Full Day Hansard Transcript (Legislative Council, 11 May 1994, Corrected Copy)

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LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Wednesday, 11 May 1994
______


The President (The Hon. Max Frederick Willis) took the chair at 2.30 p.m.

The President offered the Prayers.

ASSENT TO BILLS

Royal assent to the following bills reported:
    Judges' Pensions (Amendment) Bill
    Lotteries and Art Unions (Amendment) Bill
    Mines Rescue Bill
    Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill
    Criminal Appeal (Amendment) Bill
    University Legislation (Amendment) Bill

PETITION
Anti-Discrimination (Homosexual Vilification) Legislation

Petition praying that because the homosexual vilification amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act censor criticism of homosexuals, they be repealed, received from Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile.

EDUCATION AND SPONSORSHIP
Matter of Public Interest

Motion by the Hon. Jan Burnswoods agreed to:
    That the following important matter of public interest should be discussed forthwith:

Education and sponsorship.

The Hon. JAN BURNSWOODS [2.38]: The issue of sponsorship has become one of great concern throughout the education community over the last two or three years. I would put it in the broader context of the whole issue of education funding and the equitable funding of education in particular. Though a lot of attention has been paid to this issue in New South Wales on individual occasions when parents and teachers have become concerned about what is happening in individual schools, there has not been a great deal of debate in this State about the principles involved. That is disappointing in one way, because there has recently been much debate in Victoria. An article which appeared in Choice magazine in April entitled "Fast Bucks" summed up some of the important issues that I wish to raise today. The article stated:
    The school sponsorship debate encompasses the issue of school funding, the ethics of relationships between schools and business, the role of government education departments and the question of the effects of advertising on children. Talk of fast food sponsors and you can add concern with children's health to that list, a volatile recipe indeed.

The article referred in some detail to the issues involved in the debate about the role of sponsorship in schools and the specific concerns about this sponsorship. It then referred to sponsorships by some companies and products that have recently aroused concern by parents - in particular Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Red Rooster, Hungry Jack's and others. Most, but not all, of these companies are involved in sponsorship in this State. I would like to draw to the attention of the House the question of who makes decisions about sponsorship and under what terms they are made. Some months ago I was interested to see that the Independent Commission Against Corruption put out a bulletin entitled "Sponsorship Principles" based on a lengthy examination of the increasing trend to sponsorship in government departments and in the private sector. One of the important principles that the Independent Commission Against Corruption discussed - in fact, it was the principle that it put first out of 10 - was:
    That in most circumstances the public interest is best served by making sponsorship opportunities widely known. To this end sponsorship should generally be sought by calling expressions of interest or using other broadly based mechanisms not limited solely to invited sponsors.

That point is honoured much more in the breach than in the observance, not only in the Department of School Education in New South Wales but also in numerous schools that are beginning to deal with companies offering sponsorship deals. Very often there has not been an open or accountable process, or a calling for expressions of interest, let alone a calling for tenders. Instead there has been an approach generally by a company that obviously has a commercial interest. Some sort of deal is done between that company and the department collectively, or between that company and a region or school. All honourable members would share my disquiet - as would I am sure many other people - that these incredibly profitable deals involving thousands of dollars are being done, but they are not being done according to the proper principles laid down by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

That point was raised in relation to some of the broader matters last year. I do not want to canvass in detail that point today because it has already been canvassed on many occasions. I refer the House briefly to the uproar that erupted following news of the contract that the department had signed with McDonald's and the equal uproar relating to the collection of Mars bars and the way in which 20,000 Mars bar wrappers were to be used to bring all sorts of goodies into schools. I refer to the ongoing concern amongst parents, particularly in less affluent communities, about the Coles deal of collecting dockets and schools being provided with computers. This meant that certain schools did much better than
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others; not because parents of children at those schools were not concerned and did not try, but because the school concerned was in a better off area and in a much better position to take advantage of that deal.

As I said earlier, I do not want to go into general issues in detail at this point, but I would like to refer to a couple of specific issues. One of them is Mimosa Public School in Frenchs Forest, where sponsorship has recently been brought to my attention. There are two very grave matters of concern at what is going on at Mimosa school. In effect, the school is now sponsored by Payless supermarket. So when the school sends out its newsletter to parents and the community it has the "Glenrose Payless, Your Independent Supermarket" logo on every page. In addition, the newsletter contains classified advertisements, which again carry that logo. When the newsletter goes out to parents it has that kind of supermarket brochure that we are all used to getting in our letterboxes amongst all the other junk mail. The one I have is the Easter edition with all the cheap Easter eggs and all the other products available at the supermarket.

I do not think honourable members would believe that the purpose of a school newsletter is to be a brochure for supermarket specials or to carry the logo of a local supermarket on every page. That in itself concerns me. The message it is giving our children, the sort of deal that has been done between the school and the supermarket and the way the decision has been taken to deal with this company rather than any other are all matters the department has not addressed, certainly with honourable exceptions. Schools have been given no assistance in addressing these matters.

In this respect I do not want to criticise either the teachers or the parents associated with this process because the creeping commercialisation that is overtaking our schools is being forced upon them largely by the Government's failure to provide adequate school funding and by the increasing competitive struggle to which our schools are becoming victim. In the dog-eat-dog mentality that has been fostered in schools by this Government, with schools encouraged to compete with one another for students - which in turn affects funding - the pressure and temptation have resulted in many schools going for any kind of extra funding they can get, no matter how unsavoury that might be, and no matter how much it breaches the principles laid down by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

There is a second worrying aspect concerning Mimosa Public School to which I would like to draw attention. The school has entered into an arrangement with an organisation called S.M.A.R.T. Research Pty Limited. S.M.A.R.T. stands for sensory market analysis and research technology. The opening words of the company's name, sensory market analysis, relate to the taste-testing of numerous products. The issue I have of the school newsletter advertises the arrangement with this company. The arrangement is that parents and other adults are paid $5 to go to the school at night and take part in the tasting of products. I do not consider that to be an attractive way to raise money, given the parameters I have been talking about. What is more worrying is that at this school the children are also being used to carry out this taste-testing research, or sensory market analysis.

That same issue of the newsletter encourages the children of Mimosa to attend the hall at lunchtime on Thursday, 24 March, to take part in a series of commercial tests. Of course, the carrot was being offered that, unless they did so, the school would miss out on the money that the company was paying. I doubt that any one of us would want our schools turned from places of learning and education into places that are fundamentally commercial operations, where children are taught the values of the market-place and not the educational principles that I dare say most honourable members valued while growing up. These children are being used as guinea-pigs in sensory market analysis. They are being pressured to collect supermarket dockets, Mars bars wrappers, or whatever. There is growing pressure for schools to put signs on school fences and logos on uniforms, and to involve large companies in sport. All these things indicate to our children not that traditional school subjects or the virtues of education and learning are important things to absorb whilst at school, but that the children are there as little consumers to be used and manipulated to help companies make money.

If honourable members think I am exaggerating when I draw attention to these dangers that are apparent in many schools - even though they might not have the examples that I have put before the House today - I remind them of a conference that was held at the Boulevard Hotel in Sydney last September entitled "Consumer Kids". That was a major corporate conference organised precisely to get across to all sorts of companies engaged in marketing that there is this huge, only partly tapped market out there; that having finished advertising and marketing their wares to all of us adults in society, the next major area for their profitmaking is the children in our schools, and indeed even in pre-schools.

All honourable members will be aware of the pressure that is placed on young children - peer pressure and advertising pressure - in regard to the clothes they wear, the products they buy and all the rest of it. That type of pressure is becoming more and more part of school life in New South Wales. I defy the Minister, the department or anyone who has contributed to this process to say that they welcome it. The sort of defence offered is almost always along the lines of: taxpayers' money goes only a certain distance. I can hear the Minister saying: if the money is out there, why should we not take advantage of it?

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: On a point of order: I have been sitting here silent, minding my own business, listening intently to the honourable member. Obviously she is suffering from some form of delusion. I said nothing.

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The PRESIDENT: Order! Delusion is not a point of order.

The Hon. JAN BURNSWOODS: Perhaps I should say that I am anticipating some of what the Minister may say. When I have raised these matters on previous occasions the Minister's response has been predictable. I remind honourable members that over the past two years I have raised them -

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: On a point of order: from what the honourable member said I wonder whether she is being boring and repetitious.

The PRESIDENT: Order! No point of order is involved.

The Hon. JAN BURNSWOODS: Once or twice I have chosen to be boring and repetitious in this House, but on this occasion I am not trying to do so. I was saying, before I was so rudely and unnecessarily interrupted, that on previous occasions I have raised different aspects of this issue. For instance, I have spoken about the school canteens policy and the way in which the Minister gave in to the blandishments of the Soft Drink Supply Houses Association and Coca-Cola. I have spoken also about the Kellogg kit and expressed my concern about the sponsorship related to it. [Time expired.]

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK (Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Minister for Tourism, and Minister Assisting the Premier) [2.53]: I really am quite shocked by this matter of public interest being before the House today. The honourable member in her own words admitted that she has raised this issue on countless occasions. She has raised the subject on so many occasions that she lays herself open to a charge under standing orders of being boring and repetitious. Everything that was said today has been said before - with one notable exception. Sadly, that exception has become a hallmark of members opposite: to suit their debate, to suit the politics of the time, they pick on some poor hard working public school in New South Wales and rip it apart. Who did they choose today? Mimosa. It is even unAustralian to attack Mimosa Public School. It is a double insult for anyone who says she supports public education in New South Wales to attack a public school in New South Wales such as Mimosa Public School.

The honourable member has interrupted the time of this House when it should be debating countless matters of a legislative nature. Not a single thing, with the exception of the attack on Mimosa Public School, has not been said before by way of speeches in the Address-in-Reply debate, the budget debate and questions in this House. It is an abuse of the time of the House for this matter of public interest to be before the House today. One must ask why it has been brought on today. It has been brought on by the Opposition for a couple of reasons. It is no coincidence or accident that a member of the Left has moved that the House debate a matter of public interest.

The Hon. Franca Arena: I am going to speak on this, and I am on the Right.

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: I am not quite sure whether the Hon. Franca Arena is Left or Right. The coalition tried to get the honourable member into the Senate, so I am not quite sure to which faction she belongs. Sadly, we failed - not that we would not have missed her. It is no accident that it is a leading luminary of the loony Left - how is that for alliteration - who raised this issue. Why has she done so? It is because she has an ideological hang-up about private enterprise per se. The prospect of private enterprise being involved in our schools is too much for her to bear. Apparently it is okay - and I thought the honourable member favoured equality of the sexes - for the mums of this world to slave away making lamingtons to raise money for schools, but if a school uses a bit of entrepreneurial nous, goes out and involves the local community in the lifeblood of the school and if local business supports the life of the school, somehow that is not okay. She would condemn the mums of this world to lamington drives ad nauseam to raise dollar by dollar the extra support needed for schools. That is absolutely ridiculous.

When one looks at the document she flashed in the House today in regard to Mimosa Public School - a copy of which I now have and which, whether I like it or not, is no better or worse than anything that appears in members' letterboxes every day of the week - one realises that she did not mention things such as cake drives and cake shops. She did not tell us about the other advertisements in that newsletter. Clearly she chose the emotive items in regard to Payless. She did not tell honourable members about the small local community groups that were supporting the school. I place on record my total opposition to what the honourable member was on about.

I commend and thank those stores which have supported our schools, which care about our schools and want to support them. It is a good thing for the school, the teachers and the children at the school to know that the community believes that those children and their teachers are central to the lifeblood of the community, that they care about them and that the community is prepared to support them. That has happened from time immemorial. For as long as there have been schools in New South Wales and Australia there has been that sort of community spirit between a good community and a good school. From time immemorial good corporate citizens have donated land. In the early days how did New South Wales get public schools? It was because good citizens of New South Wales donated land to the State - a bit of their farms or church land to build a church school. That is how public education grew in this State, and that is at the absolute heart of public education.

I reject the assertion of the honourable member that somehow sponsorship is evil and should not be supported. On the contrary, I am thankful for it and applaud it. I hope that honourable members have attended such events as the Schools Spectacular and Art Express, which from today is exhibiting in Tokyo.
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And how is it that the work of our top higher school certificate art students is being exhibited in Tokyo? Because of corporate sponsorship! How is it that art works were exhibited in San Francisco, as the highlight of the 25-year Sydney-San Francisco sister city celebrations? Because of corporate sponsorship! How is it that country children are not a drain on the household budgets of their parents when they move from sports carnival to sports carnival to develop their talents? Corporate sponsorship has made that possible. How do small schools such as Mimosa Public School have the resources to publish a high-quality newsletter like the one referred to in this debate? Good corporate citizens have helped them to achieve that.

I reject the negative comments of the honourable member and her implied assertion that somehow sponsorship is needed because the Government does not provide for schools. Sponsorship enables the publication of high-quality newsletters and the hiring of buses to transport children from schools to sports carnivals rather than have schoolchildren travel by rail. The Department of School Education provides the resources to fund events such as the Schools Spectacular and Art Express exhibitions in Tokyo or San Francisco. Sponsorship, however, provides the extras, the enhancements, the icing on the great cake of public education, as it were. That is what is achievable from corporate sponsorship, and it is mealy-mouthed of the Hon. Jan Burnswoods not to acknowledge -

The Hon. Franca Arena: On a point of order: The Minister should be directed to address the important issue of whether there is a disparity between schools as regards sponsorship.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. D. J. Gay): Order! There is no point of order. The honourable Minister may continue.

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: Clearly there is no point of order. Honourable members know that the Hon. Franca Arena should be in the Senate. I realise it was a hard blow for her, and it has been tough -

The Hon. Jan Burnswoods: On a point of order: earlier the Minister took a point of order on me relating to, I think she said, delusions. She is now talking about reality. I ask that her attention be drawn to the need to distinguish between reality and delusions.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT: Order! No point of order is involved.

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: I would suggest that if there were to be conducted a competition about which of us - the Hon. Jan Burnswoods or me - understood best the difference between reality and fancy, I would be a clear winner. The members of the loony Left of the Labor Party clearly have a loose grip on reality and are heavily into the world of fantasy.

The Hon. Franca Arena: You belong to the loony Left of the Liberal Party, I believe?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: Yes, but we are not loony.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Franca Arena will have an opportunity to contribute to the debate at a later stage.

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: Clearly this is a matter about which guidelines are needed. The way the honourable member introduced this topic today suggests that the Government has taken a laissez-faire approach to sponsorship. There are guidelines which the honourable member did not acknowledge, and those guidelines are pertinent to this debate. For example, some products are prohibited from consideration of sponsorship in any public school in New South Wales. I refer specifically to alcohol and tobacco products. They are absolute no-noes, regardless of what sponsorship is offered.

The second matter to be borne in mind is that each school - indeed the system - in terms of weighing up the merit or otherwise of a sponsorship offer, has to ask what benefit will be added to the life of the student or school if the sponsorship is accepted. If the answer is not positive, there is no point in the sponsorship. The policy is not sponsorship for the sake of sponsorship. Any offer must add value to the life and core functions of the school. Two types of sponsorship exist within the Department of School Education. One is sponsorship of individual schools, such as Mimosa Public School. The parent body of Mimosa Public School has been slighted by the comments of the Hon. Jan Burnswoods. I would hate to think of how many hours people in the various parents and citizens associations have spent seeking support for their schools from local community groups and businesses. This motion has been a slap in the face for them.

The Hon. Franca Arena: Ha, ha!

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: The Hon. Franca Arena says "ha, ha". Was she never a member of a parents and citizens association and did she never ask for assistance or donations?

The Hon. Franca Arena: I never asked firms such as McDonald's, which produces food not approved by the National Heart Foundation.

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: Would she never ask companies such as Harmony Shoes? I suppose she hates them too. Would she never ask The Mower Factory, or the local pest control company, hairdressers, or a Chinese restaurant? The many people at the schools who have spent considerable time and effort seeking support for their school from local businesses have been brought into disrespect this afternoon, and I resent that deeply. It is an insult to the hard-working members of the various parents and citizens associations.

The Hon. Franca Arena: What are you planning to do about that?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: I am not planning on doing anything about it at all, other than as Minister for Education and Youth Affairs continuing to defend the rights of schools like Mimosa
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Public School, the parents and citizens associations and the parents. I will not stand idly by without having my say on behalf of the Mimosa school community about how insulted I am. This is a cheap political trick. Nothing has emerged today, other than insults to Mimosa Public School, that has not been the subject of debate and question in this House on previous occasions. It is a cheap political stunt, and that is evidenced by the lack of enthusiastic support for this matter of public importance from honourable members opposite. It clearly is a stunt and I reject it. [Time expired.]

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY [3.8]: I wish to make it clear at the outset that as an Australian Democrat I do not object to corporate sponsorship in schools per se. However, I believe corporate sponsorship of schools should be strictly controlled so that the principles of public education are not undermined. As the Minister has explained already, the Government has a policy and guidelines with regard to sponsorship. This policy has been in place since 1991. However, prominent examples last year show that the Government's stated belief that sponsorship activity must be consistent with the values, corporate purpose and goals of public education, and the policies and strategic plan of the Department of School Education - and I have read those words from page 5 of the policy - does not count for very much.

I wish briefly to deal with four case studies. First, the use of school buildings and grounds for advertising purposes. In the past few years school buildings and grounds have been used for advertising purposes. In August last year, pictures of advertising signs of local businesses plastered on the fence of Seven Hills Public School appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald. These advertisements had nothing to do with education. Although such advertising signs can only be erected with the express agreement of the school council or school parent body, I believe that the impact of such a use of school property has an adverse impact on the general environment and links particular businesses with government schools. In my opinion such a use of school property promotes the image that that particular school is so strapped for funds that it is driven to sell space for advertising; that it has become, in effect, a site for commercial activity rather than for education.

I turn to the sponsorship agreement between Coles stores, the Apple-Macintosh computer company, and New South Wales government schools. Last year the Coles-Apple group instituted a computer drive whereby schools won computers according to the value of dockets submitted. This meant that parents, to get the dockets, had to do their weekly shopping in a Coles supermarket. This nexus between commercial activity and benefit to the school caused great community concern. The Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of New South Wales argued that this constituted a sponsorship deal since it complied with the department's sponsorship policy, which asserts that sponsorship takes place where there is an exchange of benefit between a business and school or a Department of School Education agency.

The federation also argued that the initiative was contrary to the department's policy, which states that sponsorship agreements should not take place if there is community concern about a sponsorship arrangement. The federation believed that this sponsorship was devoid of an educational rationale. The Minister responded in a letter dated 3 May 1993 that the Coles-Apple activity was viewed not as sponsorship but as a promotional activity, and as such many of the fundamental principles of sponsorship do not occur. In other words, the guidelines were sidestepped through a semantic reclassification.

In June last year, sample bags targeting children five to seven years of age were distributed to 900 schools in New South Wales. The bags contained fruit juice, a health food bar, coloured pencils, an eraser, brochures including one for a car, a back copy of Who magazine, and a market research questionnaire - all for five-year-olds. Clearly schools involved in this scheme believed that their involvement was justified under departmental guidelines. I believe that scheme was not only irrelevant to education but was also crass and exploitative. When the federation wrote to the Minister to complain, the Minister did not reply. Furthermore, when the federation wrote to the Minister on 4 August 1993 requesting the establishment of a working party, with parent representation, to examine all aspects of sponsorship, advertising and promotional activities in government schools, its request was rejected at a meeting with the Director-General of School Education.

In July last year, the Department of School Education signed a $800,000 three-year school sports sponsorship deal with McDonald's. As part of that deal, 2,200 schools were sent a plan on how to build a closer relationship with McDonald's including inviting representatives to speech nights, sports carnivals and special events. The deal was struck in spite of the fact that guidelines require widespread consultation and a general agreement, a demonstrable link between the sponsorship program and student learning, a short program and a no-penalty withdrawal clause. There was widespread public outcry because of the conflict between the principles of good nutrition and the junk food status of McDonald's.

These four case studies show that the current guidelines for sponsorship, when not being openly flaunted, are too vague to be of any use. The Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of New South Wales has released a position paper on corporate sponsorship in schools. The federation rejects any activities which would cause tensions in a school community because of the school's identification with a particular interest, and it also decries any sponsorship deal which promotes competition between students or schools or resources. The paper further states:
    The Federation strongly believes that public education must be paid for from public funds and that sponsorship must never be allowed to detract from the independence of any government school.

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Sponsorship has a major impact on children because they have yet to develop adequate critical faculties. The association of a particular product or business within a school context gives it a particular credibility. It certainly matters where the money is coming from. The contradiction between the business message and the educational message, for example about nutrition, can confuse children, particularly young children, who are a captive market. Overseas experience, particularly in the United States of America and Canada, shows that commercial interests are making great inroads into education. The Whittle communications company exchanges the loan of satellite dishes and television sets in each classroom for contracts which compel students to watch daily news and advertising packages.

In the United States the Whittle corporation and the advertisers are in charge of a contracted part of the education curriculum. This occurs in 10,000 United States schools and reaches an audience of 8 million students. We do not wish to see that happening in New South Wales. I beg the Minister to tighten up the guidelines. I also beg the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow minister for education and youth affairs to rethink their party's education policy. A press release I received today states that, according to Mr Carr's education policy, school fees will be a component considered in the allocation of funds to schools, and fund raising efforts by school communities will not be penalised. Perhaps the Opposition ought to work out what it means by fund raising efforts. Does the Opposition mean that sponsorship will also be regarded as fund raising?

According to the press release, Mr Carr's proposed sharing of education resources and budgets between schools will be based on a formula on which I do not think he can deliver, that is, one based on equity-related criteria such as school population, parental income, and household educational resources. Under a Labor Government - if Labor regains government - the Minister for Education will take parental income into account when working out how much money will be allocated to a particular school. I do not think that is what the Democrats mean by public education. The Hon. Jan Burnswoods, in spite of her remarks, might do better to lobby in her own caucus against the dangers inherent in that education policy and not lay all blame at the feet of the Government.

The Hon. R. T. M. BULL [3.18]: I have great pleasure in speaking to the motion which has been raised once again by the Hon. Jan Burnswoods, who seems to have trouble extinguishing the issue from her mind. She and the Labor Party have tired in their efforts to seek out issues to embarrass the Government by raising them in this House. I challenge the honourable member to tell me and the House how many schools she has visited over the past 12 months and where she is getting such great information. She must be getting it straight from the federation. Her experience when she was employed by the Department of Education was working in the bowels of Bridge Street, far removed from schools and students and happenings in the real world.

A number of matters should be noted. First, the Apple computer program that was referred to was a national program; it had nothing to do with this Government or the Department of School Education. Similarly, the Mars bars program was a national program, and it had nothing to do with the Government or the department. The Apple computer program involved the Coles supermarket chain, as honourable members would realise. A small school at Chandler, just east of Armidale - it boasts 20-odd students - was extremely successful at gaining additional equipment under this program, far more successful than any of the major schools in Armidale. The program is about individual schools raising funds for specific projects, and that is always hard work. It is never easy rasing funds in the community, whether one is conducting a street stall and selling cakes, or whether one is involved with programs such as the Coles-Apple program. The Opposition is a little mixed up when it talks about the quality of food in canteens and corporate sponsorship.

