions abolishing common law spousal immunity defences in relation to conspiracy between spouses and a wife being an accessory after the fact to a felony committed by her husband. The amendment contained in the bill will ensure consistency of treatment for similar offences. It is not expected that there will be a significant increase in the number of persons being prosecuted following a change in the law. Advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions indicates that a number of people are already being prosecuted for concealing serious indictable offences committed by their spouse pursuant to section 316 of the Crimes Act 1900. Referring the matter to the Law Reform Commission will simply delay resolution of this important issue.

      The provision of abolishing the common law defence will primarily apply to the offence of concealing a serious indictable offence under section 316 of the Crimes Act. It is noted that the offence only applies where the offence concealed is a serious indictable offence, being an offence which carries a maximum penalty on indictment of five years or more. Further, the offence is only made where the person does not have a reasonable excuse for failing to disclose the crime of their spouse. What constitutes a reasonable excuse will be a matter for the courts but the court could take into account circumstances such as domestic violence when assessing whether there is a reasonable excuse. The amendment in this bill is intended to provide certainty to members of the community regarding their obligations in relation to disclosing criminal offending and it should therefore proceed without delay. The Government opposes the amendments proposed by The Greens.

      The Hon. ADAM SEARLE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [5.02 p.m.]: The Opposition supports The Greens amendments largely for the reasons outlined by Mr David Shoebridge, and indeed the Government Whip. I understand that the provisions of the bill are designed to ensure compatibility and consistency in the criminal law. However, now that the issue has been raised we equally see force in the argument that it is a reasonably significant potential change to the law and should only be embarked upon after more consideration of the kind that would be afforded by the Law Reform Commission. We do not see the provision as otherwise impairing the integrity of the bill before the Committee. We support the amendment.

      Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [5.03 p.m.]: I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for putting a response on the record. The difficulty with his argument is that it conflates the failure to disclose with the offences of conspiracy to commit a crime and being an accessory after the fact. In both conspiracy and accessory charges the spouse has done something positive. In an accessory charge the spouse may have destroyed some records, misled police, helped to hide their partner from the police, or washed bloodstains out of clothes. Those kinds of positive acts wherein the spouse tries to hide the trail of the crime are covered already by accessory. Those kinds of positive acts already have criminality and do not attract spousal immunity.

      In terms of conspiracy, where two partners have between them conspired to do a serious act, there is again a positive action of criminality by the spouse. They are in quite a different class than simply failing to disclose. Having been told something by your partner and then maybe curling up in a ball on your bed for two weeks in denial about it becomes a crime through this provision. Having been told something by your partner and being unable to deal with it emotionally and separating yourself from the situation becomes a crime under this provision. The Christian Democratic Party said the Chamber should review this in 12 months. There is no legislative capacity in the bill to have the Chamber review it in 12 months. There is no capacity for the Chamber to oversight how this provision will operate in practice. The best way of having some further consideration and further oversight of this provision is to support The Greens amendments and refer the matter to the Law Reform Commission.

      Question—That The Greens amendments Nos 1 and 2 [C2012-127] be agreed to—put.

      The Committee divided.
      Ayes, 18
      Mr Buckingham
      Ms Cotsis
      Mr Donnelly
      Ms Faehrmann
      Ms Fazio
      Mr Moselmane
      Mr Primrose
      Mr Roozendaal
      Mr Searle
      Mr Secord
      Ms Sharpe
      Mr Shoebridge
      Mr Veitch
      Ms Voltz
      Ms Westwood
      Mr Whan


      Tellers,
      Ms Barham
      Dr Kaye

      Noes, 21
      Mr Ajaka
      Mr Blair
      Mr Borsak
      Mr Brown
      Ms Cusack
      Ms Ficarra
      Mr Gallacher
      Mr Gay
      Mr Green
      Mr Harwin
      Mr Khan
      Mr Lynn
      Mr MacDonald
      Mrs Maclaren-Jones
      Mr Mason-Cox
      Mrs Mitchell
      Reverend Nile
      Mrs Pavey
      Mr Pearce


      Tellers,
      Mr Colless
      Dr Phelps

      Pair

      Mr FoleyMr Clarke

      Question resolved in the negative.

      The Greens amendments Nos 1 and 2 [C2012-127] negatived.

      Schedule 1 agreed to.

      Schedules 2 to 4 agreed to.

      Title agreed to.

      Bill reported from Committee without amendment.
      Adoption of Report

      Motion by the Hon. David Clarke, on behalf of the Hon. Michael Gallacher, agreed to:
          That the report be adopted.

          Report adopted.
      Third Reading

      Motion by the Hon. David Clarke, on behalf of the Hon. Michael Gallacher, agreed to:
          That this bill be now read a third time.

          Bill read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
      PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AMENDMENT BILL 2012
      Second Reading

      Debate resumed from 12 September 2012.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads and Ports) [5.17 p.m.], in reply: I thank all members who contributed to the debate. Last week when I made my contribution to the debate, I thought it was just going to be one of the contributions to the debate.

      The Hon. Walt Secord: It was a great contribution.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: It was a great contribution. I modestly acknowledge the interjection made by the Hon. Walt Secord.

      The Hon. Walt Secord: Unfortunately, Hansard does not show irony.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: My speech was off the cuff. Because the Parliamentary Secretary indicated he was making the second reading speech on my behalf, by making a contribution last week, technically I had begun the reply. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment Bill 2012 makes important amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979. The purpose of the bill is to help to manage the welfare of stock animals before their condition deteriorates to the point at which they must be destroyed. The situation is distressing for the stock owner and often for the surrounding farming community.

      The bill introduces a new mechanism to support the role of animal welfare agencies, such as the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League. It also will assist those in charge of stock animals to achieve better outcomes in situations in which stock are not receiving adequate care. The bill provides for intervention in stock welfare cases so that the stock either are restored to good health or are sold, with the net proceeds of sale going to the stock owner. It also provides an opportunity to educate and assist the owner or person in charge of stock animals to implement measures to restore the health of stock without the need for prosecutorial action, which is a terrific initiative.

      The bill gives the director general the power to establish on a case-by-case basis an expert stock welfare panel. The panel will investigate and report on the condition of livestock that have been identified as requiring care. The panel will assess and determine the condition of the stock, feed and pasture availability as well as the seasonal outlook for the livestock. The panel also will work with the owner or person in charge of the stock to develop a management plan aimed at restoring the stock to good health. The panel will monitor compliance with the management plan and will report to the director general on the measures being taken to manage the livestock, and their success or otherwise.

      The bill introduces new powers for the director general to issue an official warning by way of notice to the owner or person in charge of the livestock. An official warning may be issued only after considering the report of the stock welfare panel. An official warning will inform the stock owner or person in charge of the intention to authorise the seizure of the animals if the measures specified in the notice are not taken to improve their welfare. The stock welfare panel will monitor compliance with the measures specified in the official warning notice and will prepare a report for the director general at the expiration of the period specified in the notice. How much more sensible is that than what we saw in a few instances during the recent drought? If the stock owner or person in charge has failed to implement the necessary remedial measures, the bill provides the director general with the power to authorise the seizure and sale, or other disposal, of the livestock. The Hon. Cate Faehrmann, on behalf of The Greens, has foreshadowed five amendments to the bill.

      The Hon. Cate Faehrmann: I am moving only two of them—Nos 1 and 4.

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I thank the honourable member for that information. The first amendment seeks to amend proposed section 24O (3) by inserting the words "dehydration" and "poor body condition" so that the definition of "an animal in distress" means the animal is:
          … suffering from exposure to the elements, debility, exhaustion, dehydration, poor body condition or significant physical injury.

      The meaning of "debility" is the state of being weak or feeble. If an animal is suffering from dehydration or poor body condition it is considered to be debilitated. So, we contend the proposed extra words are unnecessary. The second amendment the honourable member was going to move—and which I will address anyway—sought to alter proposed sections 24P (5) (a), 24Q (2) (a) and 24V (2) to make clear that an inspector's powers to enter land include the power to enter any structure on land where animals are kept that is not a dwelling. As the Minister for Primary Industries noted in the other place, the legal definition of "land" includes structures on the land in question. On this basis, the proposed amendment—which the member has quite properly indicated she will not be moving—is considered unnecessary at this time.

      The third amendment proposed by The Greens seeks to amend proposed section 24T (1 ) (d) to provide that the stock welfare panel will consist of any other person or persons with expertise in animal welfare as the regulations may prescribe. This amendment is not supported. We believe it is unnecessary and overly prescriptive. The bill already provides for the Department of Primary Industries and the Livestock, Health and Pest Authority representative to have expertise in animal welfare or livestock management. That is important and it is already there. As a matter of course, at least one representative will be a vet. So, there are three: the Department of Primary Industries representative and the Livestock, Health and Pest Authority representative will have expertise in animal welfare or livestock management, and there will be a vet as well.

      Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate for the panel to include a member who has expertise in an area such as financial management, agronomy, social welfare or mental health. All these issues come up from time to time. Situations vary; not every situation is the same. In addition, the farmer may feel more comfortable or less threatened working with a panel if it included the local New South Wales Farmers Association representative, the local stock and station agent or the rural counsellor. That is why it is better to be less prescriptive in this area, to allow these sorts of things to happen.

      The Hon. Cate Faehrmann raised the issue of Wally's Piggery and claims the New South Wales Food Authority has not inspected the premises since 1993. It is incorrect for The Greens to suggest that there ought to have been greater oversight by the New South Wales Food Authority of Wally's Piggery. The New South Wales Meat Industry Authority, one of the Food Authority's predecessor organisations, has already prosecuted Valenti Perenc—the piggery owner—for a range of offences committed on 10 July 1993, including operating a slaughterhouse without a licence and threatening an authorised officer of the authority.

      The powers used to investigate these matters can be exercised only when the authorised officer forms a reasonable belief that the premises or vehicle is being used in connection with the sale of food, the handling of food intended for sale or to hold documents relating to these activities. However, neither the Food Authority nor its predecessor, the Meat Industry Authority, has the power to enter a piggery or any other farm unless there is a good reason for doing this. I would have thought that is something The Greens would have supported.

      These powers continue to be available to authorised officers of the New South Wales Food Authority and there is no question about the authority's commitment to exercise these powers whenever it has a reasonable belief that serious offences such as those reported at Wally's Piggery may be occurring. The authority actively investigates any complaints about unlicensed food or slaughtering operations and will issue fines or prosecute when evidence exists of illegal activity. The Food Authority did just that as soon as it became aware of the video footage on 2 August this year. I remind the House that the NSW Police Force, the Department of Primary Industries, the Food Authority and the RSPCA conducted a joint investigation of Wally's Piggery the next day. But to suggest that the Food Authority should in some way have been monitoring the operation of a piggery, which may or may not be raising livestock that would eventually become food—and therefore properly within the Food Authority's remit—is nonsense.

      This Government takes animal welfare issues very seriously. That is why we have introduced this bill and why we have allocated $7.5 million to the RSPCA for the redevelopment of the Yagoona shelter. The money is allocated over the 2011-2013 funding periods. These amendments will assist animal welfare agencies such as the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League to achieve the best possible outcome in animal welfare cases. They are a significant addition to the Act and will provide stronger means to prevent cruelty to animals, but in doing so will provide a commonsense and caring way out for the animals and, in particular, some of the families and owners involved. I commend the bill to the House.

      Question—That this bill be now read a second time—put and resolved in the affirmative.

      Motion agreed to.

      Bill read a second time.
      In Committee

      Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [5.30 p.m.]: I move The Greens amendment No. 1 on sheet C2012-125A:
          No. 1 Page 3, schedule 1 [2], proposed section 24O (3), line 18. Insert ", dehydration, poor body condition" after "exhaustion".

      I indicate at the outset that I will not be moving The Greens amendments Nos 2, 3 and 5. Amendment No. 1 expands the definition of "distress" to add dehydration and poor body condition. New section 24O (3) would then read as follows:
          (3) For the purposes of this Part, an animal is in distress if it is suffering from exposure to the elements, debility, exhaustion, dehydration, poor body condition or significant physical injury.

      The definition of "distress" in the bill appears to have been drawn from section 24H, pertaining to powers of police officers to detain vehicles or vessels. Section 24H applies specifically to when animals are being transported and is appropriate in those circumstances. However, concerns have been expressed that the section is rather narrow for the purposes of new section 24O, which applies to a wider range of animal welfare circumstances on the farm and would benefit from a broader definition. The Government has suggested that debility is sufficient. It is true that debility, being a state of weakness or infirmity, could cover animals in a state of poor body condition or dehydration. However, The Greens' principal reason for recommending the inclusion of "poor body condition" and "dehydration" is for evidentiary purposes.

      Experts in the RSPCA advise that debility is a harder state to prove than dehydration or poor body condition. It would be far easier for an inspector, or prosecutor if the action were challenged, to prove from a factual or scientific perspective that cattle or sheep were in poor body condition or were dehydrated than it is to prove that they were in a state of debility. Debility offers greater room for interpretation. If a vet were asked whether it would be easier to prove an animal was in a state of debility and poor body condition than to prove it was suffering from debility and dehydration, I am sure the answer would be the latter. For instance, a farmer could argue that cattle in a body score condition of two—that is, poor condition with bones starting to protrude—were not in a state of weakness or infirmity, which is debility, on the basis that they were still mobile and walking around. Poor body condition or dehydration of itself should be sufficient to enliven the proposed new power, particularly as the bill introduces a new collaborative process between the farmer and the stock welfare panel to prevent situations from worsening.

