PAWNBROKERS AND SECOND-HAND DEALERS BILL
Debate resumed from an earlier hour.
Mr DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Peats to make her inaugural address. I ask members to remain silent while she is speaking.
Ms ANDREWS (Peats) [5.48]: I congratulate the Minister for Fair Trading, and Minister for Women, the Hon. Faye Lo Po', on introducing the Pawnbrokers and Second-hand Dealers Bill 1996 into the House. The main aim of the bill is to restrict the trade in stolen goods and to assist the rightful owners to recover their lost property - particularly high-risk-of-theft goods such as valuable portable items: for example, jewellery, power tools and electronic appliances. Unfortunately, in the Peats electorate, which is probably no different from other electorates, there are a number of home burglaries and people are left devastated when theft occurs. All too often in the past it has been relatively easy for offenders to find a ready market for their ill-gotten goods. The bill is aimed at making it harder for thieves while simultaneously making it easier for victims to recover their stolen belongings.
I am pleased that the Minister announced in her second reading speech that the Government was committed to cooperating with the community and assisting the police in stamping out home burglaries. It is important to note that the regulations will be accomplished by requiring licensed second-hand dealers and pawnbrokers to record proof of identity from the person or persons pawning or selling second-hand goods. Up to this point in time, while second-hand dealers and pawnbrokers have had to provide a description of the goods, they have not been required to provide a description of the vendor. Also, proof of identity will be recorded.
Imagine how frustrating it is for persons who have been victims of a home burglary to later find their stolen possessions, many of which have a sentimental value, in the window of a second-hand dealer or pawnbroker, quite often close to their home, and yet be required, because of loopholes in the current legislation, to buy them back - their own goods. The bill addresses this loophole by tightening up procedures to be followed by second-hand dealers and pawnbrokers. Upon identification, a trader will now be required to supply the victims of the home burglary with a document setting out the procedure to be followed in claiming their property, as well as supplying a copy to the police should they not already be involved in the matter. In turn, the claimants will be required to supply certain information to the dealer and to act within a certain time frame.
I am pleased that I have the opportunity to make my inaugural speech on a bill which I am confident will be welcomed by the vast majority of
electors residing in the Peats electorate. I now wish to speak about the electorate of Peats, which I feel proud and honoured to represent. The total area of the Peats electorate is 706 square kilometres, of which national parks and State forests comprise approximately 26,691 hectares. The campaign for Peats on behalf of the Australian Labor Party at the 1995 State election was very successful due largely to the organising skills and diligence of my campaign director, Bruce Penton. Councillor Judy Penton, wife of Bruce, was also one of the main strengths behind the campaign. I place on record my deep appreciation to them both. Bruce and Judy are in the gallery this evening.
I wish to thank a number of persons for helping in Labor's campaign in Peats. Firstly, I sincerely wish to thank all the loyal and sincere branch members and loyal supporters of the Australian Labor Party within the Peats electorate. Those people who assisted in the lead-up to election day and on election day itself, 25 March 1995, worked exceptionally long and hard. To Australian Labor Party life members Vince Martin, former member for Banks, and Jean Martin, both of whom are here tonight, and Frank Peters, I extend a special word of thanks. I am, however, very grateful for the encouragement, support and assistance rendered to Labor's campaign in Peats by so many of my fraternal brothers and sisters in the trade union movement and my parliamentary colleagues. I was most fortunate to have the support of so many of them. I claim to be the only candidate in any campaign, whether State or Federal, to have had the great honour of having three former and two current State union secretaries and one former State president working on my behalf.
These were Jack Maddox and Jim Walshe, retired State secretaries of the former New South Wales branch of the Australian Railways Union, now the Public Transport Union, and Vince Higgins, retired secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Federated Clerks Union. All three have been awarded the Order of Australia for their contributions to either the Australian trade union movement or the community. Vince and his wife Mary are also in the gallery. Also working on my behalf were Harold Dwyer, current secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Public Transport Union, and Michael Want, current secretary of the New South Wales Clerical and Administrative Branch of the Australian Services Union, formerly the Federated Clerks Union of Australia, together with Colin Hilder, retired president of that organisation.