[Interruption]

I suggest that the Hon. R. S. L. Jones, who persists in interjecting, is also mixed up about what is being debated today. It can be summed up having regard to culinary imperialism; quite obviously the Hon. R. S. L. Jones has a fixation about what is good and what is bad. I do not know whether the Hon. R. S. L. Jones is more or less healthy than other members in this House, I do not suspect he is. I suggest that his selected diet is no great testament for any schoolchild or member of the community.

I have visited many schools. I talk to parents in school communities, teachers and others involved in schools, and I can say that without exception this issue has never been raised by any one of them. I say emphatically that this issue is a non-issue. It is a matter about which the Labor Party and the Hon. Jan Burnswoods are trying to take some moral high ground and for which there is no community support. I wonder why the Hon. Jan Burnswoods did not refer to her Federal colleague the former sports Minister, who endorsed the McDonald's tennis program, which assists young tennis players, and the Pizza Hut program, which assisted with the purchase of sports equipment. I am referring to a member of the same faction as the Hon. Franca Arena.

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: It was suggested that Ros Kelly was sacked because she supported corporate sponsorship.

The Hon. R. T. M. BULL: That is right. When one looks beyond the white board one finds the real Labor Party. The Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby referred to a national code of practice. Such a code exists in addition to the code of practice that operates in New South Wales. The national code states clearly that sponsorships and promotions should be used to enhance educational programs and not to displace other funding arrangements on which schools and school systems depend. It states further that sponsorship agreements should only be negotiated with organisations whose public image, products or
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services are not inconsistent with the ethos and values of education. All sponsorship agreements should be reached through negotiation. The agreement must specify the roles and responsibilities of individual parties, and the nature and level of acknowledgment to be given to the sponsor.

Sponsorships and promotions should operate within school and system policies on equity. National and statewide sponsorships and promotions should aim to give all students and schools the opportunity to participate in the sponsored-promotional activity. Sponsorship and promotional activities should be compatible with good educational practice. Time and resources allocated to these activities should be consistent with school priorities and the overall education program. Participation in sponsorships and promotions should not generate undue pressure on children, parents or schools to purchase particular products or services or to adopt particular beliefs, attitudes or courses of action. Sponsorships and promotions should not involve endorsement of products or services by schools or school systems. Acceptance of a sponsor's product or service should not be a condition of any individual student's participation in sponsored activities.

Any educational materials provided as part of a sponsorship or promotion should be clearly identified as being those of the sponsor. In New South Wales the Department of School Education provides schools with both advice and instruction on sponsorships for schools. The department has advised schools that they must consider what is expected of the school in exchange for the sponsorship. How do parents and the community feel about the proposal? Does the agreement put the good name of the school or public education at risk? Will the resources of the school be diverted from core activities? Is the company involved an appropriate one to be associated with schoolchildren? What benefits will the school retain?

I have faith in our school principals and communities. They value the fine reputation of our schools, and they follow strict guidelines. They know how to best maximise the resources for their students and how to strengthen links between the worlds of education and business to the advantage of students. It is for that reason that the ultimate decision on sponsorship rests with each school and its community. However, they are not without assistance. In the life of this Government those strict guidelines have come into play. Without the initiative of this Government there would be an ad hoc approach to sponsorship - an approach that the Labor Party would milk if it ever were re-elected to government. In its desperate bid to score cheap points, the Opposition has set out on a deliberate scare campaign involving lies and innuendo. The ALP has painted a picture of schools with no money falling prey to multinational companies and their products.

The facts are that schools have been allocated a record $3.4 billion this financial year, and every year since 1988 the New South Wales Government has increased funding for schools. In other words there have been no cutbacks in education. Schools are better equipped than ever before. The ratio of computers to students is at its best rate ever. We have more school counsellors than ever before. Schools have greater control of their own budgets, and school communities are increasing their involvement in schools. There are strict guidelines governing sponsorship at a national level, and in New South Wales any sponsorship deals valued at over $10,000 must be reported centrally. This motion is ridiculous. It is a miserable attempt to boost morale on the Opposition's backbenches, and it comes at the expense of the reputation of our principals and our schools. The Opposition has no confidence in our school principals and teachers, and that has been no secret. This is just another attack by Labor on the credibility of our fine teaching staff. The New South Wales Government is sick and tired of the ALP lashing out just to score cheap political points. Motions such as this serve only to denigrate the image of our schools, to further run down the quality of our school staff, and waste the valuable time of this House and Parliament.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA [3.28]: I congratulate the Hon. Jan Burnswoods on moving this important motion. Members from the Government side of the House have asked why the Hon. Jan Burnswoods has raised this issue. What is her connection? Has she visited any schools? I inform members opposite that the Hon. Jan Burnswoods has been involved in education for at least the past 20 years, and in that time has visited many schools. I support this motion, not that I am ideologically committed to non-sponsorship of schools. I would accept sponsorship from firms that are ideologically correct. I will certainly not support sponsorship from firms like McDonald's or Coca-Cola, the products of which are full of sugar and detrimental to the health of children. As the Hon. R. S. L. Jones said only a few minutes ago, we are witnessing school corporatisation. I agree with him entirely. He is the best example of what good foods can do to you!

The Hon. R. S. L. Jones is 73 years old and looks only 40; the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs is only 28 but she looks 55 at least! If she ate more vegetarian food, she would look as good as the Hon. R. S. L. Jones looks. I do not want to trivialise this important issue. We should discourage the participation of students in public activities that have a commercial aim or background. Students should not be diverted from genuine education activities in school time to participate in school fund raising activities and educational programs should not be unduly disrupted by those activities. Schools should examine fund raising activities closely with a view to banning those that promote undesirable values and practices. That is what I stand for and what I believe in.

Schools have become so desperate for funds in the past few years that they have gone looking for sponsors. Educational funding in New South Wales has reached such a crisis point that schools are ready to accept inappropriate sponsors and depend upon
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corporate sponsorship. The Minister is the guilty one and is responsible for the funding crisis in our schools. I do not mind pointing my finger at her, though I was taught that one should not point a finger at another. The Minister and her predecessor, the famous Dr Terry Metherell, sacked 2,500 teachers. She will end up like Dr Terry Metherell - somewhere in the remote English countryside looking for a job after March next year. She could not stand being shadow minister for education. She will migrate, as Dr Metherell has done, to look for a job in the mother country. The Minister's cuts in teachers and school counsellors are pathetic and a tragedy. Children are committing crimes and committing suicide because they have no support at school. In most areas one school counsellor has to look after 1,800 children.

According to some education experts, a widening gap between State schools is now threatening the principle of equality of opportunity between schools. A recent survey revealed that North Shore primary schools are able to attract three times as much as their counterparts in western or southwestern Sydney. It is a great problem, because it is creating two different strengths of schools. Recently I asked the Minister a question about Killara primary school. She said she approved of the school becoming a Japanese school centre which would board children -

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: Rubbish! No children are boarded there. Do not verbal me.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA: I acknowledge that maybe I have made a mistake. Killara school is a wealthy school in a wealthy area, and it will attract a lot of money. I drove past Cleveland Street Public School recently -

The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti: On a point of order: the Hon. Franca Arena frequently talks about people of non-English speaking background and about the need to promote English as a second language. Today she decries the Minister for doing the same thing.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT: Order! There is no point of order.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA: Other poor areas will not attract school funds and the gap between rich and poor schools will grow. Articles have appeared in the media entitled "Schools Cash Scandal", "Scandal in school; few get the funds", "First blows fly in school Mack Attack", "Outrage over Mars Bar school equipment deal". The last article to which I refer stated:
    The National Heart Foundation is concerned about the offer, which the snack-food company says has already been taken up by 500 Australian schools.
    Sweets such as Mars Bars were high in fat and sugar, the foundation's nutrition manager, Mr Bill Shrapnel said.

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: On a point of order: I am perfectly happy to listen to criticism on matters within my control. The Mars bar program should be referred to the honourable member's colleague Ross Free. It is a national program.

The Hon. Franca Arena: On the point of order: the Minister would have a chance to stop it in New South Wales schools if she thought it was deleterious to the children.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT): Order! There is no point of order. However, the honourable member should be careful about what she says.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA: Mrs Rosemary Stanton, a nutritionist, said she was totally opposed to the Mars bar and McDonald's promotions. Further articles have appeared in the media entitled, "Pizza Hut in reading row", "Hamburglar deal gives our kids a no-quarter pounding", "School sponsorship attacked", "Sponsors sought for school _marketplace'", "McDonald's deal sparks outrage", "Be a sport and invite McDonald's, schools told", "McDonald's: intruder or saviour?", "This class is brought to you by . . . ", "School funds are stalling", "Anger over McDonald's logo in test", "Schools _naive' over sponsorship", and "Sponsors or seducers?" Letters on sponsorship were published in the April 1994 edition of Choice magazine. Annette Brooker, of Jewels, New South Wales, wrote:
    . . . Of course the main aim must be to sell more product . . . yes, fast foods have their place, but not in the learning environment. Sport and poor nutritional foods is a conflict of interest.

Barbara May, of North Rocks, wrote:
    I've heard that a lot of teachers' time is now taken up hunting sponsorship instead of teaching . . . children have been out of class for long periods, trying to sell fast food chain lunches to teachers. Most teachers consider this sort of thing unethical.

Cheryl Bridge of New South Wales stated:
    . . . The Department of School Education shows a double standard and when it produces a policy health document that promotes a health diet, then suggests that a fast food company sponsor sport.

Choice magazine said:
    We must not be naive about [sponsoring] companies' motives and remember their bottom line is to sell products.

They do not care about children's health or about what is nutritionally valuable to their diet. They care only about selling their product, and they do not do anything for nothing. The Minister is the guilty one. She has cut school funding. [Time expired.]

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: On a point of order: the Hon. Franca Arena has just spoken at some length about the dangers of junk food and multinational corporate sponsorship. Madam Deputy-President, I draw your attention to page 392 of Erskine May, which refers to smoking and refreshments and states, "Nor may refreshment be brought into, or consumed in, the House". The Hon. Franca Arena is chewing gum.

The Hon. Franca Arena: On the point of order: at last the Minister has shown what she really is all about. It makes me ashamed to be a member of this House when a Minister can take such a trivial point of order.

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The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Beryl Evans): Order! Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice states:
    The practice of smoking during any of the proceedings of the House is forbidden. Nor may refreshment be brought into, or consumed in, the House.

I ask the Hon. Franca Arena to desist.

The Hon. J. F. RYAN [3.39]: It has given Government members enormous pleasure during the debate this afternoon to watch members of the Labor Party in all its corporate forms cutting their throats in front of the public.

The Hon. Franca Arena: Is this a new ministerial look that the Hon. J. F. Ryan is trying to achieve?

The Hon. J. F. RYAN: The Hon. Franca Arena is referring to my lack of spectacles. I dropped them downstairs in the gymnasium and broke them, so I will have to do without them. Members of the Labor Party denigrated schools, parents and many valuable sponsors and companies which have done a great deal to assist not only public education but also the environment and health.

The Hon. R. S. L. Jones: McDonald's?

The Hon. J. F. RYAN: The Hon. R. S. L. Jones has referred to McDonald's. Opposition members have criticised a company that employs 39,000 people in Australia. Many of the employees are young people. McDonald's provides for those young people job opportunities, job training, pocket-money and training opportunities that would not otherwise have been available. I do not believe that other speakers in this debate have had recent teaching experience. Many children with whom I have had dealings who have not done so well in the school system have been employed part time in their local McDonald's. I have watched them thrive as they have built up confidence and gained skills.

The Hon. R. S. L. Jones: They cannot read or write, but they can make hamburgers.

The Hon. J. F. RYAN: Many kids who have not been able to read or write at school have quickly acquired those skills in the workaday world of McDonald's. I know that McDonald's pays a great deal of attention to equipping its young people with extremely valuable skills. Many young people who have worked for a short period in McDonald's are hot property. It is well known by other companies that they are disciplined, reliable and well trained. Opposition members have criticised a company that contributes the not inconsiderable amount of $935 million a year to the Australian economy.

The Hon. R. S. L. Jones: I would rather not have it.

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: The Hon. R. S. L. Jones said that he would rather not have it.

The Hon. J. F. RYAN: I regret the fact that the Hon. R. S. L. Jones said he would rather not have a $1 billion contribution to our economy.

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: I think the Hon. Jan Burnswoods also said that she would rather not have that company.

The Hon. J. F. RYAN: As Opposition members interject and put their thoughts on the record their public support is crashing, particularly in the corporate areas of this State. Members of the community now know about the Opposition's commitment to job opportunities and industry within this State. They have heard how those things have been denigrated by Opposition members. I do not intend my speech to be a commercial for McDonald's, but Opposition members have criticised the efforts of McDonald's within our schools. I suppose they will hand back the $1 million that McDonald's donated towards constructing the orang-utan enclosure at Taronga Zoo and the $1 million a year it gives to sponsoring Ronald McDonald House and providing facilities for families with obvious needs. People like Mr Peter Ritchie, who runs McDonald's, have promoted job opportunities for women within corporate Australia.

The Hon. R. S. L. Jones: Until they reach 18.

The Hon. J. F. RYAN: Four local McDonald's stores operate in the area in which I live, which demonstrates how McDonald's has been accepted by the public. All those stores are managed by women. The corporate ethos of McDonald's is evident from the assistance provided for health and the provision of facilities at the zoo. The parents of schoolchildren and I have no problem in accepting contributions from McDonald's to our schools. I know that parents appreciate the assistance that McDonald's has given for sporting programs within schools. This association did not commence under a Liberal government; it commenced when the previous Labor Government was in office. I believe that McDonald's sponsors a tennis competition and that the sponsorship commenced when the previous Labor Government was in office. The companies that have been vilified in this place by Opposition members have made a great contribution to our economy and our community and they are making a terrific contribution to our schools.

I, as a parent and a member of Parliament, greatly appreciate what those companies are doing. I do not ascribe to the nonsense that I have heard from Opposition members who have referred to things such as the dog-eat-dog mentality. They have continually criticised things such as competition and have referred to these companies as unsavoury. Opposition members have suggested that schoolchildren are being manipulated by this sort of sponsorship, which has the approval of the State Government - not because the Government has sought it but because parents in our schools are happy to have it. Other speakers in this debate have referred to the enhancement of schools by corporate sponsorship. That does not include basic equipment such as buildings - which have been improved no end while this Government has been in office - and it does not include things such as the provision of staff, contrary to the lies that have been
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told by Opposition members. Sponsorship has increased educational opportunities in culture, the arts and sport for our children - opportunities that I am sure all parents welcome.

While I am thanking sponsors I would like to thank also the electricity supply industry, which has sponsored the printing and distribution of the K-6 science resource book. The Natural Gas Company has provided funding to support the State drama festival. I am sure that the Hon. R. S. L. Jones would be interested to know that Du Pont (Australia) Limited provides funding for environmental education. IBM Australia and the Rowland corporation provide assistance to Cherrybrook Technology High School. The Coles-Myer company provides funds for the propagation and distribution of endangered plant species across the State.

I welcome the sponsorship by the New South Wales Teachers Credit Union, of which I am a member - I am sure the Hon. Jan Burnswoods would also welcome this sponsorship - the New South Wales rugby league, the Department of Sport, Recreation and Racing, and the Commonwealth Bank of primary and secondary school sport. Westpac, Cromer Acrylics and the Sydney Cove Authority provide funding for the conduct of Art Express. Trails Incorporated sponsors the provision of transport for students with disabilities. Coca-Cola contributes towards the staging of the Schools Spectacular. Any honourable member who has had the opportunity to witness the terrific things that are done at the Schools Spectacular should thank Coca-Cola for that opportunity. I support the sponsorship of schools. I believe it benefits the State. [Time expired.]

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [3.49]: On behalf of the Call to Australia group I am pleased to take part in this debate on education and sponsorship and to thank the Hon. Jan Burnswoods and her supporters for pointing out a number of issues. I did not know that the real enemies were McDonald's, Mars Bars and "the values of the market-place and commercial purposes - free enterprise". Obviously, that is a clear reflection of the left-wing, socialist ideological position of the Hon. Jan Burnswoods. It is very much anti-United States of America. The honourable member thinks that McDonald's can do nothing right because it is an American multinational company. The left-wing has a knee jerk opposition to American based companies. If American companies operate in other nations, they can be called multinational companies and they go to the top of the hit list. That is when the vicious attacks occur.

Sadly, members of the public sometimes adopt these extreme and outrageous views. I have been reading of protest groups endeavouring to stop a McDonald's store opening in Lismore. One would think it was the greatest tragedy to occur in the city of Lismore. Though I understand that the majority of citizens and the council are happy to have a McDonald's store in the city, some people have threatened to picket the operation. Some people in Wollongong have the same negative attitude. As I listened to the debate I started to wonder whether I had been brainwashed. Under the Labor Government that ran this State from 1941 until 1965 I attended Crown Street Commercial High School. I was selected to go to that school to learn commercial practices - how the business world operated. I did not realise that the Labor Government was brainwashing me and setting me up in a sinister environment to understand business and commerce.

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: That was a lucky escape for you.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: It was. I must have slipped through the ideological net. The Labor Party did not realise that commercial high schools existed in New South Wales. What is wrong with commercial purposes and free enterprise? The attack is ideologically based. The Hon. R. S. L. Jones has said by way of interjection that he regards two hamburgers as a real threat. Honourable members may have gained the impression that hamburgers were invented by McDonald's, but I ate hamburgers as a teenager long before McDonald's was ever thought of. Like the meat pie, hamburgers have always been popular in Australia. Because McDonald's hamburgers are promoted by a company called McDonald's, it seems to some honourable members that it is the hamburgers that are the real threat. They want to prevent the supply of hamburgers to children, but they would be happy to give them marijuana. Again I am glad that the Hon. R. S. L. Jones was able to point that out to honourable members through his interjections.

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: The Hon. Jan Burnswoods thinks the real enemy is hundreds and thousands.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Beryl Evans): Order! All honourable members have had their turn at speaking. Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile has the call.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: I am not an expert on hundreds and thousands so I will leave it to the Minister to handle that very important topic. I note that the guidelines state clearly that adequate controls have been laid down. Honourable members have interjected that local businesses should be encouraged to sponsor schools. The retort was that McDonald's is not local. But McDonald's is as much a local business as any other business and the local McDonald's franchise can relate to the local school and the community and employ local citizens. I note again interjections the Hon. R. S. L. Jones made falsely accusing McDonald's of employing only teenagers and sacking them when they reach a certain age.

I have attended a number of McDonald's restaurants that employ mothers and middle-aged people. Women enjoy the opportunity to work part time and work rosters to suit family commitments. That is an important opportunity for women. McDonald's employs 39,000 people - not 39,000 teenagers, but 39,000 men and women of various
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ages - and that is important. I note that the guidelines produced under the leadership of the Minister state clearly the benefits of sponsorship. I am sure honourable members would want schools to receive practical benefits. The benefits are stated as:
    Schools receive funds, goods or services which enable them to improve and/or expand their range of educational services.
    Sponsors gain the public recognition and kudos associated with having their name favourably linked to public education.
    Sponsorship can establish positive and fruitful links between education and the business sector.
    Sponsorship offers opportunities for individuals and companies to demonstrate support for public education in a tangible fashion.
    Sponsorship improves cohesion between the school and the community by providing a focus for collaborative action.
    Sponsorship demonstrates to students and parents the value placed on education by organisations beyond the school.
    Sponsorship negotiations provide teachers and students with examples of the value of applying initiative and self-reliance.

It is important to do anything that can be done without lowering educational standards or the quality of education to assist schools to relate realistically to the community. Schools do not exist in isolation. Though schools have been more widely used in recent times, I am happy that the Government has announced that school properties will become community assets. That measure is part of the Government's approach to removing schools from isolation and making them part of the life and activity of the community. The guidelines continue:
    Sponsorship activity must be consistent with the values, corporate purpose and goals of public education, and the policies and strategic plan of the NSW Department of School Education. It must contribute, either directly or indirectly, to the quality of student learning.

Those principles are adequate. I am happy to trust the school principals and school councils to negotiate their own local sponsorship agreements. I trust the ability of the parents, the schools and the staff to make arrangements to suit their local community with whichever companies or local business they choose.

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES [3.58]: I am happy to support the motion of the Hon. Jan Burnswoods. The sponsorship guidelines published by the Department of School Education say:
    Sponsorship is an agreement between an educational provider and business involving the support of an educational program or activity by business in return for some benefit to business.

Naturally. On page 7 the guidelines state:
    Sponsorship agreements may be negotiated only with reputable organisations whose public image, products and services are consistent with the values, goals and specific policies of public education.

I presume that includes McDonald's. There is no doubt that McDonald's hamburgers are dangerous to health. Yesterday a doctor said on radio that medical research has produced enough evidence to show that people who eat meat and dairy products die a number of years earlier than those who do not. There is also no doubt that Coca-Cola is bad for health. Some years ago Coca-Cola contained cocaine. The advertisement "Coke is the real thing" probably encourages usage of cocaine later in life. Coca-Cola contains the addictive drug caffeine. This Minister obviously approves of schoolchildren taking a dangerously addictive drug such as caffeine.

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: Are you saying Coca-Cola is a killer? You must be kidding.

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: Coca-Cola is not a killer, per se, but it is certainly not good for one's health. There is nothing good in Coca-Cola.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The member will address the Chair and not the Minister.

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: I wonder if there will be a McDonald's Liberal campaign on 25 March next year. Companies like McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Mars, Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola are sponsoring schools for one thing only. They are not altruistic organisations; they are concerned only with the bottom line. They do not care how they increase their profits. They employ 16-year-olds because it is cheaper than employing 26-year-olds or 36-year-olds. They sell junk, rubbish products. Children receive mixed messages: they are told not to eat junk food, but good foods - vegetables, fruit and fibre. They are being pressurised. Advertisements for junk food have been placed outside schools. People could not tell whether one school in the west was a school or a fast food chain. Graeme Aplin from the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of New South Wales said that one school in the western suburbs, which I would not want to embarrass by naming -

The PRESIDENT: Order! Pursuant to sessional orders, business is interrupted for the taking of questions.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION

The PRESIDENT: Order! Before I call on questions without notice I have an announcement to make. Honourable members have been made aware that the Annual General Meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association will be conducted in the National Party common room 1108 this evening. I have to advise honourable members that the meeting will commence at 6.30 p.m., not at 7 p.m. as advised in the circulated notice of meeting.

QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
______

DEATH OF JUNEE PRISON INMATE

The Hon. M. R. EGAN: My question without notice is directed to the Attorney General and Minister for Justice. Is he aware that a 22-year-old inmate was
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stabbed to death at Junee private gaol yesterday? How did this gross breach of prison security occur? Will the Attorney General now concede that Junee gaol is seriously understaffed and that the gaol's security and administration are a total shambles?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: My answer to the last two questions is, no, I will not make such a concession or support such an allegation. I am pleased that the Leader of the Opposition is prepared to make this allegation in the Parliament. I assure him that I shall guarantee him major coverage among the staff of the Junee gaol and all the people of Junee on this issue. We well know the attitude of the people of Junee towards the Labor Party for the way that it has failed to support the people of Junee in regard to employment opportunities. The establishment of the Junee gaol was well and truly welcomed by the people of that town. For the Leader of the Opposition in this House to attack the credibility and commitment of the staff of the Junee gaol in regard to their obligations -

The Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann: It is a shambles.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I acknowledge the interjection by the Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann and her allegation that the gaol is a shambles, only to emphasise to the employees of Junee that the left-wing and right-wing of the Labor Party in this House have joined together to attack employees in Junee who are union members. I will make certain that all employees at the Junee gaol are well and truly aware of the united position of all factions of the Labor Party in relation to the commitment of the staff and the attack of the Labor Party on the professionalism of the staff at Junee. I will guarantee that is known to them. I will make certain that the people of Junee are also well aware that members of the Labor Party - and it is a united position of the Labor Party - are prepared to attack the integrity of those people in Junee who are pursuing -

The Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann: You are not answering the question.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I will get to the rest of it, the honourable member need not worry about that. I will make sure that the people of Junee are made well aware of the position Opposition members take in relation to the professionalism and commitment of the people at Junee gaol. As to the first part of the question, I am aware that an inmate was stabbed in an area near the education block. I understand that two other people were involved and that there were a number of witnesses to the incident. I understand further that two people have been detained, euphemistically to assist the police in their inquires. I am led to believe that charges are being laid or are likely to be laid this afternoon in relation to the unfortunate incident. As the Leader of the Opposition said, the person stabbed was a young man; he was in gaol for armed robbery, although he had a criminal history prior to his incarceration in Junee.

Prison authorities and the police are investigating the matter. Honourable members should understand that prisons are places where people who are not nice people are incarcerated. Often those who are in gaols have been put there following incidents of violence in the community. Members should be aware also that violence does occur in gaols. Whilst in all gaols every effort is made to minimise incidents of violence, such violent incidents do occur from time to time. One of the things that must be remembered is that during the administration of the Labor Party 10 murders occurred in the prison system. Murders within the prison system are not isolated; they occur whether the gaols are privately administered or publicly administered.

The Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann: In 4½ months there have been 10 from non-natural causes.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: The honourable member's figures are again not accurate. Yesterday she showed her ignorance of the facts, and she has maintained that ignorance today.

HELENSBURGH LAND ZONINGS

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: I address my question without notice to the Minister for Planning and Minister for Housing. Was he aware, when he decided to order an inquiry into land use at Helensburgh, that the Water Corporation told investors in its prospectus that the corporation expected approval to be forthcoming on 500 hectares of land at Helensburgh that would yield an estimated $130 million in revenue? As the Water Corporation clearly would have no intention of misleading investors, how can the Minister explain the corporation's expectation that approval would be forthcoming? Has the Minister or anyone else made a promise to the Water Corporation that it would indeed be allowed to develop this land?

The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: The answers to the two questions are no and no.

MULAWA INMATE SELF-MUTILATION AND SUICIDES

The Hon. Dr MEREDITH BURGMANN: My question is directed to the Attorney General and Minister for Justice. In answer to my question yesterday about a death and a near death at Mulawa Women's Prison, did the Attorney General say of the death, "My answer is no, she died of natural causes"? Is he aware that the cause of the woman's death is listed as drug toxicity? Why did the Attorney mislead the House on this important issue?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: To my recollection the honourable member's allegation was that the woman had committed suicide.

The Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann: You said she died of natural causes.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: Yes, and that is still the position.

The PRESIDENT: Order! I am reaching the stage where I will no longer tolerate answers to questions being interrupted by cross-questioning by the member who has asked the question.

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The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I do not resile from my answer.

COMPENSATION FOR AIDS VICTIMS

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: I wish to ask the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Minister for Tourism and Minister Assisting the Premier, representing the Minister for Health, a question without notice. Is it a fact that the Government has agreed to pay compensation to innocent AIDS victims in New South Wales and or their next of kin, that is, those who acquire HIV-AIDS through medical procedures such as blood transfusions and blood products? What is the final amount of compensation from the New South Wales Government and the Federal Government? How many innocent AIDS victims are still alive, bearing in mind this scandalous delay? When will compensation payments actually commence to be paid to these innocent victims or their next of kin?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: While most certainly I shall give Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile the detail requested in his question, I shall refer it to my colleague in the other place. I can at least advise that in June 1992 $12 million was made available to the trust to allow it to provide assistance to, at that stage, the 224 people in New South Wales who were thought to be eligible. I do not know what the present numbers are but, given the nature of the progression of the virus, there may be fewer now. I will refer the matter to my colleague in the other place for a detailed response.

NATIONAL EDUCATION PROFILES

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY: I address my question without notice to the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs. Did the Minister issue an instruction to the Board of Studies that New South Wales syllabuses are to contain explicitly the outcome statements of the national profiles in eight key learning areas? Will the Minister assure the House that the New South Wales syllabus committees are expected to draw up syllabus documents free of instruction or expectation that they must conform to the national profiles? If the national profile outcome statements are included in New South Wales syllabus documents, will the sole purpose be to indicate the extent to which the New South Wales syllabuses, arrived at independently, agree with the outcome statements?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: It is indeed true that following numerous national ministerial councils and a strong commitment nationally by the Commonwealth Government and some States, a decision was taken at a ministerial council in Perth last year that the States would take the national profiles to their home State and would examine ways and means of incorporating them. That is a matter of public record. It is also a matter of public record that I held discussions with a number of educational groups, including the Board of Studies and all the stakeholders, for example, independent schools, the parents' councils, the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations, the New South Wales Teachers Federation, the list goes on. I held countless meetings with those educational groups concerned about national profiles and what should be done in New South Wales.

In fact, the New South Wales Board of Studies, through its then president, Mr Lambert, suggested New South Wales could have outcome statements for its syllabus. The Government is committed to outcome statements and has been since the Curran report on excellence and equity. This measure is supported by the Parliament because outcome statements are in the education format. It is a legislative requirement that we must have outcome statements for our syllabuses. As a result a decision was taken to explore, through the Board of Studies, the possibility of including and identifying some of those profiles in our outcome statements.

I am happy to search my records but I doubt that I would have instructed the Board of Studies to do anything. The Board of Studies is an independent statutory authority and I do not have the legislative capacity to instruct the Board of Studies to do anything. National profiles are included and incorporated in the outcome statements of the syllabus. They are highlighted by an asterisk. If the honourable member cares to examine any of the upgraded syllabuses, she will see that any outcome with an asterisk next to it is a national outcome.

HAIRDRESSING INDUSTRY HEALTH STANDARDS

The Hon. B. H. VAUGHAN: I direct my question without notice to the Minister for Housing, representing the Minister for Local Government and Co-operatives. Is the Minister aware of the concern of the Professional Hairdressers Association about the repeal of ordinance No. 62 of the Local Government Act, which relates to hairdressing salons - a significant part of the small business sector? Is he aware that such repeal has meant that certain health standards which were mandatory under that former ordinance are being breached by the proliferation of door-to-door and mobile hairdressers?

The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: I am aware of the matter raised by the honourable member and naturally I will seek a detailed answer from my colleague.

POLICE SERVICE SALARIES

The Hon. ELAINE NILE: I direct my question without notice to the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, representing the Minister for Police and Minister for Emergency Services. Is it a fact that New South Wales police constables in their first year earn between 4 per cent and 20 per cent less than similarly ranked police in other States and that the wage of senior constables after nine years falls between 1 per cent and 18 per cent behind the other States? Also, is it a fact that sergeants earn between 2.5 per cent and 18.4 per cent less than police in other States? Is it a fact that the wage of New South
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Wales police constables after five years' service is a disgraceful 23 per cent below the rate for a Federal police officer of similar rank? Will the Government immediately review the rates of pay for New South Wales Police Service constables, senior constables and sergeants, and urgently increase their rates to the equivalent of the Federal police, who have far less responsibility and stress than New South Wales police officers?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I will refer the matter to the Minister for Police and Minister for Emergency Services for detailed advice.

MAITLAND COURT SUPPORT WORKER

The Hon. R. D. DYER: I ask a question of the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, representing the Minister for Industrial Relations and Employment and Minister for the Status of Women. Did the Minister for the Status of Women make an announcement late last month regarding one-off funding in the sum of $30,000 for a period of 12 months to enable a domestic violence support worker in Maitland to continue the work carried on until recently out of Maitland Neighbourhood Information Centre? Why was this announcement confined to the marginal seat of Maitland? Is it the Government's intention to make the services of additional domestic violence support workers available in other areas of high need throughout the State?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: Of course, I will refer that matter to my colleague in another place. However, I wish to make one or two comments. I am astonished that a person as thoughtful and as conscious of community needs as the Hon. R. D. Dyer often is would deny the people of Maitland, particularly the women, access to these services. It is apparent from the comments of the honourable member that by implication he believes it is inappropriate for the people of Maitland to be provided with this support worker.

The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann to order.

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: I am acquainted with some of these people. Though my home is at Newcastle, it is close enough to Maitland for me to have more than a passing knowledge of the needs and social pressures that face the Maitland community. I am shocked and astonished that the Hon. R. D. Dyer, by implication, believes those people should not receive the much needed support worker. He is also suggesting by implication that it is apparently so inappropriate for Maitland to receive this service that something shonky or shady is occurring. Apparently, in his mind the need in Maitland for a domestic violence support worker is minimal and, therefore, Maitland is not worthy of that support. He asserts that this must be a shonky or shady deal. There is nothing shonky about the Government. The Government does not allocate funds on the basis of white boards but on the basis of need, and I am astonished that the Hon. R. D. Dyer should suggest otherwise.
CONSTABLE EL-AZZI SUSPENSION

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA: I ask the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, representing the Minister for Police and Minister for Emergency Services: is it a fact that a Constable El- Azzi has been suspended from the police force for nine years on full pay? Will the Attorney General inform the House why it has taken so long to investigate the charges brought against Constable El- Azzi? Does the Attorney General think it is fair on the constable or the taxpayers of New South Wales to have a policeman suspended on full pay for nine years?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I will refer the honourable member's question to the Minister for Police and Minister for Emergency Services and will provide a response to her.

McCREDIE COTTAGE, GUILDFORD

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY: Will the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, representing the Minister for Community Services, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for the Ageing assure the House that McCredie Cottage, in Guildford, will not be closed but will be maintained to provide care for young people who are assessed by volunteer agencies, such as Barnardo's, as unfosterable? Will secure group homes still be provided for young people who are unacceptable to institutions such as Barnardo's and whom the Department of Community Services has been unable to place with suitable foster parents?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: Those who have read the Usher report will be keen to note the content of the honourable member's question. As one who has more than a passing interest in the issue I often wonder what is to be done - given the rush to deinstitutionalise - with children who for their own good, sadly, need a secure environment. I am not saying there are not offenders, but their behaviour and level of disturbance is such that they need a secure environment. The honourable member knows I have an interest in the matter. I will refer the question about McCredie Cottage - which I know quite well - to my colleague for his comment and advice.

ROYAL COMMISSION INTO PRODUCTIVITY IN THE BUILDING INDUSTRY
IN NEW SOUTH WALES, HEARINGS

The Hon. A. B. MANSON: I direct my question without notice to the Attorney General and Minister for Justice. Does the building industry task force intend to charge Mr Frank Bakos under section 327 or section 330 of the Crimes Act, given that he deliberately and knowingly gave false testimony on oath before the Industrial Commission of New South Wales, and was proved to have done so during the course of the building industry royal commission? If not, why not?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I am not aware of Mr Bakos or of the issues to which the honourable member refers, but I will draw them to
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the attention of the task force. Charges are laid by members of the police force who are associated with the task force. Police force members operate as members of that force and are not subject to any control or direction from me. They exercise their discretion as members of the police force and pursue their investigations accordingly. I am not familiar with the matter to which the honourable member adverts, but I will bring his question to the attention of the task force.

PRISONER DEATHS

The Hon. Dr MEREDITH BURGMANN: My question without notice is directed to the Attorney General and Minister for Justice. Is the Minister aware that there have been 10 deaths from unnatural causes in the New South Wales prison system since January 1994?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: From 1 January until 1 May there have been four deaths from natural causes, three from suicide, two from murder, and four from causes which, on advice to me, are not known as they will have to be identified by coronial inquiry.

BOARD OF STUDIES DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The Hon. DOROTHY ISAKSEN: I ask a question without notice of the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs. Has the Government now received independent legal advice on whether disciplinary action should be taken against the General Manager (Examinations) of the Board of Studies, as recommended by the Ombudsman? If so, what is the advice, and what action will the Government take?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: The disciplinary action that was recommended by the Ombudsman in relation to the general manager of the Board of Studies has been undertaken. The review was undertaken by Mr Hodgkinson, a senior but now retired public servant, as required by legislation governing such matters. The report on that matter did not come to me - which would be quite inappropriate - but to the Executive Director of the Ministry, Mr Grimshaw, on 2 May. That advice was considered and action was then taken with Mr Cook. The matter is now resolved.

REMAND PRISONERS

The Hon. JUDITH WALKER: Does the Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Vice President of the Executive Council know how many people are currently on remand in this State?

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: Their names and addresses?

The Hon. JUDITH WALKER: I do not want their names and addresses, Minister. How many people are on remand, and how long have they been on remand? If the Minister does not know the answers to those questions, will he provide the answer before the end of this parliamentary session?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I cannot immediately advise the honourable member how many are on remand. That information is available to me in my records, and I receive regular updates on that information. However, my recollection is that there are several hundred at any one time in prisons on remand. I am proposing to build a new metropolitan remand centre which will contain facilities for 900 prisoners. I would expect all remand prisoners from Long Bay and Parramatta gaols to be housed at that centre. The numbers could well be between 700 and 900 on remand at any one time. I will try to find out for the honourable member how long those people have been on remand. I can obtain that information, but the honourable member should appreciate that records of about 700 inmates will have to be checked, which perhaps will serve no useful purpose. If the honourable member writes to me and details the information or categories of information she requires, I will be happy to make that information available to her.

REMAND PRISONERS

The Hon. JUDITH WALKER: I ask a supplementary question. Does the Minister intend to seek funding from the Government to fast track the building of the new remand centre?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: As I understand it, subject to what will come out of this year's Budget, I do not believe that will be necessary. We will be proceeding with all steps required for that particular facility. Approval has been given for it to proceed. First allocations for that project are in this year's Budget and are proceeding in accordance with this year's Budget. I have every reason to expect that funding will continue in accordance with budget allocations. I expect that we will be proceeding with tenders later this year, so that a contract will be let and construction will be under way next financial year. Once that contract is let, the project will proceed in accordance with it, and funding will follow as a matter of course. It is my hope that this prison should be operating somewhere in the latter part of 1996.

PROTECTED WATERS CLASSIFICATION

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: I ask the Minister for Planning and Minister for Housing, representing the Minister for the Environment, the following question without notice. Will he explain why there was no public discussion of the Government's intention to compromise the protected waters classification of streams near many coastal towns in relation to the regulation gazetted by the Environment Protection Authority under the Clean Waters Act on 30 March when there had been discussions only on the Picton sewerage issue?

The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: I am sure my colleague will provide an answer in due course.

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HAZARDOUS INDUSTRIES

The Hon. DELCIA KITE: What steps has the Minister for Planning and Minister for Housing taken to scale down the hazardous industries in the Botany Bay region which have the potential to cause cataclysmic destruction of people and property? What steps has the Minister taken to ensure that the huge underground storage tanks proposed by ICI for storage of liquefied petroleum gas will be rejected due to the risks already existing in the form of 435,000 tonnes of flammable liquids, 28,500 tonnes of liquefied flammable gases, and 21,870 tonnes of potential toxic material?

The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: I am sure the honourable member would be aware that it is necessary in industrialised society to have hazardous industries. Hazardous industries have been present in the Botany Bay area for many many years. Some very fine work has been done by this Government as a result of the chemical inquiry, resulting in the strongest laws involving hazardous industries and the protection of the public that it is possible to have. Sam Haddad, one of the assistant directors of the Department of Planning, is regarded as a world authority on this subject and has been invited on many occasions to address United Nations gatherings and conferences throughout the world.

This Government has a very good record of dealing with hazardous industries. I am not quite sure what the honourable member is suggesting should be done with Botany Bay. What is the honourable member suggesting the Government should do with hazardous industries, most of which were at Botany Bay long beyond this Government was elected? Many of them were put there before the Labor Party was in office, but I am not quibbling with that. Perhaps the honourable member will enlighten us at some later date. On the second topic raised, that is, the proposed undersea gas caverns that were the subject of a recent commission of inquiry, a recommendation from the commissioner is now with the Department of Planning that approval be given to that proposal. It is a proposal by Elgas and it is being considered by the department. I will make an announcement about it when the department has provided me with its advice.

NEWCASTLE LINEAR ACCELERATOR FACILITIES

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY: I direct my question to the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, representing the Minister for Health. In view of recent statements by a leading medical authority that women are having unnecessary breast surgery because of the shortage of linear accelerators, will the Minister inform the House whether the Government intends to proceed with the third linear accelerator at the Mater hospital in Newcastle so that women in the Hunter region will not be forced to either undergo unnecessary surgery or be put in a position of adding to the waiting lists for radiation oncology in Sydney hospitals?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: I certainly will refer the question about linear accelerators to my colleague the Minister for Health, but I want to say one or two things about this question. Quite frankly, I would be astonished if the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby did not agree with what I have to say. The Hunter's medical expertise, particularly in relation to breast cancer, is well known - from the University of Newcastle to specialist services provided by individuals and organisations. I am proud of the Hunter's record in that regard. It is well known that some experts from the University of Newcastle are held in high regard, and are regarded as national and international experts in the field. I detect no implication in the honourable member's question that she is in any way making a negative comment about the dedication and expertise of those practising in the Hunter.

Though I take on board what the honourable member has said - and no one in their right mind would condone unnecessary surgery - we would all concede that a range of factors must be considered in the decision whether to have surgery, including what some may call unnecessary surgery. Often surgery is performed for sociological or for family reasons; feelings of family obligation play as much a part as the availability of services does. Though I accept the honourable member's question, I know she shares the high regard I have of medical professionals in the Hunter. I felt obliged to make those comments and I will pass the question on to my colleague the Minister for Health.

NEWCASTLE LINEAR ACCELERATOR FACILITIES

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY: I ask the Minister a supplementary question. In view of the Minister's answer, is she aware that the older of the two linear accelerators at the Mater hospital in Newcastle will have to be put under routine maintenance within the next 12 months and therefore the establishment of further accelerators, in order to maintain two in that city, is becoming a matter of urgency?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: Whether that is supplementary question or not, yes, I have been aware of those assertions by the medical community. I am not qualified to make a comment about the veracity or otherwise of those assertions. I do not know whether one of the linear accelerators is to be put under routine maintenance. I have no idea about that, but I will include the supplementary question with the question I forward to my colleague the Minister for Health.

MULTICULTURAL AND ETHNIC AFFAIRS MUSEUM FEASIBILITY STUDIES

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA: I ask the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, representing the Minister for Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs, a question without notice. Is it a fact that various feasibility studies are being undertaken by various consultants on behalf of the Minister for
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Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs? When will the result of such studies and their costs be known? Will the Attorney General make a progress report to the House on this important issue to the ethnic communities and to all Australians for whom the museum will be an important documentation of their history?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I will convey the question to the Minister for Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs and obtain a response for the honourable member.

COURT EVIDENCE OF CHILDREN

The Hon. Dr MARLENE GOLDSMITH: My question without notice is directed to the Attorney General and Minister for Justice and Vice President of the Executive Council. Is the Government doing anything to address the serious issue of the impact on young children of giving evidence before courts?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: The issue of young children having to give evidence in court cases is one that causes concern to many of us. Members opposite have asked questions about this matter in recent times. The experience of giving evidence in court can be extremely traumatic and stressful to adults, let alone the impact it has on children. We can but wonder about the long-term effect that such an experience can have on children, particularly in some of the more sensitive criminal cases. Earlier this year I met with the New South Wales Child Protection Council to discuss this and related issues. Following my meeting with it, I approved in April a proposal to establish an interdepartmental task force to review the present arrangements relating to the use of closed-circuit television for children's evidence and to examine proposals for amendment to the relevant legislation including those provisions with respect to other methods which may be used for making it easier for children to give evidence.

The terms of reference from the children's evidence task force include the review of legislation providing for children's evidence to be given by means of closed-circuit television, and in particular consideration of a report of the New South Wales Child Protection Council and other reports and recommendations of that council and of other bodies that the use of closed-circuit television be extended to all child victims of crime and all child witnesses of crime. I have asked the task force also to consider whether all or part of either the Western Australian or the Queensland legislation relating to the evidence of children and other vulnerable persons should be adopted in New South Wales.

I have also requested that the task force consider whether provision should be made for the admission into evidence of videotapes of children's out-of-court statements, and also to consider whether the use of closed-circuit television should be extended to adult victims of sexual assault and adult victims of domestic violence, or whether there are other classes of vulnerable persons who should also be given the benefit of the use of closed-circuit television. I have also asked the task force to report to me on the appropriate legislative means of reforming the law with a view to facilitating the reception of the evidence of children and other vulnerable witnesses in court and making optimal use of closed-circuit television facilities.

The task force is holding its first meeting today. I will be pleased to keep honourable members informed of its progress on this and other important issues. All members recognise the need to facilitate the giving of evidence to courts by vulnerable persons. As honourable members know, the Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith is interested in this sensitive area. I will ensure that she is kept informed of the outcome of the work of this important task force.

BEHAVIOUR OF PUBLIC HOUSING TENANTS

The Hon. R. T. M. BULL: I address my question to the Minister for Planning and Minister for Housing. Is the Minister aware of recent criticism of the behaviour of some public housing tenants? Will the Minister inform the House what the Department of Housing is doing to eliminate problems in the public housing system?

The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: I am aware of recent comments made by some Opposition members, in many cases irresponsible comments, which appear to be attempting to stir up public alarm by alleging that crime and disruptive behaviour in public housing is rife and that the Department of Housing is not responding to correct this situation. Both these allegations are far from the truth. The Department of Housing provides affordable housing for more than 128,000 low-income and needy people across the State. When one deals with such a large number of people one can reasonably expect that some of them will act in an anti-social manner. The sheer volume of tenants that are housed dictates that some problems must be expected.