      This would be entirely consistent with section 24P, which deals with the director general responding to the animal's state of distress and being able to issue a warning because an animal has not been provided with necessary veterinary treatment or proper and sufficient food, drink or shelter. The stock welfare panel must determine the animal's condition each time it intervenes, but the insertion of "dehydration" and "poor body condition" provides for evidence to determine the state of the animal's condition. The amendment enables inspectors to comment on the condition of animals more thoroughly than simply by the term "debility". As I suggested, the stock welfare panel makes the final determination, but The Greens' amendment gives the panel greater ambit when assessing stock. The Greens urge all members in this place to support the amendment.

      The Hon. PAUL GREEN [5.34 p.m.]: On behalf of the Christian Democratic Party I shall speak briefly against the amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment Bill 2012. The object of the bill is to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 to make provision with respect to the seizure and disposal of certain stock animals, and for other purposes. Under the Act stock animals are defined as cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, horse, goats, deer and any other animal species that may be prescribed under the regulations. The bill defines a stock animal as being in distress if it is suffering from exposure to the elements, debility, exhaustion or significant physical injury. I note that exposure to the elements also is considered dehydration. This bill aims to provide for practical, cost-effective and educative intervention in stock welfare cases so that the stock are restored to good health before punitive measures are taken—that is, the carrot before the stick. It is a great way to educate people.

      Animal welfare agencies will be responsible for investigating the condition and welfare of the animals alleged to be at risk. Enforcement agencies, such as the RSPCA, the Animal Welfare League and the police will enforce offences listed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979. This bill will provide for a stock welfare panel to assess and report to the director general on the state of and appropriate care for the animal, and any other matter concerning its welfare that the director general considers appropriate. The panel will consist of an inspector authorised under the Act, an officer of the department and at least one representative of the Livestock Health and Pest Authority with expertise in animal welfare or livestock management.

      If the stock owner or person in charge is unable or unwilling to comply with the management plan issued by the panel the bill allows the director general to issue an official warning of intention to authorise seizure and disposal of stock animals. These two steps will provide ample time and notice for the stock owner to become educated on the welfare of their stock, and assist them to make practical changes to get the stock back to good health before punitive measures are pursued. If there is continued failure to comply and the condition of the stock is deteriorating the director general may, after considering the panel's report, recommend seizure and disposal or sale of the stock. If the stock is sold the proceeds will go to the stock owner.

      The Christian Democratic Party acknowledges that the bill is all about fair and equitable steps to assist and educate stock owners on animal welfare and safeguarding their stock; it is not about punishing good stock owners who genuinely try to look after their stock. I have been in similar situations regarding the eradication process of noxious weeds. Getting out amongst the people and educating them is a good model. I repeat: We need to use the carrot rather than the stick. If people do not comply and do the wrong thing then the stick—punitive measures—should be used, and the pressure should be great. The Christian Democratic Party does not support The Greens amendment but commends the bill without amendment.

      The Hon. RICK COLLESS [5.38 p.m.]: I make a few comments about the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment Bill 2012. It is important to appreciate what managing animals is all about.

      The Hon. Jeremy Buckingham: We know about managing animals: we deal with you every day.

      The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I note the interjection from the Hon. what's-his-name. I doubt whether he has ever in his life been in charge of managing a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep. He would not know if an animal was in poor condition.

      The Hon. Amanda Fazio: Point of order: My point of order is that the Hon. Richard Colless knows better than to refer to members in this place by anything other than their correct title. I ask the Deputy-President to direct the member to desist.

      The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Jennifer Gardiner): Order! I ask the Hon. Richard Colless to address members by their correct titles.

      The Hon. RICK COLLESS: If I have upset the Hon. Jeremy Buckingham I withdraw the reference to his being "Corncob Joe". People need to have an understanding of what is meant by exhaustion, suffering debility, dehydration and poor body condition in animals. In drought conditions animals can be in poor body condition but they can be strong and not exhausted. Farmers who are in the middle of a drought may have cattle in poor body condition that still maintain strength and the ability to forage for themselves and survive despite the fact they are on drought rations. Farmers in drought conditions that have stock in poor condition, but that are still strong and not suffering from exhaustion or any other debility, risk being caught by the amendment. For those reasons I think the amendment should be rejected. We have to be careful about choosing words that could catch people in a drought situation when their stock are not fat but are in a survivable condition.

      The Hon. MATTHEW MASON-COX (Parliamentary Secretary) [5.41 p.m.]: I echo the words of experience of the Hon. Richard Colless. His understanding of the issues far transcends that of those on the other side of the Chamber. I emphasise that the proposed amendment to insert the words "dehydration and poor body condition" into the definition in new section 24O (3) adds nothing of any consequence. If an animal is suffering from dehydration or poor body condition it is considered—if the circumstances are appropriate—to be debilitated, so the proposed extra words are unnecessary and redundant in the Government's view. I urge The Greens to reflect upon that.

      The Hon. STEVE WHAN [5.42 p.m.]: When I looked at these amendments my inclination was that the Opposition should support them. I was waiting to hear whether the Government had a strong argument not to support them. My only reservation about them was whether the definition would restrict the inspector's ability to make a judgement about cattle. From what the Government is saying, it does not do that. The Hon. Richard Colless commented that the reverse would apply. I have faith in the good judgement of the panels that will be put in place to interpret the rules. While the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary say that the amendment adds nothing, I do not see any problem with inserting the words. Therefore, the Opposition supports the amendment.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [5.43 p.m.]: I am glad that Labor is supporting the amendment. The Hon. Steve Whan has anticipated what I was going to say in reply: Inserting those words just gives the stock welfare panel and director general greater ambit to assess stock. They do not need to assess stock and immediately order anything, whether it be an official warning or for the stock welfare panel to meet. We know that the experts on the stock welfare panel will assess the stock, and if they are given the conditions of dehydration and poor body condition to assess stock against, it enables them slightly broader terms with which to make their assessment. We will trust that the people on the stock welfare panel—with support from The Greens next amendment—will be able to assess that with objectivity. The Greens urge the Committee to support this reasonable amendment.

      Question—That The Greens amendment No. 1 [C2012-125A] be agreed to—put and resolved in the negative.

      The Greens amendment No. 1 [C2012-125A] negatived.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [5.44 p.m.]: I move The Greens amendment No. 4 on sheet C2012-125A:
          No. 4 Page 6, schedule 1 [2], proposed section 24T (1) (d), line 25. Insert "with expertise in animal welfare" after "persons".

      The Greens second amendment deals with the composition of the stock welfare panel, ensuring that the composition of this panel will be appropriate for a regulatory committee of this nature and confined to animal welfare experts. The wording would then read, "Such other person or persons with expertise in animal welfare as the regulations may prescribe." This is a panel with a regulatory function established to give advice on the welfare of distressed livestock for the purposes of enforcement. It is not a stakeholder committee; it is an expert committee with a specific regulatory function that will advise the director general on enforcement issues. It is important that this panel is free from conflicts of interest.

      The Greens consider providing for regulations to allow any person to be invited on to the panel to be too broad in this regulatory context. It would not be appropriate to invite stakeholders in an advocacy role onto this panel. The amendment restricts the panel members to those who are experts in animal welfare. The Minister flagged in the second reading speech that someone with expertise in animal nutrition might be invited onto the panel. That would be completely appropriate and the amendment allows for that circumstance. However, the Minister also suggested that a representative from the NSW Farmers Association, for example, could be invited onto a panel if the stock owner wants it.

      The Greens fully support the NSW Farmers Association's participation in a stakeholder committee advising the Minister on stock animal welfare policies—that would be appropriate and highly desirable—but The Greens do not think it is wise for someone with an advocacy role to be included on this panel with its particular regulatory and enforcement function. The amendment would not preclude someone from the Farmers Association being invited onto the panel if they were an appropriately qualified expert on animal welfare and could contribute to the panel's considerations in that capacity. We note that the bill does not include provisions for dealing with any conflicts between the panellists, and such conflicts would be more likely if advocates were included rather than experts. The stock owner will be free to seek the services of the Farmers Association to assist them with their situation separate from the stock welfare panel. As the panel has a strict regulatory and enforcement function, The Greens amendment on its composition is entirely appropriate. The Greens urge members to support the amendment.

      The Hon. STEVE WHAN [5.47 p.m.]: The Opposition will not support The Greens amendment. Labor believes it is entirely appropriate for the panel to include someone from the NSW Farmers Association who may not have a formal qualification in animal welfare but certainly would have experience in animal welfare and stock. More importantly, I think it is entirely appropriate, when you look at the human perspective, for a farmer to have somebody there who can actually advocate their interests and put their side to the panel. That is not inappropriate in this case. The Opposition understands that stock welfare issues can sometimes be extremely difficult and emotional. It is appropriate that in those circumstances there is somebody present who can represent the farmer's point of view in the discussions that occur.

      I have concerns about what exactly are the qualifications required for "with expertise in animal welfare" and how those qualifications would be determined. I have heard debate over a long period about changes being made to requirements for farming and whether or not they, in the long term, constitute a licence to farm—which people become concerned about. It needs to be acknowledged that a person does not need to have formal qualifications to have expertise in animal welfare.

      The legislation makes it clear that the composition of these panels should be defined by regulation. The Parliament has the opportunity to disallow a regulation if the panel goes beyond the intent of the bill or there is an imbalance and the animal welfare component of the panel is overwhelmed by some other consideration. It is a fair way of ensuring that panels primarily have expertise in animal welfare and can make decisions about the welfare of stock while taking into account the real and often difficult issues confronting farmers during times of drought. We should acknowledge that, although the primary objective is the welfare of animals, the welfare of farmers is also a critical issue. They can be extremely stressed during these times and throughout rural New South Wales the mental health and welfare of farmers is of great concern to all who observe those situations. The Opposition opposes the amendment.

      The Hon. RICK COLLESS [5.51 p.m.]: I also oppose the amendment. The stock welfare panels are an extremely good idea. The bill refers to the four categories of members that comprise the panels. The first is an inspector. I understand the intent is for the inspector to be from the RSPCA, an animal welfare organisation or the police. The second category is to include at least one officer of the Department of Primary Industries with expertise in animal welfare or livestock management. That would normally be the local beef cattle officer or livestock officer. The third category is to include at least one representative of the Livestock Health and Pest Authority, again with expertise in animal welfare, which would be the Livestock Health and Pest Authority district veterinarian or a similar person. The Greens wish to insert the words "with expertise in animal welfare" as a requirement for a panel member in the fourth category.

      Already on the panel would be three people with expertise in animal welfare—members from the RSPCA or the Animal Welfare League, the Department of Primary Industries and the Livestock Health and Pest Authority. The words "other such person or persons as the regulations may prescribe" allow for a person who best fits the particular situation on the day. That may be a representative from NSW Farmers, if appropriate, or the local rural counsellor. It is not necessarily someone with skills or expertise in livestock management. As I said in the second reading stage, some of these issues are extremely delicate. More often than not the animals are drought-affected and the owners are traumatised because of the drought. Anybody who has had any dealings with farmers during times of drought would know the pressures that are placed on farmers when stock are in poor condition and they do not have the financial resources to properly feed them. I assure members that farmers suffer just as much as the livestock. It is a very delicate situation that needs to be handled carefully.

      In those situations the rural counsellor could very well fulfil the role. More often than not that counsellor would not necessarily have the skills or expertise in livestock management. They may have expertise in a range of other areas such as counselling, accountancy and skills to help people with their financial problems but not in livestock management. That measure should remain as it is. The regulations will prescribe who those people will be, and they may change from to time. I do not think there is any need to add the words "with expertise in animal welfare". It is better that the status quo remain.

      The Hon. PAUL GREEN [5.54 p.m.]: The Hon. Steve Whan said that sometimes all panel members do not need to be expert; sometimes just life experience is needed. It has been my experience on the land that people who work the land who sow their heart, soul, blood and tears into the land are much wiser than some of the experts who have gone to university to learn the necessary information. People who work the land bring a sobriety not only about the stock but also about the social impact on families. The last thing we want is a panel of experts on stock making assumptions based on expertise on stock alone.

      We need the humanitarian perspective to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for the stock, the farmer, the community and all stakeholders. Therefore, we do not support the amendment. In addition, one should always allow for the opportunity to coopt any expertise needed for specialty of stock on any particular occasion. There has to be room for movement rather than all the roles being filled. There needs to be sufficient flexibility to coopt expertise for individual situations that crop up at various times.

      The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM [5.56 p.m.]: The Greens' amendment does not preclude the involvement of counsellors; indeed, we encourage it. We acknowledge that these are delicate issues and that the panel will engage with farmers during times of duress. However, this is a stock welfare panel, not a farmer welfare panel. However, we acknowledge that there should be recognition of social welfare. This is the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment Bill and the panel should be populated by people who have expertise in that area. I agree with the Hon. Paul Green that there should be potential for the panel to coopt and engage with persons who have skills in farmer welfare, psychology and so on. The Greens do not suggest for a moment that it is inappropriate but a stock welfare panel should be populated with people who are experts principally in stock welfare.