I also particularly want to mention Kevin O'Neill, the compensation officer for the Public Transport Union, who also assisted in the campaign. Kevin is the son of the late Bill O'Neill, former president and long-serving officer of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Railways Union. I also thank Ken Sullivan, Public Transport Union organiser who, despite the fact that he was waging an all-out campaign in Southern Highlands as Labor's candidate always found time to give me a ring to offer me words of encouragement. To my former work colleagues in the Public Transport Union I say thank you for all your co-operation and assistance over the years. Many of them also worked in the campaign and I am happy to see so many of them here tonight.
I wish to express my appreciation to members of my family, many of whom I am proud to say are also here tonight. Firstly, to my mother I reserve a special thank you for always putting her family first and for her unswathing support in all I do. That support was readily forthcoming in the campaign for Peats and continues today. To my brother, John, my three sisters Margaret, Clare and Pauline, my brothers-in-law Owen Bowland and Alan Staunton, my cousin Patricia O'Brien and her husband Peter, and my nieces and nephews, I am deeply grateful for all their concerted efforts towards Labor's campaign in Peats.
I wish to pay tribute to my late sister-in-law, Jan Andrews, who worked very hard during the campaign and who unfortunately died suddenly in August last year. Jan will always be remembered with deep affection by all who knew her. To my electoral office staff Camille Stephens and Louise Kelleher, I wish to express my sincere appreciation for their loyalty to me and for their kindness, dedication and hard work performed on behalf of the people of the Peats electorate. My association with the trade union movement is one which I have always cherished. When I commenced employment in the New South Wales branch office of the Australian Railways Union in 1978 I very much felt among friends as my late father, Arthur Andrews, as a union activist enjoyed a long association with the ARU, serving firstly as a union representative, sub-branch officer, State councillor and union representative on the Transport Appeals Board. Upon his retirement in 1974 after 43 years service to the union and the New South Wales railways he was awarded life membership of the ARU, and he was justifiably proud of that honour.
My father was also an active member of the Australian Labor Party and was campaign director for the endorsed candidates in the Federal seat of Cowper. Grafton was the centre for that electorate and the family then resided in South Grafton. Believe me, those campaigns were strongly fought. As so often happens in life in the Andrews family, it was very much a case of father following son. My grandfather, John Andrews, was also a very loyal member of the Australian Labor Party. The highlight of his party membership came when he was acknowledged on the stage of Sydney Town Hall on the occasion of his fiftieth consecutive attendance at the ALP State conference. That was a newsworthy item at the time. He served for many years as a member of the New South Wales State
Executive of the Australian Labor Party. My grandfather was an organiser on the northern tablelands for the Australian Workers Union and in 1917 he contested the State seat of Armidale as an anti-conscription Labor candidate. He polled very well, missing out by only a very narrow margin.
Undoubtedly my grandfather's and great-grandfather's involvement in the Labor movement was an influencing factor in my father's life. My great-grandfather, Arthur Andrews, was in 1891 a foundation member of the Australian Labor Party. He, too, served the party with great distinction. Little wonder then that with such a background I took a keen interest in politics at an early age, although it has taken me a long time to reach this high level. I am honoured to be here. I have been fortunate to have been further influenced when I first joined the ALP in 1960 by exceptionally good local State and Federal Labor members. I particularly mention Norm Ryan, member for Marrickville and later Minister for Public Works during the controversy over the now world-renowned Sydney Opera House. Norm and his wife, Dorothy, retired to the central coast at the conclusion of Norm's public life.
Fred Daly, long-serving member for Grayndler and Minister for Administrative Services during the reign of Gough Whitlam, consented to open the 1995 campaign for Peats and in true Fred Daly style he ensured the audience received a generous serving of his great sense of humour and quick wit. Fred was indeed a true believer and he will be long remembered by the Labor movement. Although I feel that there are many who have contributed much more than I have to the industrial wing of the Labor movement, I was honoured to have bestowed upon me life membership of the Australian Services Union and the scroll of honour of the Labor Council of New South Wales. Both certificates have pride of place in the Peats electorate office.