However, I assure honourable members that the number of problem tenants in the public housing system is very small. The vast majority of the State's tenants go about their business quietly, without disrupting neighbours or fellow tenants. In fact, in many cases people do not even realise they are living next to a public housing dwelling. The department has an obligation to ensure that all its tenants and their neighbours are allowed quiet enjoyment of their tenancy; it is one of the basic provisions of the leasing agreement which is signed by the department and its tenants. All the department's tenants are therefore obliged, under the same agreement, to ensure that they allow fellow tenants and neighbours the same quiet enjoyment of their housing. The department takes a serious view of enforcing this obligation and will pursue action to ensure that all tenants behave in a responsible manner.

The department, like all other landlords in New South Wales, must comply with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act. If it wishes to take any
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action or enforce any aspects of a tenancy agreement it must do so through the correct procedures set out under that Act. The department therefore has a range of mechanisms in place to deal with those small number of disruptive tenants, and its response is based on the nature of the incident involved. Where the department identifies a minor incident of nuisance and annoyance it can seek a restraining order from the Residential Tenancies Tribunal which allows the department to seek an order for specific performance requiring the tenants to comply with some specific conditions if they wish to maintain their tenancy; it can refer matters to community justice centres for private disputes between individual neighbours; or it can rehouse the tenant in another location.

Where there are serious or consistent incidents of nuisance and annoyance and all possible avenues to resolve the breaches have been explored, the department can seek a warrant of possession from the Residential Tenancies Tribunal either under section 57, notice of possession on the grounds of breach of agreement, giving 14 days' notice, or under section 58, notice of termination without any ground, giving 60 days' notice. However, the department has to overcome some reasonable hurdles in obtaining evidence to support the application of an order under section 57. It must have evidence that can be presented to the tribunal and made available to the tenant concerned. Often people affected by abusive or disruptive behaviour are not willing to come forward for fear of retribution.

In instances in which there has been a breach of the tenancy agreement due to the conduct of illegal or criminal activities, such as drug dealing, the department can seek a notice under section 57 only if there is evidence from the police that those activities have been occurring on departmental premises. There are similar concerns for the department when it seeks a warrant of possession to evict a tenant using section 58 and when section 57 cannot be used. The Supreme Court has ruled that the department must incorporate the principles of procedural fairness when using this section of the Act. This means the department must gather evidence from complainants and present this evidence to the offending tenant, while being careful to maintain the anonymity of the complainant. This has obviously contributed to a reluctance on the part of staff to seek section 58 orders, due to the difficulty in complying with these conditions.

On another front, it is recognised that some incidents of nuisance and annoyance involve people displaying anti-social behaviour, including people with an intellectual or psychiatric disability. Importantly, the Department of Housing has recently developed a major policy response to deal with this client group, including an interdepartmental committee comprising chief executive officers from the departments of housing, health, and community services to develop strategies - its final report was recently released and contains 21 recommendations. The strategies developed involve protocols between departments for a co-ordinated and co-operative relationship; three pilot projects housing only people who are psychiatrically affected, with high levels of support to residents from area health teams; the housing communities assistance program employing community workers in 11 identified housing estates throughout New South Wales, providing support to tenants; and the establishment of new client service teams, underpinning the restructure of the Department of Housing, which will have a significant role in enhancing community harmony on public housing estates.

I presented this landmark report to all housing Ministers at a recent conference of housing Ministers. The New South Wales Department of Housing received strong commendation from the Deputy Prime Minister and other Ministers for this landmark report. Most importantly, I now wish to discuss the future directions set down by the Government to deal with community disharmony resulting from disruptive behaviour of some tenants. These include the development of a housing strategy for people with long-term support needs; a review of the department's tenants participation program; undertaking research to gain a better understanding of the relationship between environmental design and crime prevention to improve safety and security in public housing estates; and a review of the procedures currently used by the department in conjunction with sections of the Residential Tenancies Act to deal with instances of nuisance and annoyance.

I assure honourable members that the Government takes very seriously its responsibility, as the biggest landlord in Australia, to provide housing and to ensure that the requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act not to interfere, or cause or permit interference, with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of neighbours are strictly adhered to by all tenants. I am confident that the steps I have outlined today will help to remove any real problems that arise in public housing which would interfere with this objective. I urge honourable members of the Opposition to carefully note what I have said and to encourage their colleagues in another place not to stir up trouble when it is not necessary.

FEDERAL BUDGET ALLOCATION FOR NATIONAL ASIAN LANGUAGES INITIATIVES

The Hon. HELEN SHAM-HO: Will the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Minister for Tourism and Minister Assisting the Premier inform the House about the implications for New South Wales students arising from last night's Federal Budget announcement of a national Asian languages initiative?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: The Hon. Helen Sham-Ho has asked an important question.

[Interruption]

I note the comments made by Opposition members. I presume that means that those Opposition members who interjected listened to the Federal Budget last night, read the Budget Papers and read all
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the attendant press releases so they will be able to make a valid contribution to debate today. We will see how much of the Budget Papers they have read. Honourable members should be concerned about this national language strategy after reading the Federal Budget Papers and the attendant press releases. All honourable members would be aware that there was agreement between the Prime Minister and the Premiers at the meeting of the Council of Australian Governments concerning the importance of Asian language initiatives, which is what they were called.

I have had some anxiety about fitting the Asian languages priority into the 12-languages priority program. Despite that I have been somewhat heartened by the assurance that it is a Federal Government priority. Agreement was reached by the Premiers and the Prime Minister at the COAG meeting. Because of the importance placed on this program by the Prime Minister, there will be a 50:50 funding arrangement. What do we find in the Budget Papers? The Budget commitment for the program is $6 million nationally for 1994-95. Nationally, over a four-year period, the Federal Government will put in $57.2 million. Once we determine how much each State will receive over the four years we see that this program is not really such a high priority, particularly when we take into account the fact that the COAG agreement will remain in force until the year 2006.

As if that is not worrying enough we then have to ask where that money is coming from. When we start reading the fine print in the Budget Papers we discover that the Budget provides offsets for this outlay. The Budget Papers state that the offsets will be achieved through "savings within the existing education programs run by the Department of Education, Employment and Training". So the offset will be $3.4 million in 1994-95. We will be shaking in our boots until we find out where these cuts will occur. The more the Prime Minister giveth, the more he taketh away. An amount of $6 million has been allocated for this program; we will have offsets of $3.4 million; and the generous offer of the Federal Government is $2.6 million nationally. The four-year offset is $9.9 million, which reduces the Federal Government's funding commitment.

I have searched the Budget Papers and I am sure it will come as no surprise to honourable members that they provide no details concerning these offsets in the Budget. So much for the Prime Minister's national Asian language initiative! Of course school education is a State responsibility, but we are talking about a 50:50 program - a national Asian languages initiative - which has been lauded by the Prime Minister. The strategy that was endorsed by COAG, by the Prime Minister and by the Premiers, revealed that this would be a 50:50 cost-shared arrangement, yet the press statements which accompanied the Budget Papers state, "The responsibility to provide funding for direct school based costs, such as teachers' salaries, remains with the States and Territories". That is fine, but where will the money go? We presume this will mean more infrastructure and more duplication and nothing will go to the schools.

The Hon. R. T. M. Bull: And more committees.

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: And, no doubt, more committees, more interdepartmental committees and more acronyms. We will have $1 million dollars worth of acronyms and it will be left to the States and our poor little schools to pick up the pieces of yet another of the Federal Government's shattered dreams.

PUBLIC SCHOOLCHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

The Hon. DELCIA KITE: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Minister for Tourism and Minister Assisting the Premier. How many New South Wales public schools cater for children under eight years of age who have mild intellectual disabilities? Where are they situated? How many of those schools cater for children who do not have the ability to speak but are not deaf?

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: On a point of order: I protest! Three-quarters of a million children are in public schools in New South Wales. It is stupid for the Hon. Delcia Kite to ask how many of those children under eight have a disability and at which of the 2,500 schools they are situated.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Delcia Kite should place that detailed question on notice. She may ask the second part of her question if it does not seek such detailed information.

The Hon. DELCIA KITE: I ask the Minister where those schools are situated? How many of those schools cater for children who do not have the ability to speak but are not deaf? Which of those schools teach Auslan?

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Delcia Kite will place her entire question on notice.

SYDNEY CASINO LICENCE

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Minister for Tourism and Minister Assisting the Premier, representing the Chief Secretary and Minister for Administrative Services. Has the licence for the Sydney casino been approved? Which company won the Sydney casino licence? What were the main reasons for selecting the company? What overseas police investigations have been undertaken concerning the United States Showboat consortium, which apparently is an important part of the successful application?

The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: The answer to the question asked by Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile clearly is yes. While the views of Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile about gambling are well known - whether or not one agrees with or disagrees with those views - in the many years that we have
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worked together in this place the honourable member has been consistent in his views about gambling and in particular about casinos. While I do not necessarily agree with his views I certainly respect the consistency of his views and his right to hold and promote those views. The Government spent some time debating whether or not to move to allow the establishment of a casino in New South Wales.

Over the last two years the Government has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that every possible area was considered in relation to the siting of the casino, the method of tendering and property issues. It ensured that all Government members stood back from the process so that no accusation could be levelled at them for involvement in or manipulation of the process. We all know of legitimate concerns in the past concerning the development of some casinos. It was thought that people who were involved might have had connections in other areas. That compounded some of the social and legal problems associated with the operation of the casino.

None of us, given we are human, would be so bold as to believe that one could give an iron-clad guarantee that there would never be any difficulty. The Government has gone to extreme lengths to investigate all those who expressed an interest in the project, including the successful tenderers for the casino licence. There is a real commitment by the Government to ensure that those who now will be entrusted with the development of a casino in Sydney will be people of honesty and integrity and that there is no improper influence imposed upon or element associated with that casino.

The vision of the winning tenderers is more related to adult environment than a mix of family environments alongside a casino. I do not express an opinion one way or another on that. The proposal includes a new five-star hotel, more conference facilities, a lyric theatre and additional performing space for 800 people, and these will be of tremendous value to the people of Sydney. In addition, some of the revenue generated from the casino will assist with funding our hospitals and the health system. Though I have concentrated on the enhancements that will accrue to the community, I in no way ignore the legitimate social concerns that have been consistently expressed by the honourable member.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: In view of the hour, may I suggest that any further interesting questions be placed on notice.
______

EDUCATION AND SPONSORSHIP
Matter of Public Interest

Debate resumed from an earlier hour.

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES [5.2]: The former President of the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations, Mr Graeme Aplin, said that one school in the western suburbs - which I will not name - had so many advertisements plastered about that visitors could not read the name of the school or find their way to the school office. Mr Aplin commented that because of the positioning of some signs people were confused about whether schools were schools or fast food outlets. Honourable members will recall the scandal that erupted over the McDonald's logo appearing in a basic skills test. An article that appeared in the Daily Telegraph Mirror of 21 August 1993 stated:
    Parent and teacher groups are outraged a golden McDonald's logo was drawn on to a map in a test sat by almost 60,000 NSW primary school students.

I wonder who on earth organised for McDonald's golden arches to be placed in the skills test. It is subliminal advertising to our young students. Children of such tender years are very vulnerable, they are easily influenced. They have young, open minds and tend to believe what is told to them. If they are told that McDonald's products are good to eat, they will eat them - regrettably - and we chase them along the path of early death, heart disease, and bowel, prostate, breast and other cancers which are caused by eating -

[Interruption]

I wish honourable members would read the literature on this issue; there is so much clear evidence on this matter now. Unfortunately, the New South Wales Cancer Council does not seem to be aware of this - if it is, it is certainly not promoting it. In the United States of America the Pizza Hut company sells pizzas in about 4,000 schools - in some of the larger school canteens it has actually installed pizza cooking equipment. Are we to go down that road too? I am proud of the University of New South Wales, which banned McDonald's from trading on its campus. I am also pleased to know that at the university canteen they sold 6,000 "vegie" burgers in the first few days of their being available. It is the way to go, there is no question.

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: What is wrong with a "vegie" burger?

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: Nothing is wrong with "vegie" burgers. A "vegie" burger organisation would at least sell a healthy and ethical product. The big problem is that we are getting tangled up with unethical products and unethical companies. Products such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola are not foods and should not be consumed by schoolchildren.

The Hon. J. F. Ryan: Marijuana is not a food either.

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: No marijuana marketing company sponsors its product in schools. The products which young people are being asked to buy as a result of sponsorship deals - pizzas, McDonald's, Mars bars, Coca-Cola and Pepsi - are dangerous products to a certain extent. They contain drugs and products that can cause death several years earlier than one would expect otherwise. Honourable members have been informed of an instance when the
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Coca-Cola Company pressured a school in the Marsden district to install a Coca-Cola machine. The parents almost went along with the suggestion but wanted to put health drinks into the machine as well. Coca-Cola said no: it wanted only Coca-Cola in its machine. The parents objected to the installation of the machine because their children would be able to drink only Coca-Cola; that is all they were being offered by the machine. We have to teach our children better values. To encourage children to eat McDonald's, pizzas and Mars bars, and to drink Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola is not to teach them good values. That is going down the American fast food track.

[Interruption]

I am not anti-America, I have a lot of friends in America. I have been to America dozens of times. But I very much oppose large American corporations moving into Australia, Indonesia, Russia and Third World countries. Many years before the war in the region I travelled to Lebanon and visited the Temple of Bacchus, the wine god. In the centre of that magnificent, fallen temple, surrounded by huge pillars, stood an American 7-Up stand. I have seen in remote villages in some Third World countries Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola and 7-Up signs. Such communities do not need these products, they need traditional healthy drinks. Unhealthy drinks are being pushed on to Third World people, who are impressionable and are not used to such forms of marketing.

Similarly, in Australia we are pushing unhealthy products on to our children who are seven, eight, nine, and 10 years old. No one could oppose ethical sponsorship by an ethical corporation which produced ethical products. But that cannot be said for McDonald's, Coca-Cola, or even Pizza Hut. The products they sell are not good products for children.

The Hon. J. F. Ryan: What is your view on Ronald McDonald House? Would you return the money that McDonald's donates for that program?

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: That is a nice little public relations exercise. The health costs to the community of people eating McDonald's products throughout their lives probably runs into hundreds of millions of dollars - not to mention the environmental cost. McDonald's claims that its beef does not come from recently cleared rainforest, but it does. It may not be rainforest in Australia, but it would be rainforests overseas. I have seen the Amazon being cleared, and as a result of people eating McDonald's, millions of animals are killed.

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: Are you saying McDonald's trashed the Amazon rainforests?

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: The Minister is claiming that McDonald's has trashed the Amazon rainforests. I do not know where she got that idea.

The Hon. Virginia Chadwick: You just said so.

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: I did not say that. An article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 6 August 1993, written by Peter West, the senior lecturer in education at the University of Western Sydney-Nepean, carried the headline "Hamburglar deal gives our kids a no quarter pounding". The article reads:
    The New South Wales Government's tasteless deal with McDonald's for sponsorship, all on a sesame seed bun, of school activities is symptomatic of a wholesale corruption in values underpinning the State education system . . .

Peter West continued:
    Children in State schools are thus being told to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, but they are going to be sold a message about eating more fried chips and white-bread patties. The whole deal is as ludicrous as a cigarette manufacturer being allowed to sponsor football.

Dr West said:
    State schools should send Ronald McDonald packing: our children deserve better than this shonky deal of hamburgers-for-dollars.

The Government is selling out our children by allowing these companies to sponsor them with tasteless, unhealthy products. I refer honourable members to an article by Adele Horin in the Sydney Morning Herald of 4 August 1993 entitled, "The $3bn target: our kids". In that article she says:
    . . . Childhood has become commercialised beyond recognition.

The article, when referring to a consumer kids conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, states:
    It is a chance to learn how to "Grab Your Share Of The Multi-Billion Dollar Kids' Market . . .

These brands are living and breathing things to kids, an extension of their personalities. [Time expired.]

The Hon. JAN BURNSWOODS [5.10], in reply: I thank all honourable members who have contributed to the debate on this important topic of education and sponsorship. I express my disappointment with some of the contributions. I return to the matter with which I began: the important issues of principle involved in the debate on sponsorship in public education. Among others I mentioned school funding, the ethics of relationships between schools and business, the role of government education departments, the effect of advertising on young children and, in relation particularly to fast food sponsors, concern with children's health. I started off deliberately by mentioning those principles and issues because I wanted to make it clear that I did not intend to allow the debate to descend to the trivial depths to which, unfortunately, some Government members and Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile allowed it to descend.

I emphasised that I very much believed that all honourable members would be concerned about the principles I mentioned. I tried to say also, I thought clearly, that I did not want to speak about the traditional methods of sponsorship by local small
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business. I did not criticise that form of sponsorship and went out of my way to speak of the guidelines issued by the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the kinds of rules it suggested in relation to tendering expressions of interest. In other words, I tried to say that this is not a debate - as the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs tried to make it - about mums, lamingtons and local small business. It is a debate about massive commercialisation of our schools and the kind of impact that process might have on schools.

As Government members in particular tended not to deal with those broader issues but went back to a series of trivial issues, I express my disappointment with what they said. The only other point I make in that connection is in regard to the absolute obsession of those members and Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile with McDonald's, which seems to suggest either an unhealthy craving for some of the additives and chemicals in that kind of fast food or a rather worrying concern to kowtow and toady to that kind of large company. Either way, I am disappointed about what those members offered. I should respond specifically to the remarks of the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs. No wonder she would not let me anticipate what she would say. My little list was absolutely correct. I had written down lamingtons and some of the other things to which she referred. She said almost the same things she has said on other occasions. Unfortunately she was just as unconvincing today as she was on those occasions.

The Minister conspicuously steered clear of the issues of principle I had raised, and she failed to speak about principles such as equity. Instead of talking about equity she spoke about betterment - to use her word. The very point I tried hard to make was that our society has a problem if schools in fundamentally affluent areas with parents who can provide the kind of assistance that is relevant through things such as Coles computers, get more betterments than schools in other areas. I should have hoped that all honourable members would have been concerned about that problem.

I have no comment to make on the sensible contribution made by the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby. The examples she gave were specific, such as advertisements on fences - a matter to which I had referred in passing. I do not share her views about the Labor Party's attitude to fees, but perhaps I should save that for another debate. I was especially struck by the remarks of the Hon. R. T. M. Bull in relation to the Mars bar uproar earlier this year. He commented that it was a national program that had nothing to do with the Department of School Education or the Government. As if the Minister were fearful that the honourable member had not made the point strongly enough, she went to the length of taking a point of order on you, Madam Acting-President, during your contribution, to make the point again.

What troubled me most about the efforts of the Minister and the Hon. R. T. M. Bull to make that point was that the Chief Executive of the Western Australian Education Department, Mr Greg Black, had taken the opposite point of view on the Mars bar uproar. I should read to the House some of the remarks he made. He said that he would be writing to schools advising them to be cautious about taking on sponsorship arrangements, as had been done in the eastern States where a fast food company was sponsoring school sport. He said he was uneasy about the Mars scheme and, although he did not think it should be banned, he would be advising schools against getting involved. Mr Black basically took the attitude, which I call on the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs to emulate, that these types of schemes rather than being encouraged in our schools should be discouraged.

If the Minister and the Hon. R. T. M. Bull truly think that the Mars bars issue has nothing to do with the department or the Government, I urge them to examine the statements made in Western Australia and think for a moment about their duties and responsibilities as a Minister and Parliamentary Secretary respectively. I shall ignore the other remarks made by the Hon. R. T. M. Bull as to whether I had visited schools. I have probably been in a few hundred more schools than he will ever visit. He should check his facts before he reduces a debate such as this to personalities.

Finally, I refer briefly to the comments made about McDonald's by the Hon. J. F. Ryan. I know he had problems because he did not have his glasses with him. Nevertheless, it was indicative that he spoke only about McDonald's. That reveals the obsession to which I referred earlier. By speaking only about companies and reading out a long list - as the honourable member did at the end of his speech - of companies engaged in sponsorship, he ignored completely the issues of principle I spoke about at the beginning of the debate. I will ignore the comments of Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile. His obsession with what I think he called left-wing socialist ideology was irrelevant to the debate. If he honestly thinks that children in our schools should be subjected to the kind of influences about which other honourable members have been speaking, I fear for his understanding of what education is really about. I should like to make a couple of brief comments about the real issue in this debate and refer to an article quoted from by the Hon. R. S. L. Jones at the conclusion of his contribution. The article states that budgets and politics have begun dictating value systems in schools instead of vice versa. Honourable members should consider that important point whether or not they agree with it. It states further:
    "Justice for all" has become "If you want it, find the money for it". Attempts to spread opportunities, however idealistic or unrealistic, have become "look after yourself".

Dr West in the article raised the following question:
    "Where will it all end?". Cigarette manufacturers sponsoring track and field? Steroid manufacturers sponsoring bodybuilding competitions?

Page 2241

The other issue raised under the heading of "Where will it all end?" was beer manufacturers sponsoring the high school dance. I assume that a couple of months ago all honourable members received a booklet entitled "Home safely", which was published by the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia Incorporated and other industry bodies. Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile would be concerned about that. I should like to refer to a passage towards the end of the booklet under the heading "Education Kit", which states:
    A multi media educational kit will be offered free of charge to secondary schools throughout Australia.

That is so generous of them. [Time expired.]

Discussion of matter of public interest concluded.

FILM AND VIDEO TAPE CLASSIFICATION (AMENDMENT) BILL
Second Reading

Debate resumed from 5 May.

The Hon. R. D. DYER [5.20]: The Opposition indicates its support for the Film and Video Tape Classification (Amendment) Bill. The measure before the House, in essence, provides for the classification and regulation of computer games. It has the effect of complementing the Classification of Publications Amendment Ordinance 1994 of the Australian Capital Territory, which is intended to form the basis for a national classification scheme for computer games. The effects will be that computer games will be classified by the Commonwealth Office of Film and Literature Classification. That office already undertakes the classification of films, videos and publications on behalf of most States and Territories in Australia. In fact, the Commonwealth Office of Film and Literature Classification commenced classification of computer games on 11 April, and it has become necessary to legislate for that purpose in this State.

The proposed legislation provides for classification ratings of computer games ranging from G-rated games, which are suitable for even the youngest child, to MA-rated games, which are restricted to persons 15 years and over unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. A new G8 classification is also included in the bill. This takes into account advice from early childhood experts to the effect that children under eight years of age are less able than more mature children and adults to distinguish fact from fantasy. Last week the Attorney General said in his second reading speech that a particular attribute of computer games is their interactive nature. This creates a problem in regard to use, particularly by young children, in that the repetitive use of a game with violent content can have a harmful effect on the young people in question.

In his second reading speech the Minister stated that it is proposed that both X-rated and R-rated games be given a refused classification in New South Wales, and I am referring to computer games. The Opposition supports that approach. The Minister in his second reading speech said it was his understanding that a similar approach will be taken in all other Australian jurisdictions, both State and Territory, with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory. Clearly that is a disappointment, a problem, and it leaves a loophole. However, the Opposition's view is that it is the duty of the Government, the Opposition and all members of Parliament to act so far as possible to deal with the problem in this State.