      The Hon. MATTHEW MASON-COX (Parliamentary Secretary) [5.58 p.m.]: I reflect briefly on the wise words of experience of the Hon. Rick Colless once more, supplemented by those of the Hon. Paul Green. The Government clearly does not support the amendment. It is unnecessary and overprescriptive. The bill already provides for the Department of Primary Industries and Livestock Health and Pest Authority representatives to have expertise in animal welfare and livestock management. As the Hon. Rick Colless pointed out, as a matter of course at least one representative will be a veterinarian. Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate for the panel to include a member who has expertise in areas such as financial management, agronomy, social welfare or mental health. In addition, the farmer may well feel more comfortable or less threatened working with the panel if it included the local NSW Farmers representative. It is pretty clear that flexibility in this regulation is appropriate to meet these changing circumstances. Accordingly, the Government opposes the proposed amendment.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [5.59 p.m.]: It is almost as if we are no longer debating the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment Bill 2012. This is about appointing additional people to a stock welfare panel, which will report to the director general on the state of and appropriate care for animals and any other matters concerning their welfare. This is about the director general issuing warnings about the state of the animals and a stock welfare panel assessing the condition of animals in distress. I am pretty certain that nowhere in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act does it talk about the owners and their state of mind or their welfare. At some point the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act has to be about the welfare of the animals. That is what The Greens amendment is about.

      Members have spoken about the people who are already on the stock welfare panel: the inspector—who is probably an RSPCA inspector, or similar, and is obviously an expert in animal welfare—and at least one officer of the department with expertise in animal welfare or livestock management. I would hazard a guess that the departmental officer will be an expert in livestock management, not animal welfare—there are hardly any of them left because the Government has gutted the animal welfare unit in the Department of Primary Industries. I would also hazard a guess that the one representative of a livestock health and pest authority with expertise in animal welfare probably has expertise in livestock management. So we have that livestock management expert and another from the department as well as the animal welfare inspector, which is fine. In her second reading speech the Minister suggested that the third or fourth person appointed could be a representative of the NSW Farmers Association.

      So suddenly the panel could contain a representative of the NSW Farmers Association, advocating, lobbying for and defending the farmer's actions, and two people who will not advocate as strongly for animal welfare as would somebody from an organisation that puts animal welfare first and foremost. That is why The Greens have moved the amendment. Again, it has emanated, not surprisingly, from animal welfare organisations such as the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League, which deal with regulatory functions and the problems associated with them on a daily basis. Therefore, they jump at any opportunity to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, to strengthen their regulatory functions and to ensure that animal welfare is first and foremost. I am perplexed at the contribution of the Hon. Paul Green, who suggested having a counsellor on the board and referred to other issues. The bill is not about that. It is not about the conditions in the town at the time or what is happening with the farmer—as distressing and legitimate as those factors may be.

      The Hon. Paul Green: Point of order: The Hon. Cate Faehrmann is incorrect. It was the Hon. Rick Colless who suggested having a counsellor on the board. I would like to correct the record. It was a good suggestion by the Hon. Rick Colless.

      The CHAIR (The Hon. Jennifer Gardiner): Order! There is no point of order.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN: I was under the impression that the Hon. Paul Green was talking about other people being on the panel. As I said before, even though we share members' concerns about the impacts of drought, the distress it causes and all the associated impacts on regional and rural communities and farmers, the fact is that this bill is not about that. This bill is about the welfare of stock in drought conditions and the horrible situations that we know stock animals are found in. The bill is about creating a stock welfare panel; it is about animal welfare. I urge members to support The Greens amendment.

      The Hon. RICK COLLESS [6.05 p.m.]: I now understand where The Greens are coming from with this amendment. The Greens believe there is a difference between livestock management and animal welfare. I have been involved in livestock management all my working life in one form or another, as a livestock owner and in my role as an agricultural consultant, and I have yet to meet somebody involved in professional livestock management—as a farmer, a sheep and wool officer, a beef cattle officer or a piggery officer—who is not 100 per cent concerned about the welfare of the animals.

      The Hon. Cate Faehrmann: The meat and livestock authority doesn't have a good reputation for animal welfare.

      The Hon. RICK COLLESS: That is the whole point. A Department of Primary Industries livestock officer, a sheep and wool officer or a beef cattle officer who serves on a stock welfare panel will be absolutely concerned about the welfare of the animals. They will not just abandon animal welfare. As a livestock owner, my number one concern was the welfare of my cattle—looking after them and managing them properly. This amendment does not allow the livestock owner any involvement in the process. The Greens are trying to divorce the livestock owner from the process and make it purely a regulatory function—as they so often do. They have no comprehension of what livestock management is about. You cannot manage livestock properly if you do not manage the livestock owner properly. That is why in many circumstances a rural financial counsellor could end up being a member of the stock welfare panel, and rightly so. There are already three other livestock officers on the panel. This amendment should be thrown out.

      The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM [6.07 p.m.]: The comments of the Hon. Rick Colless and his generalisations show exactly why only animal welfare experts should serve on the stock welfare panel. It is a generalisation to say the only thing livestock managers consider when managing livestock is the animals' welfare. There are many other considerations and one of those is—

      The Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox: You are out of your depth; go back to CSG.

      The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM: I was marking and drenching lambs on the weekend at Kilfenora, outside Orange.

      The Hon. Rick Colless: Were you hurting them?

      The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM: Come on, mate. One of the key issues in maintaining livestock is that there is an economic imperative—every farmer knows that. Every farmer knows that a key consideration is how much it will cost to manage those animals, and sometimes that conflicts with animal welfare. There are key issues. Can farmers afford to keep the feed up to the animals? Can they afford to get the water to the animals? Can they afford to manage the animals appropriately? That is the conflict in this situation, and the Hon. Rick Colless knows that. That is why we do not want someone with that potential conflict on this panel. The person on the panel should not have an advocacy role for the management regime of the farmer rather than animal welfare. This bill is about the prevention of cruelty to animals and it is completely appropriate that the panel be populated by people who have that as their key objective. The panel should not make its deliberations in terms of the appropriate economic response of the farmer.

      The Hon. PAUL GREEN [6.10 p.m.]: The Hon. Rick Colless was merely getting to the basis of this argument. It is a marriage; it is symbiotic. This is about the livelihood of the people on the land. As the Hon. Rick Colless said, there is probably nothing worse for a farmer or a livestock producer than to have thousands of animals put down due to drought conditions. This bill is about prevention of cruelty, but when famers are locked in to 10 years of drought and have nothing to feed their stock their hands are tied. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act affects many stakeholders. The Hon. Rick Colless is saying that the last thing we need is to have a panel charging in and holding farmers to account for breaking the law while disregarding the socio-economic impact on the farmer, stakeholders and families in the community. There needs to be a balance. Having someone with an economic interest on the panel will ensure that not only are livestock treated appropriately but also livelihoods are considered and people are treated with compassion and mercy when they are in such a terrible situation.

      The Hon. STEVE WHAN [6.12 p.m.]: It would be a sad day if we considered all bills on the basis that they will impact only on whatever is in their title. We examine every piece of legislation on the basis of its impact on our society as a whole and the people involved in it. Otherwise decisions will be taken without any concern for the impact on others. In this case that is the farmers. It may be consumers in the case of other legislation that might increase costs or make it harder to buy something. It is wrong to suggest that this is a narrow bill that deals only with the animals. We are only considering these amendments in part because of some of the things that happened to farmers during the last drought. We know that farmers had difficulties with stock. We know that there were difficulties in removing and selling stock and returning the funds to farmers. All that relates to the business as an entirety and the people involved in it. It is wrong to suggest that this bill is so narrow that it does not impact on, and should not involve the wellbeing of, the farmers. That is why Labor will not support The Greens amendment.

      The Hon. Cate Faehrmann also said that the livestock health and pest authorities representative was likely to be a livestock officer. I would have thought it would be far more likely to be the livestock health and pest authorities veterinarian, which each authority still has. I hope that will remain the position when the Government finally decides what to do with the livestock health and pest authorities. That worries me immensely because I hear that they will be rolled into catchment management authorities and extension offices.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [6.14 p.m.]: As we are discussing this amendment it is concerning to hear members refer increasingly to things such as socio-economic factors, as mentioned by the Hon. Paul Green. The Hon. Steve Whan said we must take into account the welfare of the farmer. That is not in the bill. This bill does not address the welfare of the farmer. This bill is not supposed to take—

      The Hon. Steve Whan: That is an awful precedent to set.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN: I am sorry but this is about the welfare—

      The Hon. Rick Colless: That is their modus operandi: They don't care about farmers. You don't care about farmers, Cate. You haven't for years.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN: The interjection by the Hon. Rick Colless is an absolutely disgraceful comment and it is completely untrue. I am trying to deal with this bill objectively while recognising that it is a serious issue. This bill will establish a stock welfare panel to deal with situations when there is cruelty to animals. That includes when livestock are suffering from a drought, and possibly when farmers do not feed their animals either deliberately or because of the drought.

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Are you suggesting that they would deliberately not feed their animals?

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN: We know that there have been obscene and extreme cases of cruelty to animals in this State. We know that, we have seen it and we are all appalled by it. This bill is about the welfare of stock. Members in this place should not suddenly throw in socio-economic factors because they are not part of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Whether people like it or not, they are not in the Act. The welfare of the owners of other animals that have been mistreated is not taken into consideration when their dogs, cats or other animals are seized. These are the facts before us. I know that the amendment will not be passed but it is concerning that during their contributions many members have thrown out the original intent of this bill. It is not about socio-economic factors or the welfare of the farmer; it is about the welfare of the stock—pure and simple. I hate to say it, but that is what it is about.

      The Hon. SCOT MacDONALD [6.16 p.m.]: New section 24T (1) (b) and (c) make the amendment unnecessary. They provide that a stock welfare panel will comprise:
          (b) at least one officer of the Department with expertise in animal welfare or livestock management,

          (c) at least one representative of a livestock health and pest authority, with expertise in animal welfare or livestock management …

      The amendment is unnecessary. It is covered in the bill.
          Question—That The Greens amendment No. 4 [C2012-125A] be agreed to—put.

          The Committee divided.
      Ayes, 4
      Ms Barham
      Mr Buckingham

      Tellers,
      Ms Faehrmann
      Dr Kaye
      Noes, 30
      Mr Ajaka
      Mr Blair
      Mr Borsak
      Mr Brown
      Ms Cotsis
      Ms Cusack
      Mr Donnelly
      Ms Fazio
      Ms Ficarra
      Mr Green
      Mr Khan
      Mr Lynn
      Mr MacDonald
      Mrs Maclaren-Jones
      Mr Mason-Cox
      Mrs Mitchell
      Mr Moselmane
      Reverend Nile
      Mrs Pavey
      Mr Primrose
      Mr Roozendaal
      Mr Searle
      Mr Secord
      Ms Sharpe
      Mr Veitch
      Ms Voltz
      Ms Westwood
      Mr Whan


      Tellers,
      Mr Colless
      Dr Phelps
      Question resolved in the negative.

      The Greens amendment No. 4 [C2012-125A] negatived.

      Schedule 1 agreed to.

      Title agreed to.

      Bill reported from Committee without amendment.
      Adoption of Report

      Motion by the Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox, on behalf of the Hon. Duncan Gay, agreed to:
          That the report be adopted.
      Third Reading

      Motion by the Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox, on behalf of the Hon. Duncan Gay, agreed to:
          That this bill be now read a third time.

          Bill read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
      [The Assistant-President (Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile) left the chair at 6.28 p.m. The House resumed at 8.00 p.m.]
      CLASSIFICATION (PUBLICATIONS, FILMS AND COMPUTER GAMES) ENFORCEMENT AMENDMENT (R 18+ COMPUTER GAMES) BILL 2012
      Second Reading

      The Hon. JOHN AJAKA (Parliamentary Secretary) [8.00 p.m.], on behalf of the Hon. Michael Gallacher: I move:
          That this bill be now read a second time.
      I seek leave to incorporate my second reading speech in Hansard.

      Leave granted.
          The Government is pleased to introduce the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012. The purpose of the bill is to amend the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995 (NSW) to introduce enforcement provisions for an R 18+ rating for computer games. Computer games are classified under the National Classification Scheme, which provides uniform national classification of publications, films and computer games. The national scheme operates with the support of all Australian jurisdictions.

          The Classification Board and the Review Board, which decide appropriate classifications for individual films and computer games, are established under Commonwealth legislation. Procedures to enforce the classifications are set out in State and Territory laws. In New South Wales this law is the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995. At the moment, unlike films, computer games can only be classified as: G, general, which signifies the content as very mild; PG, parental guidance, which signifies the content as mild; M, mature, which signifies the content as moderate; and MA 15+, mature accompanied, which signifies the content as strong.

          Generally, the same considerations apply in classifying films and computer games. Until now there has been no classification for computer games equivalent to the R 18+ rating for films that would allow games appropriate for adults to be legally available in Australia. After a lengthy consultation process, the Commonwealth and all States and Territories agreed last year to introduce an R 18+ classification for computer games and Commonwealth legislation has been amended to permit computer games to be classified R 18+ from 1 January 2013. The bill will amend the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995. It will introduce provisions into the New South Wales enforcement regime that will permit and regulate the sale, delivery and exhibition of computer games that have been classified R 18+ and create associated offences.

          An R 18+ classification for computer games will bring the treatment of computer games into line with the treatment of films and it will make the Australian regime more consistent with international standards. An R 18+ rating will identify a computer game as unsuitable for minors while allowing it to be available to adults. Introducing the R 18+ rating reflects the principles that underpin the National Classification Scheme—that adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want, while protecting minors from material likely to harm or disturb them. It takes account of community concerns about content that condones or incites violence, particularly sexual violence, or portrays people in a demeaning manner, and it will allow adults to be protected from being unwittingly exposed to unsolicited material that might offend them.