I pay tribute to the leaders and executive of the Labor Council of New South Wales, both past and present, for their responsible and enlightened attitudes not only towards the union movement but to our society at large. All too often, I believe, unions are unjustly criticised within some circles in our society. However, it is only on rare occasions that unions are given credit for all the positive things they do in our society such as protecting their members from unscrupulous employers and actively supporting many charitable organisations including a number whose main objective is to help young people. Of course, the Australian Labor Party arose from the trade union movement and thus it is quite in keeping with long-held tradition that in the near future this Parliament will be debating a bill on reforming the industrial relations legislation in this State; in other words, dismantling much of the offensive legislation brought in by a coalition government which severely restricted union activities in this State.
Both the political and industrial wings of the Labor movement are still male dominated, but I applaud the leaders of our day in their sincere attempts to encourage more women to take a more active role in both the union movement and the Labor Party. In this respect I believe I have been fortunate to have had the support of unionists such as Jim Walshe, Vince Higgins and Michael Want, all of whom I mentioned earlier, together with Betty Spears, OAM, former Deputy President of the New South Wales branch of the Federated Clerks' Union of Australia, and Beryl Ashe, former Executive Officer of the Labor Council of New South Wales. All of those people encouraged me to become more active in the trade union movement in particular, and I believe I owe them all a debt of thanks for encouraging me to nominate for executive positions within the former Federated Clerks' Union and later the New South Wales Clerical and Administrative Branch of the Australian Services Union.
I consider it to be a great honour to have served the union at such a level and to have worked with such dedicated men and women who are totally committed to improving and protecting the living and working conditions of Australian workers - and going beyond that to workers in overseas countries, particularly in the neighbouring South pacific and Asian regions. I wish to pay tribute here to both Betty Spears and Beryl Ashe for the many years they have devoted to helping others, especially through their trade union involvement. The marked improvement to equality and fairness in the work force, particularly in the State of New South Wales, has to a large extent been due to their efforts. On the first day that the Fifty-First Parliament met in this Chamber I joined my parliamentary colleagues in paying tribute to my predecessor, the late Tony Doyle. Tony served the electorate of Peats with much distinction from 1984 until his untimely death in December 1994.
I concluded my remarks then by saying that if before I leave this House I can earn the depth of warmth and respect from my constituents that Tony enjoyed, I will know that I have served them well. On 12 February this year Premier Bob Carr and the Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Pam Allan, jointly opened the Tony Doyle Track at the Warrah trig station within the Brisbane Waters National Park. The views along that track and at the lookout at the end of the walk are quite spectacular and they are a fitting tribute to the memory of Tony Doyle. The park's headquarters are located at Girrakool, which means place of water. As I said earlier, the electorate of Peats has a total area of 706 square kilometres and the population in the 1991 report of the Bureau of Statistics was shown as 53,045. Undoubtedly it has grown since that census was taken.
Peats ranks fourth in the State with the largest number of senior citizens aged 60 years or over. They represent 24.2 per cent of the population of the Peats electorate. There are, however, young families moving into the electorate because it is an
attractive area with some of the most sweeping water views to be found anywhere in this great State of ours. Yet it is within fairly reasonable access to Sydney, with thousands of persons commuting to the city for their employment - ten thousand persons use Woy Woy railway station on any working day. Since Labor took office in March last year, the central coast rail services have been improved with two additional services to Sydney via the north shore. With the recent installation of bi-directional signalling the reliability of the rail service has been vastly improved, and should a train break down in the steep grades of the Cowan bank, it will now be possible for trains following to bypass the failed train. It is intended that further improvements to the timetable will be implemented in the October 1996 timetable.
The Carr Labor Government has committed a large injection of funds for improved road works, including safe pedestrian crossings around Woy Woy railway station, an area which was sadly neglected by the previous Liberal-National Government. Already the extensions to the undercover parking have begun and these are expected to be completed in September. Two lifts will be provided. New undercover bus shelters, a kiss and ride facility, an upgraded railway station to include a new booking office, a family waiting room and lifts - one on the street side of the station and another onto the platform - will provide the area with a much improved user-friendly facility. The Carr Government has honoured its election promise to provide a police shopfront in Umina. The shopfront was officially opened by the Minister for Police, Paul Whelan, in December 1995. This was in marked contrast to the actions of the previous Government which sold off the land at Ettalong that had been designated for a police station.