The Attorney General pointed out also that the prohibition on X-rated and R-rated games is consistent with the recommendation of the Senate Select Committee on Community Standards Relevant to the Supply of Services using Electronic Technology. That committee reported in October 1993 on computer games and classification issues. The Minister raised a significant point when he indicated that the introduction of this legislation to regulate computer games is consistent with the Government's commitment to the United Nation's International Year of the Family. I wish to strongly associate the Opposition with that expression of opinion because the Opposition believes that it is appropriate in the International Year of the Family to support the Government's legislation.

The Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith: What about my bill?

The Hon. R. D. DYER: In regard to the bill of the Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith, I have noted that the Government has additional speakers on Thursdays to debate the bill, presumably because the Government envisages some problem with the legislation. The Opposition will indicate its attitude when and if the bill comes to a vote.

The Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith: I have the Government's support.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: The honourable member indicates that she has the Government's support. In that case I suggest she calls off some speakers and brings the matter to a vote. In any event, I am speaking to the Government's measure rather than the private measure. In regard to computer games, the Opposition is more than willing to support the legislation on its merit and on the basis that it is consistent with the Government's commitment to the International Year of the Family - a view adhered to by the Opposition. I outline my own concern and that of some of my colleagues in another place who have raised the issue of particular computer games. I refer to the offensive nature of some video games, and I call for some action in regard to the problems disclosed. Since the Minister gave his second reading speech last week press reports have referred to the quite extraordinary violence and distasteful content of some computer games. I should have thought that would be unhealthy for all members of society, let alone the children who have access to those types of video games.

Page 2242

For example, a report in the Daily Telegraph Mirror of 6 May referred to a game known as "Custer's Last Stand" which showed soldiers raping women. A game entitled "Auschwitz" shows a player winning by forcing the most people into gas ovens. Other games referred to in the Sydney Morning Herald of 5 May included one called "Streets of Rage", in which players use chains, whips and bats to kill opponents. Another game named "Street Fighter" is said to give realistic sounds when a punch or kick hits an opponent's body. A game called "Terminator 2" is based on the movie of the same name in which the hero violently kills his opponents. There are plenty of statistics and serious crime incidents to show that violence is a problem in our society. All the material to which I have referred is unhealthy and, as one member opposite said, quite sick in impact and content.

On 17 November last year in the other place my colleague the honourable member for Cabramatta raised a matter of concern in relation to Hyper, a video game review magazine targeted at the 10- to 14-year age group. One would think, reading many parts of that magazine, that it is intended for a relatively young age group. For example, the magazine's centrefold has displayed on its cover a picture of Walt Disney's Aladdin, with references to "Aladdin", "Thunder Hawk", "Battle Maniac's Final Fight" and other types of video games that young people might legitimately be interested in. However, inside the magazine is a quite amazing article containing obscene language. It is not necessary or appropriate for me to read the material on to the parliamentary record. However, I ask members to accept my word that the material is most certainly obscene and is unsuited to the age group at which it is targeted.

The Attorneys-General of this country are right in wanting to regulate video computer games and to put some of them beyond classification on the ground of their obscene or excessively violent content. Children and young persons of relatively tender years should be protected from some of this material. Computer bulletin boards containing most distasteful material can be accessed. Commercial interests involved in the distribution of these computer games suggest, conveniently for them, that the difficulty of controlling material accessible in computer bulletin boards is an argument against regulating video computer games. I reject that argument.

The Legislature should act against these games to the extent it can and should explore what other means are available to deal with other manifestations of this problem that might exist in society. The claim that some aspect of the problem is presently beyond the reach of the Legislature or beyond ready or easy control does not mean that the problem in computer and video games should not be fully addressed. The Opposition does not wish to delay the House. The issue is a serious one for our society. On the basis I have briefly mentioned, the Opposition indicates its firm support for the bill.

The Hon. Dr MARLENE GOLDSMITH [5.35]: I am pleased to speak in support of the bill, and I commend the Attorney General for introducing it in this Parliament. I would like to share with honourable members a review published on 17 April in the Sunday Telegraph of a new computer game. One is led to conclude from the style of the review that it is written by a young person, someone called Jason Hill, though I do not know his age. His review states:
    Playing Doom reminds me of watching one of those sick and gory horror movies like The Evil Dead.
    Most of the time you're rolling about the floor laughing at the stupid and senseless violence, but occasionally you're very frightened - or sickened to the stomach.
    So it is with Doom, one of the most violent and incredibly fun games ever.
    You are a lone marine sent to deal with thousands of demons and psychopathic ex-marines at Phobos.
    All you have is a measly pistol which won't get you very far.
    The name of the game is "shoot everything that moves". You must try to find the exit to each level and make it out alive, using all the gadgets and weapons you can find along the way.
    By far the best weapon available is the BFG 9000, which takes out every monster in a room. But don't expect to find one straight away.
    For the most part, you must make do with your fists, pistol, shotguns and chain guns.
    Rocket-launchers and plasma rifles are deadly and great fun, but the most enjoyment comes from finding the very well hidden chainsaw.
    Here's the magic of Doom. What other game allows you to hack through a cacodemon or imp with a chainsaw until their head explodes?

That is what we are talking about in the bill. There have been frequent examples in the press of the sorts of games our children and other children have been exposed to in recent years. This material is particularly prevalent overseas. Chris Brennan wrote about an overseas example in the Daily Telegraph Mirror of 31 May 1993. In that article he gave a description of three young boys sitting in a middle-class suburban home playing a very interactive computer game which builds into a crescendo of excitement as, on the screen:
    . . . a scantily dressed actress screams as she stumbles into the clutches of a ghastly chainsaw-wielding freak who thumps her to the ground and then grinds his chainsaw into her skull.
    An excited cheer goes up from the boys who have carefully controlled the action of this computer game all the way to its blood curdling end.

These are the sorts of computer games that are available and the direction that the interactive medium is heading. The social issues committee, in its inquiry into youth violence, has heard repeatedly from a range of experts, parents, teachers and academics. A broad range of people who have given testimony to the inquiry are extremely concerned about media violence and its impact on young people. Though concerns range broadly across various kinds of media and
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perceived effects of medium, one example that has been brought to the committee's attention is computer games, because of their interactive nature. It is too early to assess how dangerous these materials are because research is not available. However, the experts are saying that they are more concerned about these games than they are about regular television - and regular television is certainly dangerous enough. A wide range of research is available on the effects of television violence.

In 1973, when a town in mountainous western Canada was wired for television signals, University of British Columbia researchers observed first and second graders. Within two years, the incidence of hitting, biting and shoving increased by 160 per cent among those children. Other researchers have followed a group of children for 22 years. They found at the end of that longitudinal study that watching violence on television is the single best predictor of violent or aggressive behaviour later in life. Perhaps the most fascinating example are the studies of communities into which television is introduced. Researchers are now going back and studying murder rates and violence rates in countries such as the United States and Canada. What they are now finding is that beginning from about the mid-1950s there was an increasing explosion of murder rates in both the United States and Canada which is now being linked back to the introduction of television in those countries.

Even more fascinating was the study of the introduction of television in South Africa. A University of Washington Professor, Brandon Centrewall, found that eight years after television was introduced in South Africa, South Africa's murder rate skyrocketed, just as had happened in the United States and Canada. The most telling finding in that case was that the crime rate increased first in the white community - the community that had had television first. There is a great deal of research, more than 3,000 studies, into this area, as has been alluded to by American expert Barry Weisberg. That is just one calculation. The evidence is now overwhelmingly that television violence is harmful. If we are concerned about a passive medium that children just sit in front of, how much more so must we be concerned about a medium with which they can interact and which allows them to increase the violence?

It is enormously important that we protect our children. Because of the appalling consequences of violence I am delighted that we are doing so. There is a great deal of public discussion at the moment about the level of violence in America. Much of the speculation appears to focus on the gun ownership laws of the United States. I am not about to defend the gun ownership laws of that country - which I think are quite insane - but Americans have always had those laws and have always had guns. There has not been a change in that particular social variable in the last half century or so. We have to look elsewhere for what has caused the particular explosion of violence in the United States in the last half century. And it has been an explosion.

Between 1938 and 1988 more Americans died from gunshots in the United States than from all of the wars in the history of that country. If Americans were killed by guns at the same rate as young African-American males, 260,000 people a year would be murdered. Is it coincidental with the level of violence on American television and movies? The escalation of violence went from eight murders in the film "Death Wish" in 1974 to 18 in "Die Hard" in 1988, 32 in "Robocop" in 1985, 62 in "Rambo 2" the same year, 74 in "Total Recall" in 1990, and 106 in "Rambo 3" in 1988. The film "Die Hard 2" escalates the figure to several hundred. I do not have that figure, but I have seen it. Consequently there is a huge explosion of violence.

I am of the firm conviction that violence in the United States is very strongly related to the pervasiveness of media violence and the accessibility of media violence. One of the most pernicious and dangerous forms of that media violence is the computer game, with its interactiveness. I am delighted that the Government is moving to control violence in computer games by careful and strict labelling and by not allowing the sale either of R-rated or X-rated computer games. My concern here is with violence. The producers of X-rated videos as well as X-rated computer games presumably argue that their product is non-violent. All the information that I have is that X-rated videos, and one presumes computer games as well, are extremely exploitative and they do appear to give thrills to their users by degrading and subjugating women. To my mind that is a form of violence, particularly in our society where thousands of women experience sexual violence in New South Wales alone every year. We cannot afford to be complacent about that.

I commend the Attorney General. I commend the Government. My only regret is that the Australian Capital Territory is not following on with this legislation, unfortunately. There will continue to be a loophole whereby our children will be able to get access to this poison. I can only commend to all members that we and all other concerned citizens, not just in New South Wales but in Australia, have to pressure the Government of the Australian Capital Territory to become socially responsible and start having a concern for our children too.

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY [5.46]: The Australian Democrats support the Film and Video Tape Classification (Amendment) Bill. This bill complements the Classification of Publications Amendment Ordinance of 1994 of the Australian Capital Territory. This ordinance was endorsed by Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers responsible for censorship earlier this year and was intended to be the basis of a national classification scheme for computer games. Accordingly, the bill provides for the classification of computer games and creates certain offences concerned with the sale, distribution and demonstration of computer games. The bill is in response to community concern about ultra-violent and sexually explicit computer games.

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The Hon. R. D. Dyer has already talked about the game named "Auschwitz" which has the objective of cramming as many Jewish people as possible into a gas chamber. He also mentioned "Custer's Last Stand", in which soldiers rape American Indian women. The classification of computer games will be carried out by the Commonwealth Office of Film and Literature Classification. The categories are in line with those proposed by the Senate Select Committee on Community Standards Relevant to the Supply of Services Utilising Electronic Technologies. These are "G", games suitable for children from the earliest time they can see a television screen to the age of 7; "G8", eight to 14 years; "M", 15 to 17 years; "MA" restricted to those of 15 or more years unless accompanied by a parent or guardian; and "R", games restricted to those of 18 years of age and over.

However, given the interactive nature of computer games, classification guidelines will be much stricter for computer games. Both R-rated and X-rated videos will be refused classification in New South Wales. This approach will be followed throughout Australia except for the Australian Capital Territory. This is because many parents do not necessarily have the competency to ensure adequate parental guidance. I am also informed that the early stages of some of these games - bear in mind that parents are not as computer literate as their children and may not be able to carry the games through - the games appear reasonably acceptable. Further into these games the scenes become more violent. Therefore it is possible that a parent may look at only the beginning of the game and think it is acceptable, and may not even be around when the child has got into really dangerous territory where it will undoubtedly have an effect on him and possibly totally damage his personality.

The legislation will also cover all advertisements relating to computer games, and to computer games including trailers advertising other games. I hope that in this regard it will also cover the trailers on videotapes. I frequently hire videotapes. I am not interested in violent videos of any sort and I am frequently horrified when I watch the trailers and see a lot of material that I would not want to hire under any circumstances. The films that I hire are suitable not only for me but possibly also for my young grandchildren. The children who watch those videos are therefore exposed to trailers of extremely violent so-called entertainment which normal parents would never wish them to see. That should be considered by the classification board.

In spite of the remarks of the Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith about the number of studies that have now been carried out in the United States, it is true to say there is no statistically conclusive evidence that the consumption of violent material through the media leads to the user engaging in violent acts. However, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence; therefore it is important for this classification system to be put in place. I would also support research being carried out by the Office of Film and Literature Classification into the effects of video games and computer games. I would support such research being based on the effects on the public in Australia, so that we are provided with our own empirical evidence and do not rely on evidence that has been collected in the United States. United States society is totally different from Australian society, and has a totally different racial mix as well as an inherited belief that all Americans have a right to carry a gun.

The Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith mentioned that she did not believe that the right to carry arms in the United States had led to greater violence in the past. I wonder whether that is not a chicken and egg argument. Are the many videos and movies available in the United States fuelling the desire for people in the United States to have even more guns? Did they have the same number of guns at the time the Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith was referring to as they have now? When I was involved in the gun control committee I became aware that it is not unusual for an ordinary law-abiding citizen in the United States to have as many as three or four guns in the family car and that it is perfectly acceptable - in fact expected - that the majority of women have small handguns for so-called personal protection. I do not think it was the norm in the more settled parts of America 50 or 75 years ago, though it may have been the case in the frontier States.

The Government needs to consider how to address pornographic and ultra-violent material on bulletin boards. This will create complex regulatory problems and will probably need some measures of prohibition at source. Honourable members may be aware that at one time I was Vice-President of Actors Equity of Australia. About 10 days ago Michael Crosby, who was the Assistant Secretary-General of Actors Equity at that time, returned to Australia for a 10-day holiday. He is now the Secretary-General of the International Federation of Actors in Great Britain and travels widely in America and Europe. He was explaining to a meeting held in the Media Alliance headquarters in Chalmers Street the problems that will come into existence when we move into the new age of technology with the superhighway. It is already possible for people with satellite dishes in Europe and in America to phone in to a source in Atlanta, Georgia for all types of music. That music is then played through satellite on sound systems in their own homes.

Within a few years it will be possible for them to obtain computer games, by a telephone call, played into their computers and films played through their home television sets. This will be done by joining a club and paying a small fee for club membership. We will have to face that when it happens, because there is no doubt that although a wide range of entertainment will be available through these sources - fine music, classical music, good films, possibly excellent television documentary programs such as those produced by David Attenborough and the science unit of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and the classical dramas that are produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation in collaboration with many European television
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production companies - there will also be channels which devote their entire output to violent pornographic material, violent and pornographic music and the most violent video games. We have to find some way of controlling the input of that material, which will be available by satellite.

When I discussed this matter with the Attorney General at the crossbench meeting recently he said that satellite dishes will be expensive and people will not be able to afford them. Currently in Australia a satellite dish costs about $5,000, but possibly within five years a small satellite dish will cost the same as a video recorder costs now and will be available to every home in Australia. Australia already has the highest number of video recorders of any western country, because that is the type of electronic appliance that Australians like to spend their money on. There will be many problems in future in this regard, and it is only proper that these matters should be addressed as a matter of urgency. I was horrified to read in the Sydney Morning Herald that there is a loophole in our legislation. The Sydney Morning Herald of 6 May stated:
    Children will still be able to play sexually explicit and violent games on their home computers despite a State Government ban this week . . .

The article referred to bulletin boards and to some of the terrible programs that were so graphically described by the Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith. There are 976 bulletin boards in Australia compared with only 193 five years ago. Again, Australia is the second largest user of bulletin boards outside the United States of America in spite of our small population in comparison to that of the United States. An investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald found that one Sydney bulletin board was offering users images detailing sexual intercourse, homosexuality, incest, child pornography and bestiality. I think that would cause great alarm for all honourable members, however much they demanded anti-discrimination legislation for the homosexual community.

I was happy to see that the Federal Government established a task force, which will hand down recommendations about how to control the spread of information through bulletin boards. It is also appropriate to put on the record that a survey by the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia found that computer games encouraged emotional detachment as well as negative responses to real life situations. It found that games such as Leisure Suit Larry, Spellcater 101, the Elle show and the Cindy show were usually obtained through friendship networks; therefore they were impossible to police. Pamela Carder, a member of the association's social issues committee said:
    You cannot stop children getting hold of them through the network of older siblings.

She went on to talk about war-type games and said:
    These games harm children and teachers have found that some children actually mimic in the playground the violent behaviour they see in the games.

Teachers also found that, when children were playing these games, they got excited and the adrenalin began to rush. It was suggested to some children at that point that they should stop playing the games. However, there is a possibility that some children might not and the damage is done. I believe we have to take on board very rapidly the problem that has arisen over bulletin boards. That is not a matter that has been addressed by this legislation. I discovered an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that the Australian Capital Territory was holding out over the video ban. The Attorney General accused the Australian Capital Territory Government of compromising community safety by failing to join a ban on X-rated and R-rated computer games. Other honourable members might have seen, as I did, the Attorney General on the "7.30 Report" the other night.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: Our Attorney General?

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY: Our Attorney General, yes. I applauded the stand he took. I was quite appalled when I discovered that the Australian Capital Territory Government is so greedy, stupid and totally wrong that it will not join all the other States and the Northern Territory in implementing, on a national basis, this important legislation. The article to which I referred in the Sydney Morning Herald states:
    At a meeting of state Attorneys-General set down for June, Mr Hannaford will increase the pressure on the ACT Government for a uniform approach to the classification of film, video and computer games endorsed by all other States.

It was at that point that I became aware that a disallowance motion was to be moved in the Senate on this important matter. Yesterday I received from the office of the Whip of the Australian Democrats, Senator Vicki Bourne, the following memorandum:
    . . . two disallowance motions moved by Senator Tierney on 4 May. Fourteen sitting days remain for these motions to be dealt with, i.e. before 22 June. Senator Tierney can bring them on any time he is ready but we are not expecting debate this week. Next sitting period starts 30 May.

I got in touch with Senator Bourne's office because I was hoping that some pressure could be brought to bear on Senator Tierney. Members of the Government are able to do that because Senator Tierney is a Liberal senator. The excuse I was given at the time was that it was unlikely that he would be bringing on this motion as a matter of urgency because he would be tied up with budget debate this week. There are many things in the Budget with which he may or may not agree, but I believe that so far as he and his leader are concerned, his disallowance motion should take precedence over the Budget. I have the telephone number for Senator Tierney. I also have the telephone number for the secretary of the community standards committee. I believe that pressure should be brought to bear on Senator Tierney and the Federal Opposition to ensure that this important motion is brought on in the Senate as a matter of urgency. I will read the notice of motion:

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    Notice given 4 May 1994.
    Senator Tierney: To move - That section 4 of the Classification of Publications (Amendment) (No.2) Ordinance 1994, as contained in Australian Capital Territory Ordinance No.1 of 1994 and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910, be disallowed.
    Fourteen sitting days remain for resolving.
    Senator Tierney: To move - That the following parts of the Classification of Publications (Amendment) Ordinance 1994, as contained in Australian Capital Territory Ordinance No.1 of 1994 . . .

Senator Tierney then lists all the sections of that ordinance that he wishes to disallow which relate to R-rated and X-rated videos. I was not aware - but I am delighted to discover - that in these cases it is possible for the Senate to override the powers of the Australian Capital Territory Government. If we need any further ammunition or any additional confirmation that the Senate is most necessary and should not be abolished, which is what has been suggested by the Prime Minister, and in order to prevent the Senate from further attack, which is what the Prime Minister is so fond of doing, this is a concrete example of the value of the Senate. I urge honourable members to get in touch with their parties and the senators representing their parties to ensure that that loophole in the Australian Capital Territory is closed by rapid disallowance in the Senate, which I believe should be done as a matter of urgency.

Once that material starts filtering into New South Wales it will change hands. We will not be able at that time to say that it is illegal because the legislation will have been proclaimed. By that late stage the material might have fallen into the hands of people who could take great pleasure in distributing it or even copying it illegally. It is not always easy for this sort of material to be tracked down once it is available in this State, either through illegal means from video stores which are not obeying the legislation, or being passed from hand to hand in a network of friends, particularly a network of young people who are not under the proper control of their parents. I ask honourable members to try to bring some pressure to bear so that the Senate acts in that way. The Government, all members and all Attorneys-General should put pressure on the Australian Capital Territory Government at the meeting of Attorneys-General to be held later in June. I support the legislation.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [6.9]: The Call to Australia group is very pleased to support the Film and Video Tape (Amendment) Bill and congratulate the Attorney General on bringing forward this legislation. With the co-operation of the other States, this will be uniform legislation. However, there is a major loophole with the situation in the Australian Capital Territory. I am sure that situation is causing concern to members of this House and to the Attorneys-General of the other States. Every effort has been made to obtain uniformity, but the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly appears to want to go it alone. The objects of the bill are:
    To amend the Film and Video Tape Classification Act 1984 to provide for the classification of computer games and to create certain offences concerned with the sale, display, distribution and demonstration of computer games. The Bill complements the Classification of Publications (Amendment) Ordinance 1994 of the Australian Capital Territory ("the A.C.T. amendments") which commenced on 11 April 1994, and is part of the classification scheme for computer games agreed on between the Commonwealth, Territory and State Ministers responsible for censorship. For the sake of uniformity, this Bill follows the terminology used in the A.C.T. amendments.
    At present under the Film and Video Tape Classification Act 1984, arrangements are made with the Commonwealth for the functions of a censor of film to be exercised, on behalf of New South Wales, by a Commonwealth authority. This arrangement will be extended to computer games, so that the classifications for computer games as determined by the Commonwealth censor can be applied in New South Wales. The classifications ratings for computer games will be "G", "G (8+)", "M (15+) and "MA (15+)". Computer games classified as "R (18+)" or "X (18+)" by the Commonwealth censor will automatically be refused classification in New South Wales.

In that regard Call to Australia believes it is far more desirable to see MA 15+ clearly defined as AO, or adults only. That was the original classification and it was far clearer and more meaningful than the proposed classifications. I doubt whether many parents understand MA as meaning 15 years plus, whereas even a simple-minded adult or parent would realise that a classification for adults only means it is suitable for those of 18 years and over. MA, which has taken the place of AO, has been redefined as 15 years plus. I believe a lot of that material is suitable for adults only, even though I have reservations about it being seen by anyone, a young person or an adult. I believe it would be more accurate if it was AO, that is, suitable for persons over the age of 18 only.

In the past problems occurred with the question of film and tape classifications by the Commonwealth, acting on behalf of New South Wales. The whole issue of quality control is a State right. I believe the Commonwealth review organisations - the censorship board, the classification board and the review boards - have acted irresponsibly, although I hope that situation will improve. If it does not, New South Wales should consider restoring its own State power. Queensland had that power until recently and I am sure that State regrets that the new Labor Government abolished that power. I understand the Western Australian Government is considering reintroducing certain controls because of its concern, which I share, about the operations of the Commonwealth.