          Because the highest classification available now for computer games is MA 15+, any computer game that is at present determined to exceed the MA 15+ guidelines—including any computer game designed specifically for adults—is refused classification by the Classification Board. The question of whether it is appropriate to introduce an R 18+ classification has been the subject of extensive public consultation and has received widespread support throughout Australia. More than 58,000 individuals and organisations nationwide provided written submissions to a discussion paper in early 2010. Of those, 98 per cent thought an R 18+ rating should be introduced and 80 per cent of the 2,000 Australians polled later in 2010 agreed, including 76 per cent of adults from households with children under 18 years of age.

          The guidelines that govern the Classification Board's decisions have been amended to incorporate the new adults-only R 18+ rating to provide detailed guidance in relation to sexual violence and illicit drug use. Content is allowed to include material with high impact, including violence, provided it is not frequently gratuitous, exploitative or offensive to a reasonable adult. Content that includes actual sexual violence, implied sexual violence that is visually depicted, interactive, not justified by context or is related to incentives or rewards, explicit depictions of actual or simulated sexual activity, or interactive illicit drug use, will not be permitted in R 18+ computer games and will continue to be refused classification. Consensual sexually explicit material akin to content that is permitted in films classified X 18+ will also continue to be refused classification in computer games. The introduction of the R 18+ classification is likely to push violent content at the upper limits of the current MA 15+ into R 18+ territory and lead to some MA 15+ games being reclassified as R 18+.

          The actual provisions in this bill mirror those that govern the sale and exhibition of R 18+ films. Computer games that are classified R 18+ must be clearly marked and public demonstrations are prohibited in the presence of minors. Games with a rating of R 18+ cannot be sold, delivered or privately demonstrated to a child under 18 years of age, except by the child's parent or guardian. These provisions provide effective protection for children from being exposed to adult-only content in the outside world. Parents must take responsibility for ensuring that children are protected from inappropriate material at home. The addition of an R 18+ classification and the provisions in the bill represent a sensible extension to the National Classification Scheme that properly balances the interests of adult gamers with the protection of children. I commend the bill to the House.

      The Hon. ADAM SEARLE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [8.01 p.m.]: I lead for the Opposition on the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012. The Opposition does not oppose this bill. The object of the bill is to amend the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995, to give effect to a national agreement about computer games. Specifically, it was an agreement by all Australian jurisdictions to introduce an R 18+ classification for computer games.

      The decision was taken more or less at a meeting of what was then called the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General in July 2011 in Adelaide. New South Wales abstained because the Government had not worked out its position. Obviously it had not made a Cabinet decision or adopted any of the other courses open to it as a government. However, as this bill bears testament the Government now supports the proposition and has joined the rest of the country. Australian in turn now joins the United States, New Zealand, Europe and many other countries in having this classification.

      Of course, the flaw in the system is that a large numbers of games, including those that have been refused classification, are still being downloaded from the web in any event. Some argue in support of the proposal that games that had inappropriately slipped through with a lower classification will now receive a proper classification. However, this bill is not the vehicle for a debate on the merits or demerits of the R 18+ concept. This bill accepts that this classification scheme is appropriate and agreed and implements it. The rules introduced for R 18+ computer games are largely consistent with the restrictions on R 18+ films.

      The bill does a number of things. It prohibits the sale or delivery of computer games that are classified R 18+ to a person who is under 18 years of age except by a parent or guardian. There are statutory defences relating to the minor producing documentary evidence of not being a minor, of the defendant reasonably believing the minor was an adult, if the minor was employed for a delivery during the course of that employment. Parents and guardians must not permit minors to attend the demonstration in a public place of a R 18+ computer game. A person must not display publicly a computer game classified R 18+ if a minor is present.

      Statutory defences are provided. There are prohibitions on sale or public demonstration of R 18+. A private demonstration of all R 18+ computer games is prohibited unless the person demonstrating is a parent or guardian. There are also provisions requiring the display of particular markings. There are also provisions ensuring that public libraries do not demonstrate or lend R 18+ games to minors. The Opposition does not oppose the bill.

      The Hon. GREG DONNELLY [8.04 p.m.]: I participate in debate on the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012. I do not intend to speak at length on the history and purpose of the bill. For those specifically interested in these matters, I draw their attention to pages 1 to 4 of the "Legislation Review Digest No. 24/55" of the New South Wales Parliament; to the contributions in the other place of the Attorney General and the shadow Attorney General; and to the comments and reflections of my parliamentary colleague the Deputy Leader of the Opposition this evening.

      The object of the bill is to amend the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995 to give effect to the decision by all Australian jurisdictions to introduce an R 18+ classification for computer games. Procedures for the classification of computer games are set out in relevant Commonwealth legislation. Procedures for the enforcement of those classifications are set out in State and Territory laws. This bill amends certain New South Wales legislation as follows:
          (a) by prohibiting the sale or delivery of computer games classified R 18+ to a minor (that is, to a person who is under 18 years), except by a parent or guardian of the minor,

          (b) by prohibiting the public demonstration of computer games classified R 18+ if a minor is present during any part of the demonstration,

          (c) by prohibiting the private demonstration of computer games classified R 18+ in the presence of a minor, except by a parent or guardian of the minor,

          (d) by requiring computer games classified R 18+ to display determined markings and consumer advice, indicating the classification of the games and what that classification means,

          (e) by ensuring that public libraries, which are otherwise exempt from offences for restricted material held by them, do not demonstrate or lend computer games classified R 18+ to minors.

      Some have argued that there has been delay in getting this bill before Parliament and that this is somehow an unsatisfactory situation. I do not agree. The delay, to the extent that one could call it delay over the last 12 months or so, comes about as a result of careful deliberation over the development and finalisation of the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games. It should come as no surprise that with nine interested parties involved—namely, the Commonwealth, States and Territories—the development and finalisation of the guidelines will take an appropriate period.

      It was only on 12 September 2012 that the responsible Commonwealth Minister, the Hon. Jason Clare, issued a media release publicising the new guidelines. I encourage members interested in this matter to look at the guidelines. They are to be found at www.classification.gov.au. The final version of the new guidelines is much better than the earlier drafts. Getting this achieved took a fair bit of effort, and they are not perfect by any means. I agree with the observations made by some experts that they should be tighter, especially in the area of violence and, in particular, sexual violence. I believe that further refinement of the guidelines should take place and that it should not be too far into the future.

      In arguing the case for strong, robust guidelines, I acknowledge the tireless work of Barbara Biggins, who is the honorary chief executive officer of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, Dr Wayne Warburton from the Children and Families Research Centre at Macquarie University, and Professor Elizabeth Handsley from Flinders University Law School. I have the privilege of knowing these three people. They are not just leading the debate in Australia about the impact of violence and sexual images on the wellbeing of children and young people; they are also advancing the debate on the international stage. I publicly thank them for their efforts and encourage them to continue their important work. I also acknowledge the work of the New South Wales Attorney General, the Hon. Greg Smith, for his persistence in pushing to get the best guidelines possible. His policy adviser, Noel McCoy, also played an important role in getting the result that was finally achieved, and I wish to acknowledge his efforts.

      On 20 June I had the privilege of sponsoring here at Parliament House the launch of the book Growing Up Fast and Furious—Reviewing the impacts of violent and sexualised media on children. The book is edited by Wayne Warburton and his academic colleague Danya Braunstein. Contributors to the book include a distinguished group of people, including a number of international academics who specialise in this area: John Murray, Craig Anderson and, of course, Wayne Warburton, Ed Donnerstein, Louise Newman, Cordelia Fine, Emma Rush, Elizabeth Handsley, Danya Braunstein and Alan Hayes. I quote directly from Wayne Warburton's speech at the book launch:
          Before thanking, on behalf of Danya and myself, the many wonderful people who made this book and this launch possible, I would like to speak about 3 issues that this book highlights.

          The first is the issue of whether the "jury is out" on the impact of violent or sexualised media on children. If I were to read from the newspapers or to poll the average Australian, it is likely that I would get the answer "yes". But how divided is the scientific community on this issue really?

          As a part of the scientific community studying such impacts, my experience has been that there is a remarkable consensus among active researchers about several issues. For example, the vast majority accept that exposure to violent media is causally linked with an increased likelihood of aggressive behaviour in the short and long term, with increased desensitisation to violence, with greater fears about the real world, and with changed thoughts and feelings about aggressive behaviour.

          However, nothing is ever absolutely proven in science. There are a small number of studies that do not find these effects, and so, as in law and in science, media scientists have to make decisions on the evidence. Are the effects shown "on the balance of probabilities" or demonstrated "beyond reasonable doubt"? When the evidence is collated a truly huge number of studies can be drawn on to show these effects. More than a thousand in the television literature and over 400 on video game effects alone.

          The number of disconfirming studies is small, and, importantly, Distinguished Professor Craig Anderson, [from the United States] one of the authors in the book, has shown that the best designed studies show the effects most strongly. That is why the vast majority of active researchers find the evidence for these effects compelling.

          One must always have regard to the disconfirming evidence, but in this field, dissenting scientists are rare (although very loud and well publicised), often funded by industry, and rarely conduct actual research themselves. To return to the legal analogy, there is evidence on both sides of the debate but the jury is "in". Most active research psychologists in this area are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that these effects are real and important.

          The second issue relates to the science of media psychology. Two phrases that I am quite frankly sick of hearing in the children and media discourse are "moral panic" and "nanny state". Even though media issues have a moral dimension, the main issues are about science. What does the research tell us about the impact of media on children? I don't see many people, in this room or elsewhere, in a state of hysteria or panic.

          Rather, I see, in parents at my daughter's school, in professionals who work with children, in policy makers, an intelligent interest in finding the facts, so that the best possible decisions about children's media use can be made, decisions that create an environment where media is a positive influence on child development and not a negative one.

          Sometimes this involves creating policies and laws. In my view, laws that properly balance adult freedoms with adequate protections for children, which embrace the notion of a "child friendly society", are not the hallmark of a "nanny state" (whatever that means) but simply good governance that reflects the wishes of the majority of Australians. The key to finding this balance is having a good evidence base for policy and legislation, and creating forward thinking laws and policies that reach decades ahead rather than years ahead.

          The third issue is how children themselves engage with media. Gone are the days of simply keeping televisions out of a child's bedroom. Through iPhones, iPods, iPads and a range of portable broadband-capable devices, media is available to many children 24 hours a day, in any location that broadband reaches.

          The issue then, now more than ever, is how do we help children engage with media in a developmentally appropriate and helpful way? One answer is by helping children understand media in a similar way to their understanding of that all-important facet of a child's life—food.

      In respect to the references to which he alluded—that is, the academic evidence about the deleterious effects of violence and sexual imagery on children and young people—I refer specifically to academic journals. The first is Psychological Bulletin 2010 Volume 136, No. 2, pages 151 to 173, entitled "Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression, Empathy, and Prosocial Behavior in Eastern and Western Countries: A Meta-Analytic Review" and the lead author is Craig Anderson. The next is from the same journal, Psychological Bulletin 2010 Volume 136, No. 2, pages 179 to 181, entitled "Nailing the Coffin Shut on Doubts that Violent Video Games Stimulate Aggression: Comment on Anderson et al. (2010)" by L. Rowell Huesmann from the University of Michigan. The final reference is a recent article entitled "Report of the Media Violence Commission—Media Violence Commission, International Society for Research on Aggression" 2012, Volume 38, pages 335 to 341.

      Those particular articles explain in significant detail the impact of the viewing of this material by children and young people. With respect to the creation of the new R 18+ classification for computer and video games the argument is that some games have been shoehorned into the MA 15+ classification that otherwise would be appropriately categorised in the R 18+ classification if it existed. In respect to the meetings of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General over the past 12 months in the finalisation of the guidelines, I place on record that on Friday 22 July 2011 in Adelaide the Hon. Brendan O'Connor, MP, with the New South Wales Attorney General, Greg Smith, and the South Australian Attorney General, John Rau, dealt with the meeting convened to discuss this matter. The Commonwealth Minister said in respect to the new classification framework:
          And also it will then allow the reclassification of some games pursuant to the new guidelines, which will mean that we will be able to take games that are currently played by children and place them into an adult classification, which again, I say, is in the interest of families in this country and in the interests of parental guidance.
      Two pages later the New South Wales Attorney General, the Hon. Greg Smith, supported those comments and said:
          I'm particularly pleased with the Minister's assurance that unsuitable MA15+ videos are likely to be removed and reclassified as R18+. So that's basically all I have to say.

      The Attorney General further states:

          The ones under the MA 15+ I think some of them are undesirable for the younger people. I think they are more in the adult category and I am heartened by thoughts of that being moved into the adult category.

      Following the introduction of the new framework on 1 January 2013 steps will be taken to look at what are colloquially referred to as the 50 video and computer games—at least 50—that it is believed in one way or another have been shoe-horned into the MA 15+ category and should now be rated at the higher classification. I conclude by acknowledging and thanking the NSW Commissioner of Police, Andrew Scipione, who recently made public comment regarding his concern about the impact of violent video games. The Commissioner of Police has shown public leadership in a number of important areas. For example, he has spoken vocally and strongly on the issue of the abuse of alcohol, in particular by young people. Two months ago he spoke of his concerns about the potential impact on the behaviour of children and young people of some of the material in computer and video games.

      There are those who find that such comments are not politically correct and would like to dismiss them as being soft or—using Wayne Warburton's phrase—encouraging a nanny State. The evidence I have cited this evening leaves no doubt about the causal link between this material and its effect on the growing brains of children and young people. As legislators we have a duty to appreciate and understand that scientific evidence and bring it to bear in the deliberation and development of legal frameworks that Parliament seeks to put in place for the protection of the community. I thank the NSW Commissioner of Police for his contribution to this important debate.

      Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [8.22 p.m.]: I speak for The Greens on the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012. The Greens support this bill. The bill supports the creation of an R 18+ category, which will be effected by the Federal Government under the Federal classification scheme. This bill proposes to adopt the Federal classification scheme within the current New South Wales Act. Commencement of the New South Wales and Commonwealth Acts is set for 1 January 2013.

      What does the bill do? Schedule 1 specifies that R 18+ classified games must not be sold or delivered to a person under 18 years of age by anyone other than their parent or guardian. The maximum penalty for such an offence is 100 penalty units for an individual and 200 penalty units for a corporation. It is a significant penalty. It is a defence to this offence if the defendant believed on reasonable grounds that the minor was an adult. Schedule 1 inserts further provisions—sections 31A, 31A and 33 (1) A—to ensure that R 18+ computer games cannot be publicly or privately demonstrated in the presence of minors. It is a further protective measure.

      Schedule 1, item [8] provides that R 18+ classifications must be clearly marked on relevant products as per the existing scheme. Schedule 1, item [11] ensures that public libraries do not lend or demonstrate R 18+ computer games to minors. Schedule 2 adds to the definition of "matter unsuitable for minors" internet content consisting of materials classified as R 18+. The bill adopts the Federal classification and puts in place a series of protective measures to ensure that material classed R 18+ cannot get into the hands of minors and cannot be publicly demonstrated to minors.

      I acknowledge that there is concern in the community about violent video games and the impact that they potentially have on children and young adults. I recall one of the pithiest quotes from The Simpsons. Lisa Simpson came home and saw Bart watching a particularly violent television program. She asked, "Should you be doing that, Bart?" Bart responded, "If you do not watch the violence, Lisa, you'll never be desensitised to it." There is an element of truth in that, albeit it comes from a cartoon.

      The classification and control of video game content should follow an evidence-based rational process. The Greens have long supported an R 18+ classification for video and computer games in Australia and it was one of the issues we took to the 2010 election. We have consistently supported an update to laws in this area. The Commonwealth Government deserves credit for undertaking extensive consultation on this. From December 2009 the proposal was open for submissions and did not close until the end of February 2010. Draft guidelines were released in May 2011 with submissions received until 15 July 2011. The submissions were overwhelmingly in support of the classification scheme and having an R 18+ classification. In July 2011, once those submissions were reviewed, the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General supported the in-principle introduction of an R 18+ category for video games. Unfortunately, at the time New South Wales abstained from that vote.

      It raised the possibility that New South Wales would have a set of 1980 laws to regulate a twenty-first century computer games industry and a set of laws that did not take into account the significant changes that have happened in the way media is distributed and consumed. Fortunately, on 19 March this year the Federal House of Representatives passed the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill. That bill still needs to pass the Senate, as I understand it. When it does—and there is a comfortable majority in the Senate to pass the bill—it is set to commence on 1 January 2013. The timeframe is intended to give States such as New South Wales time to pass the kind of complementary legislation the House is debating tonight.

      To allay the concerns of some people about what kind of content will get through the net and be allowed to be classified as R 18+, I will read on to the record the considerations under the Federal bill for the classification of films or computer games. The first consideration is the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults. The second consideration is the literary, artistic or educational merit, if any, of the publication, film or computer game. The third consideration is the general character of the publication, film or computer game, including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character. The last consideration is the persons or class of persons to or amongst whom it is published or intended or likely to be published.

      The national classification code is a complementary document to the Act that specifies the principles underpinning the classification scheme in Australia. First, adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want. Secondly, minors should be protected from material that is likely to harm or disturb them. Thirdly, everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material that they find offensive. Fourthly, I refer to the need to take account of community concerns about depictions that condone or incite violence, particularly sexual violence, and the portrayal of persons in a demeaning manner.

      That is the Federal scheme within which computer games—MA 15+ and R 18+—will be classified. It is a scheme that, on the whole, suggests that adults should be able to see, hear and consume material that they choose but with protections in place—particularly against explicit sexual violence, unnecessary violence and protective measures for minors. The Greens welcome what they see as long overdue changes to classification laws in this State. Classification laws are an important way to ensure that enough information is available about computer games and films to determine their suitability for children and young people. As a community we accept that this system allows a balance to be struck between free access by adults to materials and protection of children and minors from material that may harm or disturb them.

      To date the absence of an R 18+ video category has put pressure on the Federal classifiers to classify a series of quite seriously violent games as MA 15+. The matter was alluded to by the Hon. Greg Donnelly, and there is some truth in that claim. The absence of the R 18+ meant some games received questionable classifications and the higher classification rating will enable those more violent games to be given a clear and restricted classification. The current situation is that games that should have an R 18+ rating are simply refused classification. However, anyone who uses the internet knows this does not mean that children and young people cannot access it; they continue to do so, and in the past have had substantial access to these kinds of games. The games have simply not had any information available.

      The absence of an R 18+ category for those classes of video games in Australia has removed one important piece of information from parents and others enabling them to make decisions for themselves and their families. Often this has resulted in illegal downloading of the games, with no information being available to parents. When parents try to see what their children are playing they might see only a small snippet of it, not realising that further development of the game's plot leads to quite appalling depictions of violence. However, the classifiers will see the whole of the game and be able to place a considered classification on it. That classification will then be available to parents. Even if the children do not have a box or some product information about the game while they are playing it, parents will be able to see what game their children are playing, ask the name of it, Google the name and find out its classification rating. That kind of information empowers parents and protects minors. The Greens support the bill. It is a good step forward. It should have happened a while ago but it is happening now, so good luck to the Government.

      The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO [8.31 p.m.]: I support the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012. As loath as I am to agree with Mr David Shoebridge, I do believe that this bill is long overdue. In fact, we would have had a proper classification system for computer and video games with an R 18+ classification quite some time ago if this had not been blocked by the Attorney General of a smaller State at the meetings of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General referred to earlier. The problem comes about when we insist on having uniform laws on some matters and smaller States block national initiatives that would be of great benefit to the community.

      I am very pleased that the bill is being supported. Indeed, all aspects of the bill are in line with the Australian Labor Party's national platform on the rights of adults to view and see whatever they want, with the caveats about unsolicited material, the protection of children and not supporting imagery that exploits vulnerable people. This is good legislation. Networks of video gamers, as well as the people who sell video games and computer games, are very pleased that this bill has finally come to pass.

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Are you a gamer, Amanda?

      The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO: This bill brings us into the twenty-first century. Other countries have had this legislation for a long time. In response to the interjection by the Hon. Dr Peter Phelps, which I must remind him is unparliamentary, yes, I do play computer games but certainly not these sorts of role-playing games, because I think they are very boring.

      The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK [8.34 p.m.]: I, too, support the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012 and I congratulate the Attorney General on introducing it. Parents struggle to understand and reconcile the classification system with the actual movies. This is definitely more of an issue for the industry than it is for government. I am from the generation that grew up with Etch A Sketches and we have all been hit with PlayStations and Xboxes. My sons are now 15 and 18 but I found as a parent that the G-rated material available for 12- and 13-year-old boys were things such as Teletubbies, Finding Nemo, Tortoise in Love and The Wiggles. Those kids are not interested in that; they are way past those themes. They would be interested in Harry Potter, Star Wars, Spiderman—cartoon characters to all of us—but they are all rated MA 15+. Every Christmas the grandparents ring up asking what they can get the boys for Christmas. The boys asked for a game but the grandparents did not have a clue. The boys kept saying that they wanted Grand Theft Auto, which they have been playing at the home of their friends, but it is about stealing cars.

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: It is not just stealing cars.

      The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: No, and it came as a great shock when the game arrived. I obviously welcome more information but the industry is inappropriately pitching Harry Potter, which I would have thought would be of interest to a 12-year-old boy, not a 15-year-old boy. The industry seems to be pitching these things one level above the actual age group and it is really challenging for parents. We are definitely out of our depth because we do not play these games, we are not interested in them and we have to rely on word of mouth. Gaming companies should start to produce more age-appropriate, interesting themes, particularly for boys in the 10-years to 15-years age group, which is an important age group. I acknowledge the link between exposure to violence, either through videos or in the home, and the impacts on behaviour. Boys between 10 and 15 years are at a formative stage and, frankly, what is available on the market at the moment is just not meeting their needs and is not appropriate.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [8.37 p.m.]: I support the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012 and acknowledge the contributions of my colleague Mr David Shoebridge. The Greens have long been on the record as supporting this much-needed change to video game classifications. We recognise the obvious reality that adults should be able to view content whether or not it is suitable for children. We have come a long way since the beginning of film censorship in Australia in 1917 when Customs regulations prohibited the import of content that was not first approved by a board of censors. That board was authorised to ban anything that was "blasphemous, indecent or obscene; likely to be injurious to morality, or to encourage or incite to crime; was likely to be offensive to any ally of Great Britain; or depicted any manner the exhibition of which, in the opinion of the Board, was undesirable in the public interest".

      This was obviously a very broad ambit and, despite some minor changes over the decades, it was not until the 1970s that Australia moved away from censorship to a classification system. The policy of the Whitlam Government was that adult persons should be free to read, view and hear what they wish; persons and those in their care should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material offensive to them; and the reasons for censorship decisions should be published. They appear fairly basic and commonsense principles but they were a dramatic change for the time. Over the course of the 1970s and 1980s and leading up to the current scheme, brought into operation in the mid 1990s, classification has undergone various other revolutions, including a significant shift from a focus on Customs regulation to point-of-sale regulation. The classification system is vital in regulating material which is freely available for adults while protecting children from this same material which may harm or disturb them.

      Ratings are important in providing information to assist in making decisions about the suitability of material for minors. As we have heard tonight, in the absence of an R 18+ rating, adult gamers have been deprived of information that they could use to make a decision about a game—and it is not just about content. The addition of this rating will assist parents in making informed decisions in their supervision of children and minors who are playing video games. It is naive to think that video games which would potentially attract the R 18+ rating do not exist in Australia. Anyone who knows the internet will be well aware how easily files can be downloaded, regardless of their legality. R 18+ games do exist in Australia as a result of these downloads.

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Oh, The Greens have no respect for copyright.

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN: Without a classification videos are pushed underground and remain unregulated. It is naive to think otherwise and anyone who knows the internet would know that, the Hon. Dr Peter Phelps.

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Do you watch the interweb?

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN: The interweb? I am not sure. While it would be similarly naive to assume that these downloads would cease with the introduction of the new classification, the R 18+ rating would provide regulation for these types of games. Greater scrutiny of the content within these games will inevitably occur. In contrast to the current unregulated system, the public will be provided with information about the rating of games which will potentially be rated R 18+ in order to assess its suitability.

      When it comes to classification, video games pose special challenges. We have seen much in recent years in the media about the potential impacts on children and adults of extreme violence in video games and the new kinds of interactivity that gaming provides with potentially damaging material. I note that the Hon. Greg Donnelly spoke at length about that—not that I agreed with everything he said. Experts are divided about the potential harm of video games; however, most agree that parents should and can limit harm by limiting exposure to more extreme material. Tonight I want to speak about the sexism and sexualised violence that is common in video games. It is more common in games and gaming than many would realise or acknowledge. I draw the attention of the House to a female gamer from California, Anita Sarkeesian, who has begun a video project called Tropes vs. Women, to explore what I and many other people see as a worrying trend. Anita writes on her website:
          I love playing video games but I'm regularly disappointed in the limited and limiting ways women are represented.

      Anita is creating a video project to explore, analyse and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in video games. I agree with Anita that many games reinforce sexist and misogynistic perceptions of women. This should be challenged. The Guardian has an article from Rachel Weber, who is a full-time writer at GamesIndustry International. Rachel talks about how Anita got thousands of horrific internet comments, of which "I hope you get cancer" was the mildest. This is in response to Anita saying she was going to do a video project to explore, analyse and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes—a comment hardly worth thousands of horrible, hate-filled, misogynistic comments. I return to the article in the Guardian. Rachel Weber continues:
          However shocked you are at the words used, we have to realise that this sort of ultra-sexism is being reinforced by the supposedly forward-thinking tech companies at the very top of the industry.

          There are the manufacturers who hire the booth babes to stand by their products; the marketing men who sign off on the sexist advertising; the company events where idiots are paid actual money to talk like a 1960s pub landlord.

          You know there's an issue when even the dullest of the computer firms are getting in trouble for a badly judged tweet about a (female, obviously) model's behind.

      When one looks at what Anita is talking about in terms of exploring, analysing and deconstructing the female role one sees that she lists a lot of the standard female stereotypes in video games: the women who are wearing strips of fabric that you could not call bikinis; images of women with oversized breasts; and other appalling depictions of women. Our children are growing up playing these games and the games are normalising the objectification of women, sexual violence and obscene relationships between the genders. This issue goes further than just being an issue of R 18+ video games.

      Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: Are you against it?

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN: No, we support the bill. But it is a conversation that we have to have. Feminists are divided on this issue and it is an interesting discussion within the feminist movement. I am confident with my feminism in saying that the gamers and the sexism in games need to be challenged. The Greens support the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012. We support the fact that the bill will provide greater scrutiny and greater regulation of video games. However, there is a bigger conversation related to this issue that we as a Parliament need to have.