TAFE will receive funding from the State Government of $18 million to provide central coast students with state-of-the-art facilities. Hairdressing courses will be available at Gosford TAFE in 1997. This will free a large number of students, most of whom are young females, from the necessity of having to travel to Hornsby for these courses, and represents a positive response to my representations to Minister John Aquilina on the matter. Sections of the F3 within the Peats electorate are being upgraded for the overall benefit of motorists. Floodplain management proposals by Gosford City Council have been boosted to the tune of approximately $1,267,000. The future of Narara Horticultural Station has been secured by the recent announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Richard Amery, that the station would be one of five key centres attached to the nine centres of excellence operating around the State.
The electorate has many unique features, some of which I will mention here today. Wondabyne is the only railway station in Australia which has no road access. Wondabyne can only be reached by either rail or water. It would have to be one of the State's best kept secrets and the scenery that can be seen from the windows of the train would be hard to surpass. The electorate has many Aboriginal sites and therefore it is quite in keeping that a number of areas have been given Aboriginal names, for example, Woy Woy, meaning deepwater; Umina, meaning rest or slumber; Ettalong, meaning place of many waterholes; Mooney Mooney, meaning name of an Aboriginal person; and Narara, meaning black snake. It is perhaps appropriate because of my relationship with the trade union movement that I am delivering my inaugural speech on May Day, known as International Workers' Day. In New South Wales, of course, we traditionally commemorate workers' day on Labor Day, the Monday of the first weekend in October. I joined the Australian Labor Party in 1960 and soon became involved in what was then known as the Youth Council - nowadays, of course, it is Young Labor.
At the helm of that organisation at that time was Johnno Johnson, a member of the Legislative Council and a former President of that House; John Ducker, who went on to have a distinguished career in both the union movement and the Labor Party; the Hon. Deirdre Grusovin, then Deirdre Brereton, the honourable member for Heffron and one of a small number of parliamentarians who have made the move from the upper House to the lower House; Peter Nagle, the honourable member for Auburn; George Thompson, the honourable member for Rockdale; and Terry Rumble, the honourable member for Illawarra. Unfortunately, Youth Council momentarily folded up only to be resuscitated, mainly through the efforts of a fine young man, Peter Gould, in the mid-1960s. I might add that a former Assistant General Secretary of the Australian Labor Party, later to become a Federal member of the House of Representatives, Mr John Armitage, was most supportive in that resuscitation drive, as was former Labor Senator from New South Wales, Tony Mulvihill, an Australian Railways Union and Australian Labor Party life member.
The rebirth of Youth Council paved the way for a former Prime Minister of Australia, Paul Keating, as well as serving Federal parliamentarians Laurie Brereton, Leo McLeay and indeed our own Treasurer, Michael Egan, to develop their talents as good grass roots parliamentarians and debaters. I am sure that all of us in this Chamber today acknowledge that unless we have young people taking an active part in our great party, the Australian Labor Party, we do not have a bright future. The youth of today, largely due to the foresightedness of Labor governments at both Federal and New South Wales level, now have more educational opportunities than did the generations before them. I have met, over the years, many young people of excellent calibre and I would encourage more of them to take an active role in public life. They are well equipped to meet the challenges which an ever-evolving society has to offer. Certainly they will encounter setbacks along
the way, but these will be well overshadowed by the great satisfaction they will derive from being an integral part of a rapidly changing world.
I congratulate the Government for its commitment to give the teaching of civics in our schools a much higher profile. I feel sure we will all benefit in the future because of this. I thank honourable members for the courtesy extended to me by allowing me to deliver my inaugural speech in this, the oldest Parliament in Australia, in silence. I may not be so fortunate on the next occasion as the House truly is the bear pit of Australian politics, and I now look forward to participating in many more parliamentary debates and to adding my support to bills which I feel sure will advance the interests of the people residing within the electorate of Peats. I commend the bill to the House.
Mr GLACHAN (Albury) [6.08]: I congratulate the honourable member for Peats on her maiden speech.
Debate adjourned on motion by Mr Glachan.