It would be a pity to have a breakdown in uniformity, with some films shown in some States yet banned in other States. That is a reason for uniformity. But if decent standards cannot be obtained, there is no choice. If the choice is between uniformity with low standards, or State rights with high standards, I would opt for State rights, providing positive leadership for the six or seven million people of New South Wales. It must be noted also that the Australian Capital Territory is the weak link. I know pressure can be put on the Senate, and I am always
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seeking to do that, and to work with co-operative senators. Over the years I have worked with Senator Harradine and Senator Walters who have tried devices such as disallowance motions, but with little success. I hope this new effort will be successful.

The mentality of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly gives cause for deep concern. Instead of Australia's capital being a place to be proud of, it seems to be setting the pace for the lowest possible standards. Leaving aside the present issue relating to film and videotape classification, in recent months that Government has been involved with legalisation of brothels in Canberra, including publicity such as an open day for people to visit a brothel. There have been changes to the marijuana laws in the Territory, and also consideration of the legalisation of euthanasia. With the strong support of the Labor members of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly and some of the Independents, particularly Mr Moore, the Australian Capital Territory Government seems to be hellbent on dragging Australia's capital down to the lowest possible level.

Members of the Liberal Party-National Party coalition and the Labor Party should make urgent contact with their respective party members in the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly and tell them that enough is enough, that they want responsible leadership from them. The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly should not regard itself a spearhead for permissive policies, setting the pace - downwards, in my opinion - in controversial, sensitive areas in which State governments, whether coalition or Labor, have moved carefully. In many cases State governments have held conservative views on these controversial issues. The Australian Capital Territory seems to be throwing that out the window. It is not considering the concerns of the people of the Australian Capital Territory, not to mention its failure to consider the concerns of the country. The Australian Capital Territory Government should be working in harmony with other States and should be concerned about the welfare of our capital city.

Canberra should be a place of pride for all; it should not be known as the pot capital, the porn capital or the pimp capital. I believe those terms can now be applied to Canberra and that is a disgrace. In this debate some speakers have raised the question of a link between sexual violence depicted in videos and films and violent behaviour. I have seen studies that show a definite link. If the members of the House want to spend time on a matter of public importance I can take them through those studies. A large number of studies have been conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom that show a causal link. I am amazed that some honourable members - I think the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby was among them - said that no studies show that link. Studies relating to children have been conducted specifically for that purpose.

I remember one report I read in detail by Dr Belson in the United Kingdom who conducted an extensive study on this theme. That study showed the direct association between the violence that children were seeing either on film or television, and their behaviour. The children were monitored and filmed in the school playground and they demonstrated not only violent behaviour but imitated the violent behaviour they had seen on the violent film or television program. The children were not only more violent but were using the same violence that they had seen in a particular television or video program. I would go further and say that the evidence exists and the onus is now on producers of violent videos and video games to prove that no link exists. Why should the Festival of Light, Call to Australia, the Catholic Church or Catholic school organisations have to spend time and money proving that there is a link? Let the producers try to prove that no link exists. They will not be able to do so.

Many universities that conduct research programs that may appear to have a neutral result or try to argue the absence of any link are staffed by researchers who are emotionally opposed to all forms of censorship. An anti-censorship philosophy is dominant in universities; that is understandable. However, I believe that philosophical approach has had an effect on research, in particular with some of the major research studies conducted in various areas. The Kinsey studies have been totally discredited because of the built-in bias of researchers. The evidence shows that other researchers have been able to acquire the research material relating to the experiments and have discovered that the deductions are not even based on the research; they have no direct link with it. Other researchers would have come to different conclusions.

One of the modern tragedies is that universities often have a strong philosophical position that is conveyed to students by lecturers. Those students become researchers and much of the bias is carried forward with them. There can be deliberate bias in their research, or the bias can occur unwittingly, because of the built-in bias. The researchers would always be looking from another angle and would not be realistic or face up to the facts. I understand that a similar thing has happened in the debate on marijuana and its health dangers. Researchers who have used marijuana, or are using it, find it difficult to come to the conclusion that it is harmful.

Debate adjourned on motion by Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile.

[The President left the chair at 6.23 p.m. The House resumed at 8.30 p.m.]

FISHERIES MANAGEMENT BILL

Bill received and read a first time.

Suspension of certain standing orders agreed to.

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FILM AND VIDEO TAPE CLASSIFICATION (AMENDMENT) BILL
Second Reading

Debate resumed from an earlier hour.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [8.30]: Earlier I was speaking about the problems with some of the surveys that had been conducted dealing with the association between violent films, videos or video games and the behaviour of those who may watch and participate in those violent programs. The research shows a causal link. However, because of the censorship debate, often those opposed to censorship - in a philosophical or even an emotional way - reject such evidence. I am quite convinced that a link exists. Therefore, I am very much in favour of this bill. It will provide for strong classifications and prohibitions on violent video games that could fall into the hands of children, or could be viewed by them.

The issue of video games is a constant problem for all governments. We are moving so rapidly to different forms of technology that often the law is lagging behind the technology. I have been involved with most issues relating to all forms of violent material, pornographic material and material that exhibits both sexual and violent material. Back in the 1970s the Festival of Light was concerned mainly with printed material - magazines and books. We then saw the development of pornographic films and the televising of objectionable material in modified R-rated movies. There then followed videos and other technology. We have witnessed developments in the print media, films, television and video tapes, and now we are dealing with the latest batch of technology which covers video games, bulletin boards, all forms of communication by television - pay, cable and satellite.

When we were studying this problem in the United Kingdom it was obvious that that Government had quite genuine concerns about controlling such material, but it was faced with the dilemma of such technology as satellite television, which beamed prohibited material into the United Kingdom from television stations in Holland. Many pornographic operators were setting up their bases in Holland and sending material via satellite to consumers in the United Kingdom. This was exasperating for the United Kingdom Government.

Video games classification must be addressed because of their impact on children. Children and teenagers become so engrossed in video games. It is not a static activity; they watch the program and actually participate in it. I refer to such games as Night-trap, Mortal Combat, Custer's Last Stand and Auschwitz. Custer's Last Stand depicts the rape of American indian women by uniformed soldiers. The games involve a competition to see how many women can be raped or how many people can be put into a concentration camp gas chamber.

The Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith: Where is this?

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: In video games. These are the video games - the games they play. The impact on the teenager or child playing the games is powerful. They not only watch the video; they participate.

The Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith: Women are being raped?

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: One actually plays the game to see how many women one can rape.

The Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith: You have seen all this happen?

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: On the video games, yes. The Standing Committee on Social Issues inspected some of the video game centres in Sydney. Many of the games have violent themes. They are extremely realistic. The participant can actually play the role of a policeman who shoots people or a gangster who robs banks with a machine gun. He or she aims the gun and shoots at a person who appears on the screen, and points are tallied for each kill. It is a far different situation from the old pinball machines that perhaps some of the members played when they were teenagers, when the player simply tried to get the pinball to hit certain parts of the machine so that a light would flash to score points. In fact, at one of the places our committee inspected the members were taken to a so-called laser zone where we were equipped with a shield made of plastic material and a heavy set of head gear. We were given guns, like machine guns, and split into two teams. The zone was made up like a modern battleground, comprising various barricades and obstacles. The teams then set out to kill each other. The machine-gun is pointed at the other person, a laser light flashes which hits the other person, who is wearing a plastic breast-covering. The plastic device picks up the laser beam and points are registered. It is a game that requires the participants to "kill" their opponents, and those playing the game become intensely involved.

Such games are not directly covered by this legislation. However, the Government should consider including them. There has been a progression to video games, bulletin boards and computerised video games. These games are attractive to children, and because children are being taught to use computers in schools they are becoming adept at using modern technology. Often parents are surprised at how easily their children learn to use modern equipment such as video recorders, computers and video games. That is why it is important that the classifications in the bill include classification G, to cover games suitable for all ages, or games which are regarded as harmless. They could include games involving Disneyland or cartoon characters.

The classification G(8+) applies if the censor is of the opinion that the game cannot be recommended for viewing or playing by children under eight years of age. It is difficult for children up to the age of 10 years to understand the difference between reality and fantasy. The classification M(15+) applies if the censor is of the opinion that the game cannot be
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recommended for viewing or playing by children under the age of 15 years, and MA(15+) if the censor is of the opinion that the game depicts, expresses or otherwise deals with sex, violence or coarse language in such a manner as to make the game unsuitable for viewing or playing by children under the age of 15 years.

One of the additions in the bill is the introduction of the G(8+) classification for computer games in place of the PG film classification. It is important that that classification be included. When the censor seeks to classify video games he or she has a choice of putting them into the classifications I have referred to or refusing classification, therefore prohibiting the video games. This is a more complex area. I am pleased that the Government is prepared to bite the bullet, so to speak, in regard to the classification of video games. The bill states that the censor will refuse to classify a computer game if the game:
    (a) describes, depicts, expresses or otherwise deals with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty or violence, or revolting or abhorrent phenomena, in a manner that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult; or
    (b) depicts in any form a person (whether engaged in sexual activity or otherwise) who is, or who is apparently, a child in a manner that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult; or
    (c) promotes, incites or instructs in matters of crime or violence.

The Australian Capital Territory ordinance does not contain provisions covering acts of bestiality, whereas this bill does. Normal people find it difficult to comprehend that humans would engage in sexual activity with animals. However, that category falls under the general heading of pornography, and some people apparently have an addiction to it. This highlights another complex factor in the issue of classifying material. The censor has to make decisions about a whole range of activities, not just about modern technology including bulletin boards and video games. The censor has to decide what should be classified and what should not be classified.

Over the last 20 years there has been a dramatic change for the worse - a development which is degrading, depraved and perverse. Some regard pornography as love-making between a male and a female. They do not understand that over the past 10 or 20 years a whole range of material has developed into different categories for different consumers. These consumers are not mature, nor are they really adult, though they are referred to as adults and the places from which this material can be obtained are called adult shops or adult sex shops. The people who are attracted to this material are immature adults who have not fully developed mentally, emotionally or sexually.

Material is available which depicts two or three people engaged in acts of perversion, group orgies, sexual activities of lesbians and homosexuals, and bondage - during which women are treated in a degrading way and are tied with rope. Violent material is also available which is, in the eyes of the viewer, real violence. In some material which depicts torture, women are actually tortured. In so-called snuff films taken in some Asian and perhaps South American countries women have taken part in films at the end of which they are actually murdered. Such movies are available, and I have been informed that they have been shown in some places in Sydney. Other films depict child pornography and bestiality.

The situation has become complex in regard to the developments in technology and the drastic moral slide into degradation with regard to the content of material. The Australian Capital Territory has become the soft spot - the weak link in the chain. The other States have agreed that they will not provide for classifications "R(18+)" or "X(18+)" video games; they will not be allowed to be sold anywhere in Australia except in the Australian Capital Territory at this stage. I hope the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly changes its mind. Unfortunately, however, recently the Australian Capital Territory Attorney-General, Mr Terry Connolly, said that the proposed restriction would be impossible to police and that it would be healthier for a controlled censored outlet than a boom in underground material.

That is the argument of the porn industry, of the so-called X-rated Adult Association that succeeded in convincing the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly of that policy. The Australian Capital Territory is the only Territory that sells, hires and mails X-rated videos that are prohibited in this State. The Australian Capital Territory produces, sells, hires and despatches material which is prohibited beyond its boundaries. I completely reject the views of the Australian Capital Territory Attorney-General. He is reflecting the views of the pornography industry, which is now based in Canberra and is powerful in the United States and other countries.

Over recent years I have obtained evidence of a direct link between the pornographic industry in Canberra - which is involved in distributing videos, films and video games - and the Mafia in the United States. There is no doubt in my mind that there is an association between individuals moving from Canberra to the United States and crime figures from the United States visiting Canberra. Some of the evidence I have comes from previous employees of X-rated video operators in Canberra - employees have become sickened by the operations of those organisations. I have been given some information by a woman, a prominent figure in one organisation, who has since become a Christian, and I am convinced that the evidence she has shown me is genuine.

The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly should consider carefully the path on which it is travelling. It should come into line with the rest of Australia, take a national view of things and develop a genuine concern for the children of Australia. I have prepared some amendments which I have discussed with the Attorney General. The matters that I have raised in my amendments cover areas at which the Attorney General is still looking.
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I anticipate, after discussions with the Attorney General, that at some future date some of the matters I am raising now will be dealt with in other legislation. It is not possible to incorporate my amendments in the current bill. I agree with the Attorney General that it would be better to incorporate the matters I am raising by way of amendments in a separate piece of legislation.

The issues about which I am concerned are the possession and importation of certain computer games. At the moment emphasis is being placed on the sale and hire of these games, but a loophole is apparent with regard to possession and importation and, as I have been reminded by other honourable members, actual production. It is quite possible for organisations in the Australian Capital Territory to produce pornographic video games that are prohibited in New South Wales. I ask the Attorney General to assure me when he replies to the debate on this bill that the Government will look seriously at this issue, assuming that the Australian Capital Territory goes it alone and becomes, as I said earlier, a soft spot in Australia - the broken link in the chain. If the Australian Capital Territory persists with its policy, we will have to introduce stronger legislation that deals with possession, importation and the transportation of prohibited items across the Australian Capital Territory border into New South Wales. If we introduce stronger legislation, anyone transporting prohibited items would be committing an offence.

I have drafted my amendments and I have given them to the Attorney General. I look forward to his assurance that, in the not too distant future, depending on the final decision of the Australian Capital Territory and the Senate, these matters will be attended to. That will not be necessary if the Australian Capital Territory is brought into line with other States. If it goes it alone, it will be essential for the Attorney General to do something like this. The Call to Australia Group is pleased to support this bill. We congratulate the Attorney General on having the courage of his convictions and introducing this legislation. Some groups are still criticising it and are claiming that it is draconian. I do not believe that it is draconian; it is a responsible approach to a serious problem that is affecting the children and youth of our nation.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [8.53], in reply: I thank all honourable members for their support of this legislation. Some people have congratulated me on introducing this legislation, but congratulations should go to my 11-year-old son. We were in the United States together for three weeks during the 1992 Christmas period. I had the opportunity then of learning about computers and computer games. My son introduced me to the concept of virtual reality and to the way in which computer games emulate virtual reality. I had never before heard of that term. He drew my attention to the way in which computer games have moved from the world of cartoon characters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the use of real people and the simulation of live acts.

I had discussions with law enforcement officers in the United States and became aware of what was going on in the world of computer games, virtual reality and interactive computer games. I made a decision at that stage to do something about it. I drew to the attention of Attorneys-General at the standing committee meeting in Darwin the need to classify video games. I received overwhelming support from all of them. As a result of this legislation Australia will be the first country to classify video games. I am pleased that I was able to obtain the support of so many other Attorneys-General for the banning of X-rated and R-rated video games. A motion has now been moved in the Federal Senate to disallow the Australian Capital Territory ordinance which allows X-rated and R-rated video games in that Territory.

Federal Attorney-General Lavarch said in a press release that, if all Attorneys-General adopt the approach that is now being taken by New South Wales on X-rated and R-rated video games, he will introduce proposals to review their classification. I infer from what he stated in his press release that there is no need for X-rated and R-rated classifications. There will be one classification and all others will be banned. That is something that will be taken to the next meeting of Attorneys-General, if we are able to get the Australian Capital Territory to conform to a uniform approach. Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile outlined a number of matters he is concerned to see addressed, including the possession of material which will be refused classification under the censorship scheme and the bringing into this State of 10 or more computer games which will be refused classification.

The issue concerning possession of material which constitutes child pornography is being closely examined by me and by my ministerial colleague the Minister for Police. This issue was considered at the Australasian Police Ministers Conference earlier this year. At that meeting police Ministers considered recommendations contained in a report prepared by the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence entitled, "Paedophiles and Child Sexual Abuse. A National Assessment. Recommendations and Current Policing Approaches". One of the recommendations in that report, which my colleague the Minister for Police referred to me for my consideration, proposes that national uniform offences be developed in relation to child pornography, including the possession of such material.

Serious consideration is currently being given to the proposals referred to me by the Minister for Police. I have indicated that I will introduce legislation to ban possession of such material. It should be noted in this context that model enforcement provisions are currently being developed to rationalise and streamline the censorship scheme across jurisdictions. The proposals relating to offences for the possession of child pornography will, therefore, also be considered in the context of reform generally
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of the censorship scheme. However, I believe that the possession and interstate carriage of material which is refused classification should be considered in a uniform rather than piecemeal way. I believe that Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile agrees with this approach. I welcome his support for this initiative. I confirm that I have undertaken to consider the possession and interstate carriage of all types of material refused classification under New South Wales legislation.

I assure Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile that I will consult him and other honourable members in relation to this issue. The Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby raised the issue concerning computer bulletin boards. The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General has addressed that issue. Earlier this year I welcomed an announcement from the Federal Attorney-General concerning the establishment by him of a task force to investigate ways of regulating the use of computer bulletin boards. One of the main aims of that task force is to examine ways of preventing the misuse of technology in the dissemination of banned publications and other prohibited material, including child pornography. This has been an area of concern to me and this Government. The terms of reference of that task force are: to examine the adequacy of offences covering the misuse of computer and telecommunications services; to introduce specific offences to cover paedophile computer networks; to establish whether import-export restrictions are capable of controlling international trafficking and subsequent copying and distribution of otherwise banned material; and to establish the adequacy of current law enforcement tools to deal with new technology.

New South Wales and other jurisdictions are co-operating and will assist the Commonwealth in the work being undertaken by this task force. I have said that we have to be prepared to take very strong and firm approaches in relation to the issue of bulletin boards. If that means that the Commonwealth has to be prepared to address its telecommunication laws with a view to having what might be regarded as very restrictive laws to ensure that telephone lines, which connect the bulletin board through a modulator-demodulator, or MODEM, can be disconnected and that power is given to prohibit persons who are associated with this material from accessing telephone lines, that may well be the way we have to go. There is also no doubt that the next issue to be addressed is the use of satellite communications, because those telecommunications are already able to be accessed. Within the next few years satellite communication will be as cheap as today's video machine. I believe there is an opportunity here for Australia to lead the way, as it has done with the classification of this material, and stay one step ahead of the use of technology which can be used to abuse the interests of our children. I commend the legislation to the House.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time and passed through remaining stages.
GAMING AND BETTING (TELEPHONE BETTING) AMENDMENT BILL
Second Reading

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [9.2]: I move:
    That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.
    Mr President,
    The purpose of the proposal before the House is to amend the provisions of the Gaming and Betting Act to allow licensed bookmakers to accept bets by telephone on a racecourse during the conduct of a race-meeting.
    Let me say from the outset, Mr President that this measure is one which the Government is taking with the overall support of the racing industry in this State. All three codes of racing in New South Wales; that is galloping, harness racing and greyhound racing have indicated support for this proposal. The aim of the proposals is twofold. The first being to assist the viability of the bookmaking industry in this State, and the second to combat the existing illegal SP bookmaking operators through the provision of a legal alternative.
    With regard to bookmakers viability, honourable members might be interested to note that both the number of bookmakers operating and the total betting turnover held by this group have sharply declined in recent years. In fact between 1980 and 1993 the total number of bookmakers operating decreased by 40 per cent from 1,113 to 668.
    Total betting turnover has diminished from a high point of $1382 million in 1989 to $869 million in the last financial year and as at 31 March, 1994 a further decline of 11 per cent has been recorded this financial year compared to last year.
    Mr President, it is possible that the significance of these declines are not realised by some members who are not familiar with the structure of the racing industry in this State. I would however assure these members that there is general agreement in the industry that any further decline in numbers and viability of bookmakers will have serious ramifications for the industry as a whole. More specifically this downward trend will have a detrimental effect on race-meeting attendances and totalizator betting turnovers, this in turn will affect both race club and government revenues.
    In respect of this Government's ongoing commitment to combating SP betting, the proposal will provide a legal alternative for punters who are unable to attend race-meetings and wish to bet at a fixed price with a bookmaker. I believe that the greatest inroads in eradicating SP betting result from direct competition. A legal telephone betting system for licensed bookmakers will further impact on current SP operators and will assist in their exclusion from the market.
    Mr President, I mentioned earlier the support that the racing industry has expressed for this initiative, and I should now also point out that governments in most other States and Territories have already approved of similar telephone betting systems for implementation in those jurisdictions. In this respect I understand that the system operated by South Australia bookmakers since May of last year has resulted in an outflow of racing investments to that State from New South Wales punters. This trend is expected to continue unless a viable operation is established in New South Wales with the result that significant amounts of potential race club and government revenues will be lost to interstate bodies.

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    Under the proposed amendments bookmakers wishing to participate in telephone betting will need to apply to the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing for a permit. Any such permission will be subject to conditions imposed by the Minister.
    Mr President, I might make mention of two of the major conditions which will be attached to the scheme.
    The first will prescribe a minimum bet level of $250 outlay or $2,000 liability. This measure has been agreed to on an Australia-wide basis in order to ensure that there is no significant threat to established TAB betting services. It is a measure which is supported by the bookmakers themselves, as they have insisted for some time now that the market they have targeted is the current illegal SP market and not the rank and file TAB punter.
    A further condition will limit the amount of betting market information that bookmakers will be allowed to pass onto their clients.
    Other provisions of the bill will allow participating bookmakers to advertise availability of telephone betting services and enable authorised bookmakers to make statements about betting odds they are prepared to accept or offer.
    All calls to participating bookmakers will be made to a "PABX" (or similar) system that will enable details of the bets made to be logged and recorded by an attached recording unit. Calls to the "PABX" will then be diverted to mobile telephones used by bookmakers in such a way as to ensure that the telephone numbers of the mobile telephones do not become known. This will ensure that all calls to bookmakers are logged through the system and recorded. The "PABX" and recording equipment will be purchased by and be under the control of the Department of Sport, Recreation and Racing.
    As far as revenues from the scheme are concerned, although it is not intended as a revenue raising exercise, it is envisaged that at the current 1 per cent turnover tax rate applicable to bets made with bookmakers, the Government will receive additional revenue in the order of $1 million in the first full year of operation of the scheme.
    In addition the race clubs themselves are expected to benefit from this initiative by a comparable amount through receipt of additional turnover levies as a result of the scheme. These amounts are best estimates provided as a result of comparisons with similar systems operating interstate.
    The legislation will provide for the imposition of fees payable by bookmakers to participate in the scheme. However those fees are not intended to raise revenue but will be set at a level to recover costs involved in the purchase of the mobile phones used by bookmakers and other miscellaneous costs.
    In conclusion Mr President, I should mention that the amendments also provide for the powers of the Bookmakers Revision Committee to be expanded to allow the committee to inquire into alleged breaches of conditions attached to the scheme and to recommend the cancellation or suspension of any authorisation to participate in the scheme.
    I commend the bill to the House.