      The Hon. Dr PETER PHELPS [8.45 p.m.]: I acknowledge the hard work done by members in the Australian Liberal Students Federation and the Young Liberal Movement who sought to have an 18+ category registered for computer games. It was not popular and there were certain conservative elements who were opposed to it. Their tireless and unceasing effort has finally paid off. I pay tribute to those who believe that adults should be able to do what adults want to do as long as they do not hurt others. Considering this bill amends the law in relation to computer games, it would be remiss of me not to say in passing:
          You cannot judge me. I am justice itself! We were meant for more than this! To protect the innocent! But if our precious laws bind you all to inaction ... then I will no longer stand as your brother.

      Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [8.46 p.m.]: I speak on behalf of the Christian Democratic Party to oppose the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012. I will be calling for a division when we come to the second reading vote on this bill and I hope for support from members who have expressed concern. I know it is difficult for Labor members such as the Hon. Greg Donnelly and others but my hope is that they will cross the floor or get permission to cross the floor and vote with the Christian Democratic Party and the Shooters and Fishers Party in the division.

      It is a sad night tonight because the Coalition has got into bed with The Greens and with the Labor Party on this issue. The Greens and the Labor Party have always campaigned for more permissive legislation in the area of censorship. They have always campaigned for changes to our censorship laws. The Coalition has resisted that pressure over the years. I was very pleased when the Federal and State Attorneys General, under pressure from the Federal Attorney-General, met to adopt this legislation. I understand that all the State Attorneys General agreed except for Mr Greg Smith, the New South Wales Attorney General. Greg Smith said no and he left the meeting. I wrote a letter to him congratulating him on standing up on this issue. But, sadly, a short time later he announced that the Coalition had changed its policy and was joining with the Federal Labor Government, which was driving this issue, and the other States to bring about a national uniform policy.

      It was very sad and disappointing for me, because I have known Greg Smith for many years and I thought he would show more backbone on this issue. I recognise that there are political pressures at work within political parties and that often an individual's personal views can be overridden by the majority in the party. It is interesting that this House is discussing an R 18+ classification which will enable people to obtain hardcore violent videos on the very weekend that we had the most violent protest in Sydney. How many young men in that protest watch violent videos? How many of them were affected by watching violent videos?

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: This is about video games, not videos.

      Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE: Video games.

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: This is about video games.

      Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE: It is about video games. How many people are playing them and are moving from what they think is fantasy to reality? Most of the themes of these video games are antisocial. Quite often they depict people attacking police cars, shooting police officers and shooting soldiers. In my opinion they are not suitable even for young adults let alone children. Supporters of this legislation have made a big fuss about so-called community support for the R 18+ classification. Members should know there has been an extensive public campaign by the Adult Video Industry Association and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association for years promoting the R 18+ classification. They have organised petitions in all video shops.

      I believe this massive campaign has been artificially stimulated to give the results shown in the submissions. The general public is still not fully aware of the content of these video games and obviously there has not been an extensive response by the public. I can find no support for the new classification. Whenever I speak to people about this issue they do not have any interest in having a new classification of R 18+, which will make more violent video games available. The theory is that the R 18+ classification will protect minors from material likely to harm or disturb them. How can the Coalition Government guarantee that? How can anyone guarantee that? Once the material is available and it can be hired or purchased it will be in the hands of children the next day. There are irresponsible results who show it to children and there are adults who will give it to children.

      I have heard many reports of families who have very strict standards, but when their child goes to stay at a neighbour's home or a friend's home they are shown this adult-type material. People are fooling themselves if they think that a classification is a protection for children. A label on a video game does not protect children. I guarantee that children will see it, and that is a tragedy. The legislation states that private demonstrations of R 18+ material in the presence of a minor are also prohibited unless the person giving the demonstration is the parent or guardian of the minor. The bill actually recognises that adults can show adult games with an R 18+ classification to a minor and it says that is okay. I believe it is dishonest to say that there is protection for children. In his second reading speech the Attorney General said:
          At the moment, unlike films, computer games can only be classified as: G, general, which signifies the content as very mild; PG, parental guidance, which signifies the content as mild; M, mature, which signifies the content as moderate—
      I would not call it moderate but this is the official jargon—
          and MA 15+, mature accompanied, which signifies the content as strong.
      The proposed classification of R 18+ is the next level up. I just spoke to some members of the lower House and asked them how they could have passed the legislation. They did not seem to know what it was about. When I told them it was about a lower classification for increased violence they were quite surprised. The Attorney General admits that currently MA 15+ indicates strong violence, and R 18+ is for the next level of violence. It appears that this House is likely to pass the bill tonight because of support from the Opposition and The Greens. The Attorney General admitted that an R 18+ rating will identify a computer game as unsuitable for minors while allowing it to be available to adults.

      I say that minors cannot be protected from seeing such material. I know that the Adult Video Industry Association, which was campaigning for this rating, is not particularly worried that children will see the material; it just wants to provide a new market in the adult sector so that it can make more profits. I am surprised that The Greens, who are always attacking what they regard as capitalist activities, are supporting the adult video industry, which is only interested in making more money. The Greens should be more consistent and examine the companies that are promoting this bill and that promoted the petitions right around Australia. In his second reading speech the Attorney General also said:
          Content is allowed to include material with high impact, including violence ...
      Is that suitable entertainment for adults let alone for children who will somehow or other get access to this material? I know that the bill says that games with a rating of R 18+ cannot be sold or delivered, or privately demonstrated to a child, but there is no way to guarantee that in our society. We see that happen with pornography every day and the same thing will happen with this material. The Attorney General admits that the Federal and State governments have tried to balance the interests of adult gamers. They have put the interests of adult gamers above the interests of children. That is why the Christian Democratic Party opposes this bill.

      The Hon. STEVE WHAN [8.56 p.m.]: I support the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012. Like other members in this place, I believe this legislation is long overdue and that it has taken too long to come before the Parliament.

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Are you a gamer, Steve?

      The Hon. STEVE WHAN: Yes, I do play video games. My son, who is now 20, has been playing games online and out of the boxes for quite some years. The reason this legislation is important is that the MA 15+ classification in Australia already includes games that have extreme levels of violence in them and that I think, in many cases, are unsuitable for kids in the age group covered by that category. It is totally appropriate that we have an R 18+ classification for some of those extremely violent games. I do not understand opposition to this legislation on the basis that adults should not be able to make their own choices about what they view. The R 18+ classification is used for movies and for many other forms of adult entertainment throughout our society and it should be quite appropriate for video games also.

      We should remember a couple of critical things about the world we live in now. We can download almost anything on the internet. We apply a classification so that when people see the category the Australian classifiers have placed on an item they have an idea of the type of material shown in the item they are buying. I take up one of the points made earlier that the classification boards that make these decisions should be cognisant of what is appropriate for the people who are watching the material and they should be realistic about it. I am not a great fan of censorship overall, but when we talk about what children can and cannot view we must ensure that we are not suggesting to 16-year-olds that they should only view things that they are not really interested in; we must be realistic. I have seen some of the more violent video games and in many cases they depict incredibly graphically people being blown up, shot or otherwise mutilated. Those are the sorts of things that should be classified as R 18+.

      Not many games have been refused categorisation in Australia. However, a number of games have been refused categorisation because they contain sexual depictions. We must remember that even with an R 18+ category some games and videos will still be refused classification. I have never really understood why it is apparently acceptable for 16- and 17-year-olds to look at things that are grossly violent but not to look at things that have sexual connotations in them. It seems to me to be a double standard in our society. I believe it is totally appropriate that we have an R 18+ category so that adults can make decisions about whether to look at or play video games that have a sexual focus, so long as they do not involve degradation or other illegal or inappropriate activities. Adults can also make their own decisions about whether they look at and play video games that contain extreme violence. It is something about which adults should be able to make their own decisions.

      The big task falls to parents, who must ensure that they observe what their children are watching. Parents must take responsibility. When my kids were younger we insisted that the computers stay in open and public parts of the house so that we could see what they were viewing. It is only now that they are over 18 or thereabouts that they have computers in their rooms. Parental responsibility comes into it. It is entirely appropriate for parents to be able to walk past their child who is using the computer and glimpse what is on the screen. We should not expect the State to make all the decisions for parents—parents should take on some of that responsibility. As I said, I am not a supporter of extreme censorship, particularly censorship for those over the age of 18 and adults. I think the introduction of the R 18+ category is very positive. I fail to see why it took so long.

      Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: Because of its content.

      The Hon. STEVE WHAN: I hear the interjection from Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile, but the fact is that this bill will enable us to restrict the most violent videos to an R 18+ rating, and that is a real advance in this debate. I endorse the bill.

      The Hon. ROBERT BROWN [9.01 p.m.]: The Shooters and Fishers Party will support the Christian Democratic Party in voting against this legislation.

      The Hon. Amanda Fazio: What about shoot-'em-up games?

      The Hon. ROBERT BROWN: Particularly those. The one question I have for Parliamentary Secretary Ajaka was highlighted by the contribution of the Hon. Steve Whan. If the Commonwealth censor is now incapable of keeping inappropriate material out of the MA 15+ category, why does the categorisation of a repository for some of those films in R 18+ guarantee that that will happen? If the Commonwealth censor cannot do it now, what compunction is there for him or her to lift those inappropriate video games now classified MA 15+ out of that category? I do not necessarily know that the Commonwealth will be able to do that and therefore when we come to harmonise all our legislation down the track—

      Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: Who will enforce it?

      The Hon. ROBERT BROWN: The other aspect that I find a bit disturbing, and this is a personal view—I have not done the research in depth as the Hon. Greg Donnelly has done, but I take the honourable member's word for it—is that the research supports 80:20 or 90:10 the concept that violent audiovisual games can affect young minds in particular. As I have said previously in this House, one firearms and hunting show that I go to has a big banner that hangs on the wall that says, "Kids that hunt and fish don't deal and steal." I have a friend who writes the storybooks for video games and has done for 10 or 15 years since the time they were very basic games. He concentrates on science fiction themes, not necessarily violence and that sort of stuff.

      When you see the violence in some of these games that are based on combat situations in real-life wars that are happening around the world you realise the one difference between what happens in those video games and what happens in real life is the thing called "restart" or "reset". You blow up all your enemies—you cut, maim, kill, rape and murder—them you press a button and it goes away and you can do it all again. If you take a kid out with a rifle and he shoots a rabbit he has to see what impact the projectile had on that rabbit. He might even learn how to skin it, gut it, section it and eat it. That child knows exactly what that is. The reset button takes all that away. It is fantasy. Life is not like that. If a bloke hits you hard in the face, on the nose, it hurts.

      The Hon. Jeremy Buckingham: Bloody oath. Look out.

      The Hon. ROBERT BROWN: I was not talking to you, Jeremy. But if you do it in a video game you press the reset button. Members will notice I have a pretty face—I have never been hit on the nose, unlike Parliamentary Secretary Ajaka. He could never move as fast as I did. The point I am making is that video games can and will have an impact on the attitude of our youth to their own invulnerability. They seem to think they are bulletproof. But in real life you cannot press a button and have the person you have just annihilated stand up again. It does not work like that. My problem with this legislation is that I do not think the State Government, with all the good intent in the world, will be able to guarantee that the Commonwealth chief censor will be able to make any positive changes by taking some of the current strong violent games out of MA 15+ and putting them into R 18+. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Christian Democratic Party and vote against this bill.

      The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM [9.06 p.m.]: I speak on the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012—

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Are you against it, Jeremy?

      The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM: I am supporting the legislation but with some caveats. I believe there is some merit in the contributions made by the Shooters and Fishers Party and especially by Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile in this regard. I speak specifically as a parent. I have young sons who are very interested in these games and I have seen the impact of these games on their behaviour. It is certainly something I have struggled to regulate. I have seen my sons play these games, and it affects their behaviour negatively. A lot of these games have certain "cheats", as they call them.

      The Hon. Duncan Gay: It's like protesting, isn't it, Jeremy?

      The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM: No, it is a very serious matter and I take it seriously because it has affected one of my sons very negatively. It disturbed his sleep and affected his behaviour. When I spent time playing one of these games online with him there were people online saying inappropriate things to him. He showed me some of the cheats that are hidden in the games whereby certain actions can be taken that anyone would find completely inappropriate. I do not believe these computer games are appropriate in anyone's hands, even an adult making a free choice. Just because it is available does not necessarily mean it is right. It is something we should be mindful of.

      I support the legislation because it adds a level of regulation to the classification of games. I put on record that I believe some of the concerns raised by the Shooters and Fishers Party and the Christian Democratic Party are valid. These games will lead to increasing violent behaviour amongst younger people. I do not understand why anyone would need to play computer games in which people are being raped and murdered, and in which people are blowing up and killing people in the most violent way. The Hon. John Ajaka seems surprised but these games exist and they are abhorrent. I would like to see them—

      The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Banned? Say banned.

      The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM: They are certainly something we should regulate. I hope that the chief censor is doing his job because some of these games are really disgusting. The Greens support the classification but, as we have seen with alcohol, tobacco and other things, these games can end up in the hands of kids and have a negative impact. I wanted to put that on the record.

      The Hon. JOHN AJAKA (Parliamentary Secretary) [9.10 p.m.], in reply: I thank all honourable members for their contributions. The Hon. Fred Nile expressed concerns about parents being permitted to sell, deliver or demonstrate R 18+ computer games to their children. The provisions for the games replicate those for films and, importantly, they make it an offence for anyone besides a child's parent or guardian to sell, deliver or demonstrate an R 18+ game to the child. Parents want what is best for their children. It is most unlikely that parents will make a habit of selling or delivering adult games to their children. Demonstrating a computer game at home would include showing a single scene for whatever reason and it is not considered appropriate to criminalise this behaviour. For example, the reason that a parent may show a child a scene from a game would be to demonstrate why that game is unsuitable for them.