The Hon. B. H. VAUGHAN (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [9.3]: The alternative government supports the Gaming and Betting (Telephone Betting) Amendment Bill. For some time now bookmakers associations have expressed concern about the ongoing viability of bookmaking in a changing gambling market. That concern was prompted by falling turnovers and a decline in both the number of bookmakers fielding and in the bookmakers' share of the total gambling market. It is interesting to note that the number of bookmakers has halved in the past 10 years. Ten years ago there were 1,036 and there are 682 now, and I find that regrettable. As a measure to combat that decline, bookmakers have sought approval to expand into the telephone betting market - and it is about time. In support of such requests, claims have been made that such a facility will enable bookmakers to harness money, to gather in money that is being bet with illegal starting price operators - they still exist; we cannot be naive about that - with resultant benefits to the bookmakers along with benefits to the Government, by way of taxation, and the racing industry generally.

The bill proposes that the Gaming and Betting Act be amended to enable the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing to authorise registered bookmakers to receive or make bets by telephone while on a racecourse on a race day. Those approvals will be subject to conditions imposed by the Minister. In a Chamber such as this, one is allowed a little reminiscence. I well recall at Randwick racecourse a long time ago I needed to telephone someone urgently. I must confess that I attended the office of the Australian Jockey Club at the ground and asked where the public telephones were. The look of absolute disdain on the face of the young lady to whom I advanced that question is something I shall long remember. In case honourable members are not aware, there are no telephones on a racecourse in this country.

Although originally resisted by all the States, in 1993 the South Australian Government passed legislation allowing telephone betting by on-course bookmakers. Western Australia now also admits such betting. Since then, no doubt in response to the likely introduction of the service in all the other States and the possibility of further loss of investments in those resources, the racing industry in New South Wales has expressed support for telephone betting in New South Wales. Victoria has before its Parliament similar legislation; Queensland has already passed the same legislation; the Australian Capital Territory is in the process of introducing such legislation; and Tasmania so far has achieved Cabinet approval to do the same.

General agreement has been reached among the racing Ministers of the various States and Territories on a number of conditions that ought be imposed in the circumstances, including the need to have a minimum bet value of $250 so as to minimise any effects on the turnover of the Totalizator Agency Board and, therefore, on Government and racing industry revenue. Another condition will be a limit on the amount of betting market information that bookmakers will be allowed to pass to their clients. Under the proposed legislation all calls to participating bookmakers will be made to a switchboard maintained by and under the control of the Department of Sport, Recreation and Racing. In view of the imminent legislation, it is a shame that one of the most successful Ministers for sport and recreation, the Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith, is not the Minister to have introduced it - but he will be doing the betting.

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The Hon. J. H. Jobling: Let us hear what he has to say.

The Hon. B. H. VAUGHAN: Do not tell me that he is opposed to it.

The Hon. J. H. Jobling: You sit down and we will find out.

The Hon. B. H. VAUGHAN: I do not intend to at the moment. The calls will then be diverted to mobile telephones used by the bookmakers in such a way as to ensure that the telephone numbers of the mobile telephones do not become known. This will ensure that all calls to bookmakers must pass through the department's switchboard, where they will be logged and recorded. I understand there is great competition to run that switchboard. Mobile telephones in some remote areas of the State may be a problem, and that is presently being addressed by the Department of Sport, Recreation and Racing. If the problems cannot be overcome landlines may be placed to some remote racecourses. The mobile telephones will be modified to suppress the start-up sequence, which usually displays the telephone number of the mobile. The telephones will also be modified to ensure that the outgoing calls may be made only to other bookmakers sharing the system.

The bookmakers will pick up the cost of this measure. The amendment will also enable fees to be imposed on bookmakers so as to recover any costs associated with connecting them to the system, ongoing telephone charges and administrative costs. The switchboard and recording equipment will be purchased, as one might expect, by the Government. The legislation will also amend the Bookmakers (Taxation) Act to widen the powers of the Bookmakers Revision Committee to allow it to inquire into cases in which bookmakers have failed to comply with any conditions to which their authority to participate in telephone betting is subject and to recommend, where appropriate, that the authority be suspended.

Whilst not encouraging or assisting illegal starting price betting operations, industry and government revenues will benefit from any SP money that finds its way to the racecourse through the scheme. Indeed, it could be suggested that the use of telephones by on-course bookmakers will place those bookmakers in direct competition with the illegal operators. It is felt that licensed bookmakers with an ability to bet clients at current odds will have an advantage over the illegal SP operators. That will no doubt be exploited to the benefit, one hopes, of the licensed bookmakers. I support the legislation. I ask the Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith to excuse me if I cannot wait in the Chamber to hear all that he has to say.

The Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith: Why?

The Hon. B. H. VAUGHAN: I have a pressing engagement and cannot wait to hear most of what he will have to say, but I shall certainly wait for a while.

The Hon. R. B. ROWLAND SMITH [9.11]: I am bitterly disappointed that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has just told the House that he cannot wait to hear what I have to say.

The Hon. B. H. Vaughan: I will wait to hear some of it.

The Hon. R. B. ROWLAND SMITH: I am sorry about the call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition made to the lady at the racecourse.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith): Order! The honourable member will address the Chair.

The Hon. R. B. ROWLAND SMITH: I am delighted that my friend and colleague the Deputy Leader of the Opposition supports the legislation. I wish that I would see him more often on a racecourse.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: Take him.

The Hon. R. B. ROWLAND SMITH: It is years since he has been to a racecourse. He tried to ring that young lady and proposition her, obviously. That is why we had put a pall on on-course telephones. Now that I am an honorary life member of the Australian Jockey Club the next time the honourable member goes to Randwick I shall be delighted to entertain him. The issue as to whether licensed on-course bookmakers should be allowed to accept bets by telephone from off-course clients has been a contentious one for many years. Back in 1988, and again in 1989 and 1990, it was agreed by all Ministers for racing in Australia that telephones for bookmakers should not be allowed. The reason was simple: the major client of the clubs was the Totalizator Agency Board, and it was considered that if telephones were permitted for on-course bookmakers, it could have a marked effect on TAB turnover. I am delighted that the Director of the Department of Sport, Recreation and Racing is present in the gallery. When I was Minister he was with me at those meetings.

In 1990 the South Australian Minister indicated that his Government had softened its attitude on this question. I acknowledged and stated at the time that if one State broke away from the rest and allowed on-course telephone betting, other States would have to follow. That is exactly what has happened. South Australia broke away last year and gave approval for telephone betting. That State was soon followed by Western Australia. I understand that similar legislation is before the Victorian Parliament and the Queensland Parliament. The interesting part about all this is that telephones will be available to all bookmakers. It will not follow that all bookmakers will want to have them. It has been stated that this proposal may overcome some of the problems regarding SP betting. I am not sure that will happen, but it is worth trying because a lot of SP betting is carried on in New South Wales.

It is believed that telephones will improve the viability of bookmakers, and that is something that the Government wants to occur. Bookmakers are also
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moving to have the Gaming and Betting Act amended to allow them to have off-course doubles on principal events, such as the Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup, Victoria Derby, Epsom Handicap, Metropolitan Handicap, Doncaster Handicap and Sydney Cup. That form of betting has been possible in Victoria for some years. I have been betting with a bookmaker in Melbourne for a number of years.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: On-course?

The Hon. R. B. ROWLAND SMITH: Off-course, and legitimately doing so. That should happen in New South Wales.

The Hon. B. H. Vaughan: Not successfully either, from what I have heard.

The Hon. R. B. ROWLAND SMITH: I do not know about the degree of success; I have not totted it up, but I think the Deputy Leader of the Opposition might be right. The proposed system of telephones will be purchased by, maintained by and be under the control of the Department of Sport, Recreation and Racing.

[Interruption]

Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile should be very careful. I do not want to say too much to him, but his brother Jim is an important harness racing man. I recall being at Bathurst one night when a gentleman came up to me and told me that his name was Jim Nile, Fred Nile's brother. I was amazed and asked him what he was doing at the harness racing meeting.

The Hon. B. H. Vaughan: You would not take a tip from him?

The Hon. R. B. ROWLAND SMITH: He had two horses, by the names of Call to Australia and Festival of Light, that were doing well, I understood. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has not left the Chamber. He is fascinated.

The Hon. B. H. Vaughan: I am not game to now.

The Hon. R. B. ROWLAND SMITH: All calls to participating bookmakers will be made to a private automatic branch exchange or similar system that will enable details of the bets to be logged and recorded by an attached recording unit. Calls to the PABX will then be diverted to mobile telephones used by bookmakers in such a way as to ensure that the telephone numbers of the mobile telephones do not become known. That will ensure that all calls to bookmakers will be logged into the system and recorded. In addition, telephone bets will be treated -

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: Why all this nonsense? Why can't you just ring them up?

The Hon. R. B. ROWLAND SMITH: The Hon. J. R. Johnson carries a bag around to the pubs raising funds for the Australian Labor Party. It has been agreed also, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said, that the minimum bet will be $250. It is hoped that this will minimise any effect on the TAB, and therefore on the Government, in raising revenues. Not too many people will bet $250. When I go to the races, which is quite frequently, and have a bet with my bookmaker - who will be getting a telephone - there is no way in the wide world I would bet $250, unless the Hon. J. R. Johnson were willing to lend it to me. Bookmakers will be restricted as to the amount of betting information they will be allowed to pass on to their clients. Bets may be accepted at current market odds or at starting price odds, in accordance with the wishes of the punter. That will mean simply that when a call is put through to the bookmaker he will offer a fixed price on a horse. That will have advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage will be that if a horse is backed solidly on-course or through the TAB, the price will shorten and the fixed price the bookmaker has offered to his client will look very good - if the horse wins. The disadvantage will be that if a fixed price is offered and a horse blows in the betting, that will be to the disadvantage of the punter, especially if the horse wins. The powers of the Bookmakers Revision Committee will be expanded to allow it to inquire into alleged breaches of conditions attached to the scheme and, where appropriate, to recommend to the Minister that he suspend or withdraw any authorisation to participate in the scheme. In supporting this proposal the Government is responding to the wishes of the racing industry.

In that respect the controlling bodies representing the three codes - namely, the Australian Jockey Club for galloping, the Harness Racing Authority of New South Wales and the Greyhound Racing Control Board - have expressed support for the initiative. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition made it abundantly clear that we do need bookmakers to operate in competition with the on-course totalisators. From 1980 to 1993 the number of bookmakers has been reduced substantially, by about 40 per cent, or from 1,113 to 668. I trust that this alteration to the legislation will be a successful move and will particularly help the viability of bookmakers. It is also expected that the Government, through the sticky little fingers in Treasury, will make a profit. I support the bill.

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES [9.20]: The Australian Democrats support the Gaming and Betting (Telephone Betting) Amendment Bill. This reform should have taken place 20 or 30 years ago. It is ridiculous that in 1994 it is finally being introduced. As with most things, once illegal activities are legalised they tend to decline. That has occurred with other activities that were once illegal.

The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti: If you legalise them, there is no more illegality.

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES: The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti has spoken yet again. That was his 3,000th interruption in the past six years. I have spoken enough. Honourable members will be here until 2 a.m. anyway.

Page 2255

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [9.21]: Call to Australia opposes the Gaming and Betting (Telephone Betting) Amendment Bill. The object of the bill is to amend the Gaming and Betting Act 1912 - the principal Act - in order to enable a licensed bookmaker to accept or make bets by telephone while at a race-meeting. We oppose the bill because in principle we oppose any extension or facilitation of gambling of any sort. The Government has decided that it cannot beat the starting price industry so now it will run it. That seems to be the approach to many issues as time goes on. I have studied gambling in other countries, particularly in the United States of America. Many of the illegal games run by the mafia in the United States are run by the Government in this State. The numbers game is a popular and profitable mafia game in the United States; it is run here by the coalition Government.

The Government has given up trying to crush SP bookmaking. Not many raids have been made on SP bookmakers in this State. We know they are operating because they have a turnover of $1 billion. The SP bookmaker has access to multiple telephones - I assume through Telecom employees - and operates his business using those telephones. If the Government cannot beat illegal gambling, it will run it. The Minister stated in his second reading speech:
    As far as revenues from the scheme are concerned, although it is not intended as a revenue raising exercise, it is envisaged that at the current 1 per cent turnover tax rate applicable to bets made with bookmakers, the Government will receive additional revenue in the order of $1 million in the first full year of operation of the scheme.

I imagine the forecast revenue could increase. The Government is seeking further tax dollars through gambling, as it has done with the casino, where all principles went out the window. The Government had a principle on the casino issue but as the importance of the dollar increased, the principle went out the window and the casino became a desirable asset. SP-type bookmaking occurs using telephones and the Government is introducing legislation to legalise the practice. I note from debate in the other place that similar bills have been passed in Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. Apparently Victoria is considering the introduction of telephone betting.

The Government fears that if it does not introduce the legislation, New South Wales telephone betting might be conducted in other States. Call to Australia opposes the legislation. The Government has not considered the impact of the legislation on society, how it will affect quality of life or whether it will further increase gambling problems by promoting greed. It is sad that those questions are not being considered. Society will pay the price, in spite of these issues being neglected by the Government, the Opposition and the Australian Democrats. Call to Australia opposes the bill. We will not call for a division, but will simply register our opposition to the bill.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [9.25], in reply: I thank honourable members for their support of the legislation. I reaffirm to the House that the Government continues to be opposed to SP bookmaking. I am able to indicate to Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile that the Chief Secretary has established a working party to look at the issue, and has called for submissions in relation to toughening up the enforcement and penalties relating to SP bookmaking. No doubt the Chief Secretary would be happy to receive any submissions on enforcement and penalties. I commend the bill to the House.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time and passed through remaining stages.

ANTI-DISCRIMINATION (AMENDMENT) BILL
Second Reading

Debate resumed from 10 May.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [9.27], in reply: I thank honourable members for their support for the Anti-Discrimination (Amendment) Bill which, as I indicated in my second reading speech, constitutes the first significant overhaul of anti-discrimination in this State. Today I wish to address the various issues for further clarification raised by honourable members in debate on the bill and foreshadow two minor technical amendments that the Government will move at the Committee stage.

Yesterday the Hon. R. D. Dyer raised a number of points concerning the coverage of the disability provisions of schedule 3 to the bill that have been identified by the New South Wales Council for Intellectual Disability. First, it is suggested that subparagraph (d) of the definition of disability in the bill, which concerns people with learning difficulties, be amended to add the word "condition" to the existing words "disorder or malfunction". Having given some consideration to this issue, I note that the addition of "condition" will add nothing to the coverage of the definition and would also create inconsistency with the equivalent provisions in the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act.

The New South Wales Council for Intellectual Disability has suggested also that proposed new section 49D(4)(a) should be amended to specify that the respondent should have the onus of establishing the "inherent requirements of the particular employment". This new section provides an exception to discriminatory conduct in certain circumstances. Section 109 of the Act currently provides that the onus of proving any exception lies upon the respondent. Consequently, there is no need to make this amendment. The council also has drawn attention to the fact that exemptions contained in
Page 2256
proposed sections 49G and 49N of the bill relate to partnerships of less than six persons and certain situations where accommodation is provided for up to six persons. These exemptions differ from equivalent provisions in the Commonwealth legislation, in which the relevant number of persons is three, not six. The Government has attempted wherever possible to mirror Commonwealth provisions, except where to do so would create an internal inconsistency in the Anti-Discrimination Act. Proposed new sections 49G and 49N have been based on equivalent provisions in the Anti-Discrimination Act in the areas of race, sex, marital status, homosexuality and age to ensure consistency with these provisions.

As far as proposed section 49A of the bill is concerned, the council maintains that it is unfair to allow superannuation and insurance companies the right to refuse to provide superannuation or insurance to an employee. The council's proposal appears to be based on a misconception. The clause allows discrimination in the provision of superannuation and insurance only where it is based on actuarial or statistical data or, if there is no such data, the terms and conditions are reasonable. The clause is in similar terms to the exception for superannuation and insurance under the Federal disability discrimination Act.

The Hon. R. D. Dyer also raised the council's concern in relation to the amendment in clause 4A of the bill which provides that where there is more than one reason for discrimination, the dominant reason for the act must be a discriminatory reason. Although this standard is not the same as that applied in the Commonwealth legislation, it reflects the Government's position that a discriminatory reason must be the real - I emphasise real - or substantial reason for the Act to apply. Finally, the Council on Intellectual Disability has suggested that section 88 would be improved by allowing representative bodies to make complaints in their own right and that government should also be able to lodge complaints. The Government's approach is that only an identifiable individual who has experienced discrimination should be able to lodge a complaint. This is in line with the current policy of the Act and it would not be possible to alter this approach without extensively remodelling the Act.

The Hon. P. F. O'Grady also raised two matters in the bill for clarification. He noted that the HIV-AIDS vilification provisions do not apply to severe ridicule and that religious discussion and instruction are exempted from these provisions. As the Hon. P. F. O'Grady has noted, these two matters constitute a departure from the racial vilification provisions of the Act. These changes constitute a recognition on the part of the Government that religious discussion and instruction in relation to issues involving HIV-AIDS should not amount to HIV-AIDS vilification. The Government is also of the view that the term "severe ridicule" adds nothing to the existing protection in the bill concerning "serious contempt" in the context of HIV-AIDS vilification.

The inclusion of the term "severe ridicule" would only lead to confusion in the interpretation of the legislation and has the potential to result in frivolous complaints being made to the Anti-Discrimination Board. Note that although the term "severe ridicule" is included in the homosexual vilification legislation that passed this House last year, the Government does not propose to include this term in the bill before the House for the reasons that I have outlined. The Government will consider appropriate amendments to ensure consistency between the present bill and the homosexual vilification legislation in the context of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission's final report of its current reference into the Anti-Discrimination Act which will be released later this year. The Hon. P. F. O'Grady also requested detail on the rationale for the addition of the word "act" in the religious exemption contained in section 56 of the Act. At present, section 56(d) exempts practices of bodies established to propagate religions which conform to religious doctrines. The proposed amendment will clarify that one-off acts in accordance with religious doctrine are protected.

In the course of debate, the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby asked me to clarify the operation of the provisions of clause 49A of the bill, which relate to past, future and presumed disability, in light of the interpretation of the Act. In view of the fact that these terms are defined widely in the bill, the protection in the legislation will apply whenever discrimination occurs based on a presumption that a person has a particular disability, whether or not that person has the disability at the time of the discrimination. The Hon. D. J. Gay also sought my assurance that the HIV-AIDS vilification provisions would not interfere with reasoned discussions in the community concerning HIV-AIDS. I am happy to assure the honourable member that the relevant provisions of the bill contain extensive protection in relation to public discussion and debate.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile requested that the Government note the concerns of the Call to Australia group in relation to the bill. I have considered these comments and there are two points in particular that I wish to raise in reply. Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile raised the issue of interpretation of the term ethno-religious origin, which is included in schedule 1(1) to the bill, and foreshadowed an amendment that he proposes to move which will attempt to specify that ethno-religious origin does not include religious beliefs or practices. The Government has had extensive consultations on the issue with the New South Wales Council of Churches and the Catholic Education Commission.

As I made clear in my second reading speech, the Government has no intention of interfering with religious freedoms by this amendment. The term ethno-religious refers to a person's cultural heritage and relates to a long shared culture and history. The amendment will enable members of groups such as Jews, Muslims and Sikhs to lodge complaints in relation to discrimination they experience on the basis of their cultural background. Discrimination on
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purely religious grounds such as the appointment of teachers of a particular denomination or religion to religious schools will not be affected by the amendment.

This is consistent with existing common law in this area and reflects the policy behind the religious protection contained in section 56 of the Act. The Government will very closely monitor the operation of the ethno-religious amendment to ensure that it operates in accordance with the Government's intentions. I emphasise that if the courts seek to widen the operation of the provision to include concepts of religion, this Government will immediately introduce amendments to overcome any misinterpretation. I also wish to make it abundantly clear to the legal profession that, if it wishes to pursue arguments that the ethno-religious amendment introduces religious discrimination under the Act, the Government will legislate to overcome any such attempts.

In view of the Government's position on this issue, there is no need to further clarify the term ethno-religious in the bill. Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile also mentioned an amendment proposed by the Catholic Education Commission to the definition of relative in schedule 4 of the bill. The Government is happy to take up the commission's suggestion in this regard, and this leads me to the two technical amendments to the bill that the Government will move in Committee. First, it is proposed to remove paragraph (b) of the definition of relative, which provides "any person who is wholly or mainly dependent on or a member of the household of, the person," and add this subparagraph to the definition of associate. This amendment will overcome any suggestion that the amendments are intended to change the legal or community definition of the family. By moving the subparagraph to the definition of associate the Government is ensuring that persons who are dependent on others or members of the household of others are still protected by the provisions of the Act as associates without extending any concepts of what the community would regard, and what is legally regarded in this legislation, as a relative.

Second, the Government intends to replace section 49ZYI of that Act, which was inserted by the Anti- Discrimination (Age Discrimination) Amendment Act 1993. The new provision will simply clarify that the proposed change to section 54(1)(d) and (e) to remove the existing award exemption will not affect award provisions concerning junior wage rates. This amendment clarifies that junior wage rates will continue to be lawful until the Government proclaims subsection (3) of new section 49ZYI. This was the situation under the previous provision, which has merely been altered for the sake of clarity.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: What about female rates? Will you be able to introduce female rates?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: Under the new legislation discrimination within awards will be unlawful. Discrimination between males and females will not occur in future industrial awards. The Anti-Discrimination (Amendment) Bill constitutes a significant reform in the area of anti-discrimination law by recognising that additional protections are needed to enable all persons in the community to live free from discrimination. I thank all honourable members who participated in the debate for their contributions and support for the bill. I commend the bill to the House.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time.
In Committee

Schedule 1

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [9.40]: I move:
    Page 2, Schedule 1(1). After line 15, insert:
    (a) Insert in section 4(1) in alphabetical order:
      "ethno-religious origin" does not include religious beliefs or religious practices;

As the Attorney General has said, this is the intention of the legislation. He stated this in his second reading speech and in his response to other contributions to this bill. He said that his advice was that it was not necessary to include it. He said also that, if problems developed, he would amend the bill. I move the amendment, and add the comment that I am puzzled that if this is simple - and even the Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti interjected and said yes, that this is exactly what the bill means -

The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti: It does not. If you are going to finish up with "not necessarily include", you might as well not have it at all.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: No, "does not include" - not "necessarily" - "religious beliefs or religious practices".

The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti: But an ethno-religious group can include religions. Some Jews actually practise their religion, and so do some Sikhs and some Muslims.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: But discrimination is not based on that; it is based on the "ethno" aspect. The honourable member has confirmed the necessity for this amendment.

The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti: No, I did not. That is why I said that if you say "not necessarily" then you do not need it at all. That is what I said, if you would listen carefully.