      The Hon. Fred Nile also said that he did not find support from the community for the introduction of R 18+ classified computer games. However, in 2010 more than 2,000 people were polled nationwide about this issue. Ninety-one per cent agreed adults would know that an R 18+ computer game was considered unsuitable for children and 76 per cent of people who lived in households with children under 18 supported the introduction of an R 18+ classification. In response to comments by the Hon. Robert Brown, computer games are classified under the National Classification Scheme, which provides uniform national classification of publication, films and computer games. The national scheme operates with the support of all Australian jurisdictions. Any changes must be agreed by the Commonwealth and all States and Territories. Films and computer games are classified by the Classification Board under Commonwealth legislation using nationally agreed guidelines. Procedures to enforce the classification are set out in State and Territory laws.

      The introduction of an R 18+ rating has been thoroughly debated on a national level. Extensive consultation has found that there is widespread support in the community for the adult-only rating, including in New South Wales. All Australian jurisdictions agreed to introduce an R 18+ classification. Without this bill New South Wales will be out of step with the rest of the country and there will be no restrictions in place in New South Wales to deal with inappropriate sales and the distribution and demonstration of R 18+ games. This bill amends the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995 to introduce enforcement provisions for an R 18+ classification for computer games, which will be introduced from 1 January 2013. I commend the bill to the House.

      Question—That this bill be now read a second time—put.

      The House divided.
      Ayes, 32
      Mr Ajaka
      Ms Barham
      Mr Blair
      Mr Buckingham
      Mr Colless
      Ms Cotsis
      Ms Cusack
      Mr Donnelly
      Ms Faehrmann
      Ms Ficarra
      Miss Gardiner
      Mr Gay
      Dr Kaye
      Mr Khan
      Mr Lynn
      Mr MacDonald
      Mrs Maclaren-Jones
      Mr Mason-Cox
      Mrs Mitchell
      Mr Moselmane
      Mrs Pavey
      Mr Primrose
      Mr Searle
      Mr Secord
      Ms Sharpe
      Mr Shoebridge
      Mr Veitch
      Ms Voltz
      Ms Westwood
      Mr Whan
      Tellers,
      Ms Fazio
      Dr Phelps

      Noes, 4
      Mr Brown
      Reverend Nile
      Tellers,
      Mr Borsak
      Mr Green
      Question resolved in the affirmative.

      Motion agreed to.

      Bill read a second time.

      Leave granted to proceed to the third reading of the bill forthwith.
      Third Reading

      Motion by the Hon. John Ajaka, on behalf of the Hon. Michael Gallacher, agreed to:
          That this bill be now read a third time.

      Bill read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
      ADJOURNMENT

      The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads and Ports) [9.23 p.m.]: I move:

          That this House do now adjourn.
      NYMBOIDA COLLIERY

      The Hon. HELEN WESTWOOD [9.23 p.m.]: On Sunday 9 September I attended the seventeenth Annual Memorial Wall Commemoration Service at Cessnock, hosted by the United Mineworkers Federation. I was invited to attend the service by United Mineworkers Federation District Secretary Grahame Kelly and District President Peter Jordan. Also in attendance were the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union National President Tony Maher and General Secretary Andrew Vickers. The keynote speaker was Ged Kearney, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Ms Kearney noted the important role that the Hunter Valley played in the history of the Australian trade union movement. She said:

          In so many ways the story of trade unions and working class struggle can be told through the story of the Hunter.

          It was in Newcastle that the first eight-hour day committee was formed.

          Because of the nature of the work, coal mining has always been associated with unionism and Newcastle was Australia's first coal port in the early 1800s.

          And it is still Australia's, and the world's biggest coal port.

      Ms Kearney spoke of the key roles the unions have played in making coalmining safer. She said:
          I would not suggest that open cut mining does not present its own hazards, but it remains that almost half the mines in the Hunter Valley region are underground operations, the most dangerous scenario for mining.

          It is easy to overlook the role of unions in providing safe workplaces when newspaper headlines constantly seek to demonise what we do.

          The coal mining industry has historically been one of the deadliest. It was also one of the first to be unionised.

          The two are not unrelated.

      Ms Kearney also spoke of the significance of Nymboida, not its geography in the remote Nymboida Valley in northern New South Wales but the Nymboida Colliery. It is the story of an epic struggle by 30 unionist miners who, through their solidarity, turned defeat into an historic victory and a highly successful philanthropic trust. It all began in February 1975 when the workers of Nymboida Colliery, near Grafton, were given one week's notice and told that their pit was to close after their employer declared bankruptcy. Furthermore, they were advised that there was no money to pay them any of their entitlements. Faced with financial ruin, these determined mineworkers banded together and refused to cop their sacking and embarked on a work-in.

      Not surprisingly, the then New South Wales Coalition Government refused to take the mine into its group of State-owned mines supplying power stations, even though Nymboida's sole market was the nearby Koolkhan Power Station. The Queensland company owners then issued a second lot of notices and, fearing another work-in, sabotaged some of the vital pit-top operations. However, the miners commenced a second work-in, cutting coal and continuing to send it to the power station. The miners, supported by their union, their families and the local community, resolved to dictate their own destiny and ultimately wrested control of the colliery from the company. The company eventually agreed to hand over ownership of the mine to the workers and the union in return for being absolved of any responsibility to pay out entitlements.

      Together with the union, the Nymboida miners operated the pit successfully until the closure of the power station. When the mine closed on 31 August 1979 every miner was paid their full entitlements and the union ensured that every Nymboida worker who wanted a transfer got a job working in another mine. The union then applied to the State Government for a replacement lease. Impressed with the successful operation of the Nymboida mine under the administration of the workers and their union, and against the vigorous opposition of the coal companies, the Wran Labor Government granted a lease near Singleton in the Hunter Valley. The announcement was made in October 1979, just weeks after Nymboida closed.

      United Collieries, which commenced in 1989, is a multimillion-dollar joint venture between a trade union and a global mining company. Interestingly, during lease negotiations a visionary decision was taken to place a levy on tonnages extracted from the mine, despite the mine's profitability. This levy was then placed into the Mineworkers Trust for the benefit of mineworkers, their families and communities. This was the first such miners' trust of its kind, not only in Australia but throughout the world. Since that time, the trust has channelled in excess of $10 million into local communities. Grants have been given for scholarships for the miners' children, bush fire brigades, rescue helicopters, schools, hospitals and the list goes on. It is truly an inspirational story that has been made into a film called Last Stand at Nymboida. On its release, Paddy Gorman, executive producer, described it thus:

          Faced with insurmountable odds and little prospect of winning, Last Stand at Nymboida is a tale of defiance and mateship, a remarkable Australian story told by those that lived it.

      Director Jeff Bird said about the film:
          In a world where the little guy often gets the short end of the stick, the Nymboida rebellion demonstrates that it is not only possible to fight back, but to fight back and win! Against the odds and hopelessly outgunned, Nymboida is a uniquely Australian story: a bunch of ordinary blokes who dared to take on a company and win control of their own destiny.

      It was a remarkable victory. Never before—not anywhere in the world—had a worker takeover succeeded in the mining industry. The miners demonstrated to the world that when workers unite, workers can win.
      SEX TRAFFICKING

      The Hon. PAUL GREEN [9.28 p.m.]: Edmund Burke said, "Slavery is a weed that grows on every soil." Sadly, the weeds of slavery have been growing untreated on New South Wales soil. Therefore, tonight I speak on the important issue of sex trafficking in New South Wales. In his book The Johns—Sex For Sale and the Men Who Buy It, Victor Malarek writes:
          Each year, more than 800,000 women and children are lured and tricked or forced into prostitution to meet an insatiable demand, joining an estimated 10 million women already ensnared in the $20 billion worldwide sex trade.

      The Social Justice Department of the Salvation Army of Australia provides a number of important statistics. Approximately 300 Thai women were held in the sex industry under debt bondage in Sydney, Australia, in 1995. Women who are trafficked to Australia are indentured by a $15,000 to $18,000 debt, which they must work off before they are freed. Recruiters from Australia go to Russia to hire women for "tabletop dancing" in clubs, which often have links to brothels. Trafficked and prostituted Asian women and girls in Australia suffer with active infections, pelvic inflammatory diseases, acute herpes and traumatic pelvic syndromes as a result of pressure to pay off their debt bonds as soon as possible.

      Prostitution grosses $30 million a year. There are 3,000 children, some younger than 10, in the Australian sex industry, which includes brothels, escort work, street prostitution, pornography, sex for favours and stripping. More than 3,100 Australian children aged 12 to18 have sold sex to survive. In the legal brothels of Victoria, Australia, prostituted women service approximately 3.1 million buyers per year from an adult male population of 1.3 million. Those statistics are scandalous. The liberalisation of brothel laws in New South Wales has had ramifications way beyond their initial objectives. An article from the Daily Telegraph on 18 May 2008 reported that "... illegal brothels and escort services outnumber licensed establishments by four to one and the gap is growing".

      A spokesperson for the Adult Business Association described the situation in Sydney as "out of control". The main consequence of legalising brothels has been the creation of a hospitable working environment for traffickers and pimps. It is simplistic to assume that the buying and selling of people is a legitimate form of business. Such a mentality denies the definitive links between prostitution legalisation and a surge in sex trafficking. The organisation Exodus Cry affirms that:
          The decriminalization of prostitution in NSW is not only a barrier to the effective prevention of the trafficking of women into the sex industry, but is also a predominant cause of the trafficking of women in NSW ... A quantitative empirical analysis for a cross-section of up to 150 countries has shown that, on average, countries with legalized prostitution experience a larger degree of human trafficking inflows.

      Sex trafficking, which is involuntary prostitution, is happening right under our noses in New South Wales. In May 2012, in an on-the-record interview, Myung Sook Chae, who is the deputy director of the women's rights support division of the Korean Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, stated:

          legal and decriminalised prostitution in Australia was a "main cause" of the trafficking of Korean women into the sex industry in Australia. The Korean Government estimates that there are between 4,000 to 5,000 Korean women who have been trafficked into the sex industry in Australia.

      The situation is simple: as demand increases, supply must increase to satisfy that demand. New South Wales has a growing prostitution market, with estimates of approximately 10,000 prostitutes. This puts New South Wales on a par with Amsterdam. It is time for serious soul-searching. Sydney has much to be proud of, but this is not a legacy that we should leave our kids to clean up. Would we be proud of having the largest prostitution industry in the world? As men are mostly buyers of prostitution, what does it say about men in our society? How can we promote the dignity of women and the value of women when we allow them to become used and discarded like disposable products? This is a significant gender inequality issue that needs addressing. So far, the best approach has come from Sweden.

      By criminalising the buying of sex, and not the prostitutes themselves—in other words, targeting demand and not supply—Sweden's aggressive approach has changed broad public attitudes towards the purchase of sex. This places an important trade obstruction between pimps, traffickers and "johns", and has been extremely successful. Sweden now has the lowest rate of human trafficking in the entire European Union. The Swedish approach is so successful that a number of countries already have imitated them. New South Wales would be wise to follow Sweden's progressive example. We have a chance to leave a legacy of which we can be proud.
      THE NATIONALS FEDERAL CONFERENCE

      The Hon. SARAH MITCHELL [9.33 p.m.]: There is no doubt that The Nationals are on the rise around the nation, with key election victories in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. We have enjoyed much success at a State level and hope to replicate those achievements in the Federal sphere at election time. I had the pleasure of attending The Nationals Federal Conference from 14 to16 September, which was last weekend, and saw just how ready our Federal counterparts are to form government. Conference 2012 brought together The Nationals' Federal parliamentary team, State parliamentary leaders, Young Nationals and organisational representatives from across the country. Taking place triennially, this year's conference was timely, allowing our party members to set our policy platform for years to come.

      As a former President of the Young Nationals, I was pleased to hear that their annual general meeting at conference showed that our party's young leaders continue to display a strong level of knowledge regarding a variety of issues for our party. New South Wales was represented at the annual general meeting by the chairman, Felicity Walker, as well as Thomas Aubert, Jeremy Scott, Beth Wright, Will Coates, James Howlin and Erin Adams. The election of office bearers was held in The Nationals party room at Parliament House, and the election was the first item of business. I am delighted to report that Cameron O'Neil of Queensland was re-elected unopposed as the Federal president and that Ruby Cameron of Victoria is now the vice president. Other executive members include Damien Tessman, James Howlin, Jeremy Scott, James Wishart, Erin Adams and Nathan Quigley. State presidents Felicity Walker, Ben Riley, Sam Harma, Andrew Black, Rebecca Healy and Jonathan Pietzsch rounded out the team.

      The constitution of the Young Nationals was debated rigorously by delegates from across Australia at the annual general meeting, and there was frank discussion on many policy motions. It was fantastic to see so many young representatives who were keen not only to engage in policy making but also to ensure that the voice of regional youth is heard loud and clear in our party discussions. I also acknowledge and thank the Federal Young Nationals patrons for 2011-12, Senator Bridget McKenzie and George Christensen, MP, for their support, and congratulate the new Federal patrons for the coming year, Senator Barnaby Joyce and Michael McCormack, MP. As a former Young Nationals president, I know how vital it is to have strong mentors looking after the membership base. I thank all of them for being such advocates for the Young Nationals.

      The Nationals are the only major political force representing regional interests across Australia. Our philosophy of country-mindedness is as important today as it has been at any point in our history. Taxation reform, along with investments in infrastructure, regional development strategies, productivity growth, food security, immigration, communications, health, education and trade, are all priority issues that were discussed at this year's conference. Though each debated motion was important for the party to consider, I mention a select few that were carried. I am pleased that the conference supported the removal of the $150,000 parental income test for regional students applying for the independent youth allowance. For a long time Senator Fiona Nash has been championing the right of young regional students' entitlement to the youth allowance. I am proud to see that we now have this important issue as part of our party's policy platform.

      The Federal conference also agreed that The Nationals should review proposed and established State schemes that provide low interest loans to young farmers and should consider establishing a Federal scheme to work in conjunction with the States. I fully support helping young willing people to stay on the family farm or to purchase a new property. I look forward to seeing how we progress with this essential issue. The conference also enjoyed addresses from our Federal leader, the Hon. Warren Truss, who announced that the next Liberal-Nationals Coalition government would provide the funding to complete the four lanes of the Pacific Highway all the way from Sydney to the Queensland border. This is great news for many of our constituents along the North Coast. Senator Joyce, our New South Wales Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner, and the Premier of Queensland, Campbell Newman, also addressed the conference. Each outlined their respective challenges and goals for government.

      Our Federal president, John Tanner, stepped aside this year from his role and left behind some very big shoes to fill. His leadership of the party has been exceptional. I wish him all the very best in his future endeavours. I am very pleased that our former New South Wales Nationals chairman, Christine Ferguson, was elected as the new president. We have all seen the dedication Christine has shown to The Nationals at a State level. I am confident that she will continue to rack up the kilometres on her tired old car as she continues to lead our Federal party into the future. The sheer variety of motions debated at The Nationals Federal Conference last weekend reaffirms just how broad our party's membership base is and the diversity of opinions that we represent. It was fantastic to see so many delegates from around Australia come together to form the policy platform that our Federal counterparts can take into the next election—and, hopefully, into government.
      FILM CLASSIFICATION

      The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO [9.38 p.m.]: I draw to the attention of the House one of the problems caused by very inconsistent laws that can be enforced at whim. I refer to the major inconsistency between the Classification Act and the various enforcement Acts. As I have stated in this House on previous occasions, it is legal to purchase and legal to possess federally classified X-rated films in all States, but it remains illegal to sell them. This fractured legislation is unique to X-rated films and applies to no other product in the whole of Australia. It is estimated by the Eros Association that the grey market in X 18+ films in Australia is worth approximately $20 million to $30 million a year and the black market may be worth around the same figure. State governments maintain their bans against 28 years of the Commonwealth keeping the X rating in the classification system.

      Last year, Daryl Cohen, an adult shop worker on Oxford Street in Sydney, became the first Australian to go to jail for a censorship offence since Robert S Close was imprisoned in 1945 for writing a novel entitled Love Me Sailor. Close was a great novelist who wrote about the seafaring life, but he was charged with writing obscene libel. Like Daryl Cohen, he was sentenced to three months in prison and lived most of the rest of his life overseas. Daryl Cohen was charged with selling 41 X 18+ classified films. The films he sold were classified at the Classification Board office less than one kilometre away from where he worked. There have been approximately 50 prosecutions of adult shop owners around Australia over the past few years for selling X 18+ films involving fines of up to $40,000. Some husband and wife adult shop teams have lost their homes and others have gone bankrupt. The hardship caused to ordinary Australian families as a result of police raids and confiscation of federally classified films has been heartbreaking. The point is that the adult shop at which Daryl Cohen worked was the only adult shop in the area to be raided by police at that time.

      What was the human cost of that action? What was the cost to Daryl Cohen? He spent three months in prison for selling unclassified DVDs, most of which were later classified X and six of which were refused classification. He was working at a shop called Urge and, as I said, other workers in other adult shops in the vicinity were not targeted by police at that time. Seven other adult shops in Oxford Street were selling almost identical material, but the police did not enter those premises. Daryl Cohen knew, as do most adult shop workers, that selling X 18+ material in New South Wales is an offence. However, it is similar to jaywalking in that everybody does it. It is crazy that buying an X 18+ DVD is not illegal but selling one is. This is a stupid law that must be repealed.

      What happened to Daryl Cohen? He was sent to prison for three months and he had such a hard time that he was transferred to the psychiatric ward. None of his fellow inmates would believe that he had been sent to prison simply for selling X 18+ DVDs; they assumed he must have been selling child pornography. They could not work out why, if it is legal to possess the material, it would be illegal to sell it in New South Wales. He had no criminal record, he was vulnerable and he was persecuted in jail. He said:
          My cell mate, once he realised that I was not a person who was going to fight back, well, then it was on, I had 11 weeks of it - every night, every night. What do you do? You can't complain because they'll just send you to another cell, and all the prisoners know each other. It doesn't matter where you go.

      It was suggested that he should have applied for protection. However, he declined because it would have meant that he would be placed with rapists and murderers and he thought that that would be worse than being in the general prison population. He was on suicide watch in Parklea and was then moved to Kirkconnell, a minimum security facility. However, he did not cope very well and he was put back on suicide watch. During his last weeks in prison he applied for segregation because he could not cope with being around people. He could not telephone his friends because he would get so upset. He did not want to be strip searched when he had a visitor, so he told his friends not to visit. That is the personal cost of police selectively applying a stupid law that has no relevance in this day and age. It should be repealed now. We should allow the legal sale of X 18+ rated material in New South Wales as a matter of urgency.
      PUPPY FARMS

      The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [9.43 p.m.]: Last Sunday, 16 September 2012, was Puppy Farm Awareness Day. Rallies were held around the State calling for urgent reform of the legislation relating to the treatment of companion animals and the regulation of the pet breeding industry. Every day that the New South Wales Government does not act, more than 140 healthy animals are euthanased in shelters and pounds across this State. That is not only cruel but also unnecessary. Successive governments' poor regulation of companion animal breeding and pet sale and ownership is to blame.

      This issue was addressed by Clover Moore, the member for Sydney, in 2008 when she introduced the Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill, which was designed to prohibit puppy farms. It failed in the Parliament and since then more than 100,000 animals have been euthanased. Submissions to the Companion Animals Taskforce, established by the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Primary Industries, closed in July 2012, but no date has been set for the tabling of the report. The task force discussion paper notes that the community expects animals to be treated humanely and that the Government will take action to ensure they are managed appropriately and that suitable standards of care and behaviour are prescribed and enforced. It is obvious that consecutive New South Wales governments have comprehensively failed community expectations with regard to the welfare of animals in this State.

      It is imperative that the Government act swiftly and decisively and release the task force report. Further procrastination is immoral, not only because of the daily euthanasia of healthy animals but also because of the increasing numbers of abandoned animals whose potential breeding further threatens our native wildlife. The Greens support a multiagency, integrated program on companion animal management with one primary goal and one single performance measure. That goal should be to reduce the euthanasia of healthy companion animals to as close to zero as possible. There are critical components in achieving proper management of a companion animal policy to ensure that our pets are treated properly and without cruelty. The impulse purchase of cute puppies and kittens must be discouraged and reduced. We must establish a framework that supports considered decisions beyond the initial purchase price. These decisions involve an awareness of the ongoing costs of food, veterinary visits, shelter and care hopefully for the next 15 years.

      There is an oversupply of dogs and cats and that must change. A fully monitored and enforced system must be established to ensure the reduction of the supply of these pets. Only two sources of supply should be available: registered points of sale and registered owners and breeders. Only desexed animals should be available from registered points of sale, which are all shelters, pounds or rescue organisations. Non-desexed animals should be available for sale only from registered owners of animals identified for the purpose of breeding. All pet sales at markets and at pet shops should be prohibited, internet sales must be strictly regulated and there must be careful provision for pet owners to sell their pets responsibly when their circumstances change.

      The Greens support the introduction of a statutory breeder licensing system with minimum mandatory information requirements. All data should be collated in a State-based register that is open to the public. This data must link the identity and premises of breeders, owners and pets and must include animal care and welfare standards. If the Government is serious about reducing this unnecessary loss of animal life and the ongoing costs of responding to this tragedy, it must increase funding to ensure the implementation of successful and effective measures. Participating veterinarians and organisations involved in the administration of a new one-stop registration and micro-chipping system must be reimbursed. This system, which should include more detailed information about the breeders' history and the pets' mother, will ensure that breeders and owners comply with required standards. The introduction of a standardised, low-cost desexing capability readily available to all pet owners must also be funded. Compliance monitoring and enforcement capacity to a level that allows regular randomised inspections of pounds and breeding facilities must be increased, improved and funded.

      The Greens support the development of a whole-of-community, socially responsible pet ownership education campaign. Such a campaign must include information about the responsible purchase of pets and ongoing pet ownership. This information must be provided at the point of sale with follow-up pet ownership consultations after purchase. The campaign must explain why, for the sake of our companion animals and our wildlife, we must hold ourselves and others accountable for how we treat the animals and pets in our lives. Such changes will require us to seek out our local shelter or registered breeders and to make the effort to visit. We must remember that in 2010-11 more than 30,300 cats and 21,600 dogs were euthanased in New South Wales and that this State has puppy farms keeping dozens of breeding dogs like battery hens in pens for their entire life for the sole purpose of producing puppies for profit.

      We must not forget Oscar. He was the horribly abused little dog that Debra Tranter rescued from a puppy farm in 2010 only to have him taken from her arms in the middle of the night and returned to his abusers. She had alerted the authorities to his abuse but ended up being fined for theft. He was the horribly abused dog who inspired the Oscar's law campaign to outlaw puppy farms that Debra Tranter and thousands of supporters around Australia have championed ever since.
      SYDNEY MORNING HERALD GOOD FOOD GUIDE 2013

      The Hon. JENNIFER GARDINER [9.48 p.m.]: This evening I will update the House on the great leaps forward being made in the provision of quality eating houses in regional New South Wales as evidenced by listings in the latest Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2013. Approximately 250 regional restaurants, cafes and farmers markets have been assessed as worthy of inclusion in the latest guide, 27 of which have been awarded one or two coveted hats. I do not have time to list all the regional eateries that have earned a mention in the guide, but congratulations should go everyone involved in the listed venues throughout the State. They contribute to the quality of life in their communities, attract visitors to their districts and make huge contributions to their local economies.

      In parts of New South Wales west of the Great Dividing Range—for example, in the central western area and the Riverina, from Tumbarumba to Albury and across to Griffith and Leeton—there is now a long list of restaurants and cafes that have been included in the Good Food Guide. There are more than 50 restaurants and cafes in these regions and a growing cluster of them are centred in the Orange district. For example, in and around Orange there is the hatted Lolli Redini and Racine. There are establishments such as Bills Beans in East Orange, Factory Espresso in Orange, and the Old Mill Cafe and La Boucherie at Millthorpe. There is also the Tonic restaurant at Millthorpe and Fiorini's at Orange. The Farmers Market at Orange got a mention. Anything Grows at Orange got a mention, as did the Old Convent at Borenore, Pomegranate at Canowindra and the Byng Street Local Store at Orange.

      There is a cluster of eating houses in the Mudgee district. I refer to businesses such as the Alley Cats in Mudgee and the Foxwood Farm Fine Food Cafe at Running Stream. I refer to the 29 Nine 99 Chinese cafe at Rylstone. At Mudgee there is the Rajarani Indian restaurant, the Di Lusso Estate and the Mudgee Brewing Company. In the Riverina, Dolce Dolce is a long-established favourite place of the member for Murrumbidgee at Griffith. There is Early Bird cafe at Albury, the Nest at Tumbarumba, and the coffee tree and Pages on Pine at Leeton. There is the Green Zebra at Albury, and the Indian Tavern and Mates Gully at Wagga Wagga. There is the Long Track Pantry at Jugiong.

      In the Bathurst area there is the Chai Wallah cafe, the Legali Patisserie Cafe and the Cobblestone Lane restaurant. Bathurst is building on its reputation as a gourmet centre. In the north and north-west of the State establishments in Armidale and Tamworth have rated in this year's Good Food Guide. They include Altitude at Armidale, Espresso Addimi at Tamworth—

      The Hon. Sarah Mitchell: Hear, hear!

      The Hon. John Ajaka: A good restaurant.

      The Hon. JENNIFER GARDINER: Well known to members of The Nationals in this place. Sleepy Monkey is well known to members of The Nationals in the main street of Tamworth, as is Bistro on Cinders in Armidale. The Merilba Estate Cellar Door at Uralla has scored a mention in the guide, as has the Bottega Caffe and Deli in Armidale and the Square Man Inn at Tamworth. The Hon. Sarah Mitchell knows Graze at Willow Tree as well.

      The Hon. Sarah Mitchell: That's my favourite.

      The Hon. JENNIFER GARDINER: On the North Coast, scores of establishments have been included in this year's Good Food Guide. They range from Kingscliff down to Forster, and of course there are many around Byron Bay and right down the coast—in places such as Valla Beach, Sawtell, Bellingen, Byron Bay, Bangalow, Bonville, Angourie, Port Macquarie, Newrybar, Lismore, Mullumbimby, and so it goes. I congratulate all those businesses on contributing to the local economies and to the quality of life in those many places throughout regional New South Wales.

      Question—That this House do now adjourn—put and resolved in the affirmative.

      Motion agreed to.
      The House adjourned at 9.53 p.m. until Thursday 20 September 2012 at 9.30 a.m.
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