The CHAIRMAN: Order! The honourable member will have an opportunity to contribute to this debate.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: I believe that this issue is serious and the amendment is necessary in order to clarify the situation and to remove widespread concern among the churches about this matter. If the amendment is defeated, I will move a further amendment to remove the term "ethno-religious" altogether. That is the request I have
Page 2258
received from the Catholic Education Commission. That is a demonstration of widespread community concern. The CEC does not want to be put through the harassment or misunderstanding arising from anti-discrimination proceedings and the Government could ensure that would not happen if it accepted the amendment, thus removing those fears. This Parliament is supposed to be developing workable legislation that is acceptable in the community. Anti-discrimination will not work unless there is widespread community support for it. This bill seems to run in direct conflict with the views of the majority of people in this State. As I said the other day with the 74 per cent -

The Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby: The Catholic Church in this State.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: No, I did not say the Catholic Church. I said that 74 per cent of the population claim to be Christians, including members of the Catholic Church. The amendment is supported by the New South Wales Council of Churches, which represents the Protestant churches, and the Catholic Church represents the remainder. In total that amounts to 74 per cent of the population, including some denominations with minor differences. That is a very large percentage of the community of this State and I believe that they should have some recognition. For those reasons I commend the amendment.

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY [9.45]: The Australian Democrats will not support this amendment - that there are many religions in this State. There was a remark I discovered in Hansard today when Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile - if he has not been misquoted - was trying to suggest that the Christian church in New South Wales represented the Catholics, the Anglicans, the Muslims and the Buddhists, and they all came under the umbrella of Christianity.

[Interruption]

That is the way it was reported in Hansard and presumably the honourable member by now has corrected it, because it seemed to be a very strange remark. I believe that, however strong the Catholic representation may be, or however strong the Anglican representation may be, or however strong the representation may be from the Uniting Church or from the fundamentalist churches, we must remember there is a significant Jewish population in this State. There are also a significant number of Muslims, and a significant number of Buddhists. I believe that the majority of native-born Australians, if they see a mosque and Muslims, do not know whether those Muslims came from Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey or Africa.

Similarly, if they see Buddhists, they do not know whether those Buddhists came from Malaysia, Indonesia, as well they might, or whether they came from China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam or Cambodia. They recognise them by their religion; they do not recognise them solely by their race. If you wish to take the matter to the extreme, as far as the members of the Jewish faith in this State are concerned, they are not identified by their racial origin from Europe. As I said in my speech on the second reading, they are not identified as Russian Jews, or German Jews, or Polish Jews or French Jews. For that reason I believe it is necessary that the amendment proposed by the Government is essential. Even in Europe during the 1930s - as I know well to my cost, because of my relatives - people were not distinguished under Hitler by whether they came from Russia, from Poland, from Austria, from Germany, from Denmark, from France or from Great Britain: if you were caught in Germany and you had Jewish blood, you probably went to the concentration camp.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA [9.47]: The Opposition does not support this amendment and believes it is unnecessary. The term "ethno-religious" covers the definition very well. I can add no more than has already been said by the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby, who explained it very well. The reality is that the Anti-Discrimination Board already uses the ethno-religious definition and it is included in the bill to give it legislative basis because of challenges that have been mounted in the Equal Opportunity Tribunal.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [9.48]: In response to the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby, in the earlier debate I was making the point that some people were treating Anglicans, Catholics, Muslims and Buddhists as if they were separate religions. I was making the point that Anglican and Catholic were not separate religions but part of the same religion. I was not saying that the Buddhists and Muslims were part of the Christian church. That is the point I was making. The suggestion was that Anglicans, Catholics, Buddhists and Muslims were separate religions and therefore they were all numerically small, with no consensus. My argument was exactly the opposite. Anglicans and Catholics are similar. In fact, a former Bishop of the Anglican Church in Britain, G. D. Leonard, has moved to the Catholic Church over the question of ordination of women. He has been accepted by the Catholic Church because he will not stay in the Anglican Church. That shows how close those denominations are in theology and practice. The Hon. Franca Arena says the definition is clear. I make the point that there is no definition. Does the Hon. Franca Arena know what ethno-religious means?

The Hon. Franca Arena: Yes.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: Does the man in the street know what it means?

The Hon. Franca Arena: The Anti-Discrimination Board looks after the complaints. It knows exactly what it means.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: So they become the fuhrers, the leaders who tell us how to think, and what is politically correct thought. Perhaps it is another nail in the coffin of the Anti-Discrimination Board.

Page 2259

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [9.50]: The Council of Churches and, to an extent, the Catholic Education Commission, whose arguments have been adopted by Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile, appear to take the view that the proposed amendment will, in effect, introduce a right of complaint in relation to religious discrimination which could constitute an unjustified interference with religious freedom. I have indicated in my second reading speech, and I wish to reiterate, that the amendment is not intended in any way to interfere with religious freedom and that the extension of the Anti-Discrimination Act to ethno-religious groups will not extend to discrimination on the ground of religion. The Council of Churches, in a recent letter -

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: There is no definition.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: If the Hon. J. R. Johnson will let me finish, he will understand that there is no need for a definition. The Council of Churches, in its most recent letter -

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: Well, the Anti-Discrimination Board says -

The CHAIRMAN: Order! The Hon. J. R. Johnson knows how to contribute in the traditional manner to debate. I ask him to hold his comments until then.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: The Council of Churches, in its most recent letter, stated that the relevant authorities decide that a common religion is not an essential characteristic of an ethnic group. This, however, does not appear to be the correct interpretation of the cases upon which they rely. I can only emphasise that the Council of Churches is pursuing its argument based upon a wrong interpretation of the law. Rather, the cases focus on what conditions are required to come within the term ethnic. The House of Lords in Mandla v. Dowell Lee held that the following conditions are essential for a group to constitute an ethnic group for the purposes of the Race Relations Act of the United Kingdom. They said the following was required:
    (1) a long shared history, of which the group is conscious as distinguishing it from other groups and a memory of which it keeps alive; and

    (2) a cultural tradition of its own, including family and social customs and manners, often but not necessarily associated with a religious observance.

In 1993 in Philips v. Aboriginal Legal Service the Equal Opportunity Tribunal of New South Wales held that it was bound by the decision in Mandla v. Dowell Lee so that being Jewish is being of a certain race under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. Accordingly, the inclusion of the term ethno-religious in the ground of race will import the common law clearly into the Act. It will not - and I emphasise will not - provide a ground of religion in the Act, as religion will only be a factor if it is intrinsically linked with the race of the person. The Anti-Discrimination Board has advised that, for example, if a church organisation wanted to employ a committed Christian to undertake a particular job and refused to employ a Sikh, this would not be discrimination based on the person's race but rather upon that person's religion.

For example, if a Christian denomination school advertised and stated that only a person of a certain Christian denomination should apply for the job, the advertisement would not be discriminatory. If a Sikh applied for the job the school would be able to refuse the Sikh that job because it wanted a person of Christian denomination. The decision would be made based on religion and not upon the fact that the applicant was a Sikh.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile: What would stop the Sikh making a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board saying he believed it was ethno-religious discrimination?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: He can believe what he wants. The law does not entitle him to a basis for that belief. If someone goes to the police and says, "I think someone committed an offence", the police will say, "I am sorry, he has not committed an offence", and that is the end of the matter.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: The Anti-Discrimination Board will make the decision.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: The Hon. J. R. Johnson interjects by saying the Anti-Discrimination Board will make the decision. That is the unusual feature of the Act. A board has been created to make decisions. Those who do not want to believe do not have to.

Amendment negatived.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [9.56]: I move:
    Page 2, Schedule 1(1), lines 17 and 18. Omit ", ethno-religious".

This has been requested strongly by the Catholic Education Commission. I have had discussions before entering the Chamber tonight with the senior legal officer of the Catholic Church in this State. It is hard for me to convey just how disturbed the Catholic Church is by this approach. The church is not in favour of any discrimination on the basis of whether a person is a Jew or a Muslim. It is simply concerned about how the law will operate in this State and the confusion that may arise. The representative said to me that this bill now covers half the Catholics in this State and excludes the other half. He believes that the half that are covered are Armenian Catholics, Ukrainian Catholics and so on, but Australian Catholics are not covered. That is one of the practical problems he raised with me tonight. I do not believe the Government has given serious consideration to the implications of this proposal. There are many ethno-religious sections of the Catholic Church. On their behalf and on behalf of others, I commend the amendment.

Page 2260

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY [9.58]: The Australian Democrats will not support the amendment moved by Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile. In view of the explanation he has given for his amendment, with all due respect - and I say this with respect - it seems quite wrong that such Jesuitical reasoning should be imposed on this Parliament, because the Catholic Church is not the only strand of the Christian religion that is represented either in this Parliament or in this State. I do not believe legislation should be devised in the 1990s, though it may have been devised in the 1890s, to suit the dominance of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is no longer dominant. It is a dangerous and divisive suggestion that we should now accept amendments because the Catholic Education Commission objects to what is acceptable to all other Christians in New South Wales.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA [10.0]: The Opposition does not support the amendment.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [10.0]: I wish to respond to something that the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby said, which shows her complete lack of understanding of these matters. She does not seem to realise that, after the State Government education system, the Catholic Church operates the second largest education system in this State.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: It is the second largest employer in Australia.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: It does not employ just a small percentage of people; it has many institutions and schools. In fact, if the Catholic Church closed its schools because of this legislation, the whole State would come to a standstill. This State would collapse.

The Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby: Is Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile suggesting that the Catholic education service will go on strike?

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: I am not saying that; I am telling the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby that she is not talking only about a handful of people but about a complex organisation that operates the second largest education system in this State. The Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby does not seem to understand that there is that concern about this legislation - a point to which I referred in my speech in the second reading debate. Buddhists in New South Wales account for 0.8 per cent of the population; the Jewish community, 0.4 per cent; and Muslims, 0.9 per cent.

The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti: What does it matter?

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: The Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby is simply rubbishing the largest Christian denomination in this State.

The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti: She was not rubbishing anything.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: She did. She said, "We do not have to take notice of what the Catholic Church says. We are not living in those days any more". The Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby should take notice of what every religious and community group thinks. She should, but she does not because she has a prejudice. That is something that we have to accept.

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY [10.1]: Mr Chairman, I ask you to ask Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile to withdraw that statement. I do not have a prejudice.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: You were talking about being Jesuitical.

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY: I said that the reasoning of Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile was Jesuitical. I am well aware of the number of students in this State who attend Catholic schools. That does not mean to say that all those students come from Catholic families. Many Protestant families send their children to Catholic schools because they admire the high quality of education at those schools. So the number of students attending Catholic schools might not be representative of the number of practising Catholics in this State. Equally, I reiterate that I do not believe it is proper, given that New South Wales is a multicultural State with a multiplicity of religions, for legislation in this State to be based on the views expressed by Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile because he tells us -

Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile: Seventy-four per cent are Christians.

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY: But 74 per cent are not Catholic.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile: That is the total in the Christian community.

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY: I believe it is a wrong premise on which to base our legislation.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [10.3]: The comments I made in my second reading speech and in relation to the last amendment properly canvassed the reasons why the Government cannot accept this amendment. It would undermine the whole direction and purpose of the legislation.

Amendment negatived.

Schedule agreed to.

Schedule 2

The Hon. J. R. JOHNSON [10.4]: Mr Chairman, I seek your guidance. Is it permissible to ask a question of the Minister at this stage concerning how many additional positions will have to be created or have been created to implement these new provisions?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [10.5]: Honourable members might recall that, during the last session, the Government introduced age discrimination legislation
Page 2261
in New South Wales. As a result I made allowance for the employment of an additional 13 people to deal with age discrimination and all the miscellaneous changes that will arise out of that legislation and this legislation. The total number employed will be 13. Of that number three will deal with disability legislation and one will deal with this legislation. So a total of 13 additional people will be employed.

Schedule agreed to.

Schedule 4

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [10.6]: I move:
    Page 18, Schedule 4(2)(a), lines 10-18. Omit all words on those lines, insert instead:
    "associate" of a person means:
      (a) any person with whom the person associates, whether socially or in business or commerce, or otherwise; and
      (b) any person who is wholly or mainly dependent on, or a member of the household of, the person;
    "homosexual" means male or female homosexual;
    "relative" of a person means any person to whom the person is related by blood, marriage, affinity or adoption.

I have moved this amendment for the reasons outlined in my second reading speech. I acknowledge the argument of the Catholic education office that the wording, as incorporated, could be interpreted as suggesting that the Government is undermining the traditional definition of "relative" or "family". That is not the intention of this legislation. I have moved this amendment to avoid any such argument and to re-emphasise the Government's commitment to the traditional family.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA [10.7]: The Opposition supports the amendment for the reasons outlined by the Minister.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [10.7]: The Call to Australia group is pleased to accept the Government's amendment, which we had planned to move. We are pleased that the Government accepted our amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY [10.9]: I move:
    Pages 18 and 19, Schedule 4(3), line 32 on page 18 to line 4 on page 19. Omit all words on those lines, insert instead:
    Discrimination on more than one ground
    4A. For the purposes of this Act, a person is considered to have done something on a particular ground if that ground constitutes the sole reason or a significant reason for the doing of that thing.

I will take up a little time of the House explaining why I am moving this amendment, which was brought to my attention earlier today by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the Kingsford Legal Centre, and by David Buchanan, a barrister acting on behalf of the AIDS Council. The issue is whether discrimination should be permitted when other factors are also involved? It was suggested by Mr David Buchanan that after proposed section 4(a) the following should be inserted:
    4A. If something is done on more than one ground, it is for the purposes of this Act taken to have been done on whichever of those grounds is the dominant ground (with the result that this Act will apply only if that dominant ground is a ground of unlawful discrimination under this Act).

This amendment is not confined to the attribute of HIV-AIDS. According to Mr Buchanan and to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre it affects all attributes - race, sex, et cetera - that are protected by the Anti-Discrimination Act now or will be protected in the future. The purpose of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 was to ensure that the law reflected government policy of making Australia a society more tolerant of diversity. When people do things which have a discriminatory effect they frequently do so for more than one reason. Often the main reason is one which is either a pretext for discrimination or which excuses intolerance or indifference.

Examples of concerns which can thus perpetuate intolerance, therefore discrimination, are perceptions as to customer prejudice, a need for industrial relations harmony and an inability to see that adapting to difference need not be expensive and ultimately can secure economic efficiency. To require that, when there is more than one ground for discriminatory conduct, the dominant motivating factor be discrimination on a ground which is unlawful, will gut the Act. The fact that two States, Victoria and Queensland, require that the protected attribute be the substantial ground for discrimination before the discrimination is unlawful speaks only of the inadequacy of those two statutes.

I have also been pointed in the direction of the recommendations of the Anti-Discrimination Board itself and of the Puplick committee. I quote from the report entitled "The Courage of our Convictions: HIV-AIDS; The National Strategy and the Laws of New South Wales", published by the New South Wales ministerial review HIV-AIDS working party of 1993. It was released in 1994. The working party reported at pages 36 and 37:
    The Anti-Discrimination Act states that discrimination "on the ground of" homosexuality, impairment etc is unlawful (eg s.49ZH). The words "on the ground of" have been interpreted broadly by the Tribunal. In Reddrop v. Boehringer Ingleheim Pty Ltd . . . the Tribunal said:
    "Finally, we consider it to be clear law . . . that the claimant does not have to prove that the prohibited reason that is marital status or sex, was the only reason or even the dominant reason for the respondent's conduct. It is sufficient if it is a significant reason."

In order to make it clear to those reading the legislation that the words "on the grounds of" have this meaning, the board made a submission to the Government that the Act be amended to reflect this
Page 2262
decision. The board understands - and I have had it confirmed by the Attorney General - that the Cabinet rejected this submission and instead approved an amendment which requires that where discrimination occurs on more than one ground, the relevant ground for the purpose of the Act is whichever is the dominant ground for discrimination. This is under the Anti-Discrimination (Amendment) Bill 1992 schedule 4(2). The board believes that the proposed amendment will make the Anti-Discrimination Act inoperative in all cases in which there is more than one reason for an act and the complainant cannot prove on the balance of probabilities that the discriminatory reason was the dominant reason. In many cases it will be difficult to identify which, if any, of the reasons for a particular act is the dominant reason. The example given to illustrate the point is as follows:
    A number of council employees who collected garbage refused to work with a man who was HIV positive because of the alleged risk that he would be cut by glass and they would be infected. The council believed it had adequate infection control procedures in place and was prepared to allow the HIV positive employee to continue working. However they were ultimately convinced to sack him because they did not want to risk industrial action over the issue. In this case the dominant reason for the sacking was to avoid industrial action, not the fact that the employee was HIV positive.

Significantly, the requirement for an act of discrimination to be "on the ground of" a particular characteristic applies to direct discrimination but not to indirect discrimination. For indirect discrimination to be made out, there must be a requirement or condition which has a disproportionate impact on one group, perhaps women, as opposed to another group, men. A potential respondent will have a defence if the requirement is "reasonable in all the circumstances". That is the reason the board supports an amendment which clarifies that the discriminatory reason need not be the dominant reason for the conduct so long as it is a significant reason.

Mr Buchanan placed emphasis on other jurisdictions in which discrimination is unlawful if it is part of the reason, and referred to the Commonwealth's Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Race Discrimination Act 1975 and Sex Discrimination Act 1984, Western Australia's Equal Opportunity Act 1984, the Australian Capital Territory's Discrimination Act 1991, and the Northern Territory's Anti-Discrimination Act 1992. He emphasised also "jurisdictions where discrimination has to be a substantial reason", and referred to Victoria's Equal Opportunity Act 1984 and Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Act 1991. The Government should accept this important amendment as it will impact in the long term on legislation that is in force in other States as well as at the Commonwealth level.

Unfortunately I have been informed by the Attorney General that the way the bill is worded at the moment is the result of a Cabinet decision. In spite of the representations that have been made to him through me and other sources, the Attorney General is unable to accept my amendment. Until a few moments ago I had hoped that the Opposition would accept my amendment but I have been informed that it will not do so. Naturally I will not take this amendment to a division, but I am making this lengthy statement because I believe this legal opinion is important and should be placed on the record. It is my opinion that in the future when this Act is being interpreted difficulties will arise because the dominant reason test is putting New South Wales out of line with anti-discrimination legislation throughout most of Australia, including the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act, the Commonwealth Race Discrimination Act and the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act. I do not believe that our legislation, especially as it is new legislation, should be so far out of step with legislation in other States and important Commonwealth legislation. That is why I press the amendment.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [10.20]: Under the present legislation, when there is discrimination on more than one ground there is no test. The purpose of the amending legislation is to provide that when an act involving discrimination has multiple facets, to determine whether discrimination has occurred one looks at the dominant reason for which something was done. Clearly the Government has adopted that approach because the whole purpose of discriminatory legislation is to determine why someone has done a particular act. What has dominated that person's reasoning for doing something? What has dominated the person's reason for acting in the way he has acted?

The Government has adopted the common term "the dominant purpose". That is easily assessable on the available evidence. The Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby has argued that the test should be "a significant reason". That generates its own vagueness. To assess whether something done was done for a significant reason one must determine the intention of the party concerned. That generates a subjective element into the assessment of activity. I am sure that the honourable member could think of appropriate examples. The Government has sought to clarify the law. The amendment proposed by the Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby would broaden the test and leave it open to subjective elements. The Government is not willing to accede to confusion of that type being introduced into the legislation.

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY [10.22]: I do not wish to labour the point, but it is necessary to clarify my conviction about the merits of the amendment. The Anti-Discrimination Board is quoted in the report "The Courage of Our Convictions" as saying:
    The Board believes that the proposed amendment will make the Anti-Discrimination Act inoperative in all cases where there is more than one reason for an act and the complainant cannot prove on the balance of probabilities that the discriminatory reason was the dominant reason. In many cases it would be difficult to identify which, if any, of the reasons for the particular act is the dominant reason.

Page 2263

The dominant reason test will put New South Wales out of line with anti-discrimination legislation throughout most of Australia. I do not believe that is a wise course to adopt.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [10.23]: Call to Australia accepts the explanation put forward by the Attorney General and opposes the amendment.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA [10.23]: The Opposition does not support the amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [10.24]: I move:
    Page 24, Schedule 4. After line 27, insert:
    (20) Section 49ZT (Homosexual vilification unlawful):
      From section 49ZT(2)(c), omit "religious instruction, scientific or research purposes", insert instead "scientific, research or religious discussion or instruction purposes".

The amendment will clarify the Government's intention that the words "religious instruction" be expanded to more accurately include religious discussion or instruction purposes. That will include instruction as well as discussion by students in a classroom, or between a teacher and students, especially having in mind Catholic schools and the large number of other denominational schools, Christian community schools and parent controlled schools that have thousands of students attending them. The amendment will avoid any misunderstandings that might occur.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA [10.26]: The Opposition does not support the amendment.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [10.26]: Although the term "religious instruction" is included in the homosexual vilification legislation that passed through the House last year the Government has included a wider term in the present bill. The Government will consider appropriate amendments to ensure consistency between the present bill and the homosexual vilification legislation in the context of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission's final report on its current reference under the Anti-Discrimination Act, which will be released later this year. The Government does not consider that the legislation passed last year should be amended at this stage without the benefit of the Law Reform Commission's report.

Amendment negatived.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [10.27]: I move:
    Page 24, Schedule 4. After line 27, insert:
    (20) Section 49ZYI (as inserted by the Anti-Discrimination (Age Discrimination) Amendment Act 1993):
      Omit the section, insert instead:
      Junior employees
      49ZYI. (1) Nothing in section 49ZYB(1) applies to or in respect of the offering of employment to persons who are under 21 years of age or the terms on which employment is offered to persons who are under 21 years of age.
      (2) Nothing in section 49ZYB(2)(a) applies to or in respect of the terms or conditions of employment that are afforded to employees who are under 21 years of age.
    (3) This section ceases to operate on a day appointed by proclamation for the purposes of this section, being a day that it is not earlier than 2 years after the date of commencement of this Part.

The amendment will replace section 49ZYI of the Act, which was inserted by the Anti-Discrimination (Age Discrimination) Amendment Act 1993. The new provision will clarify that the proposed change to section 54(1)(d) and (e) to remove the existing award exemption will not affect award provisions concerning junior wage rates. This amendment will simply clarify that junior wage rates will continue to be lawful until the Government proclaims subsection (3) of the new section 49ZYI. This was the situation under the previous provision, which has merely been altered for the sake of clarity. The amendment reinforces our intentions under the original legislation and will avoid ambiguity.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA [10.28]: The Opposition supports the amendment, which, as the Minister said, is simply a matter of clarification.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [10.28]: Call to Australia supports the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [10.29], by leave: I move amendments Nos 4 and 5 circulated in my name, in globo:
    Page 25, Schedule 4(22), lines 14-18. Omit all words on those lines.
    Page 32, Schedule 4(39), lines 21-26. Omit all words on those lines.

These amendments deal with some important issues relating to awards that affect schools, and especially the Catholic school system, which it is felt would be best omitted from the legislation. The first amendment relates to an order or an award. The second amendment, dealing with industrial awards and agreements on page 32, will delete the following unnecessary words:
    7. The amendments made by the amending Act to section 54 do not apply in respect of any order, award or agreement in force immediately before the commencement of those amendments until the first anniversary of the commencement of those amendments.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [10.30]: The Government does not accept the amendments, as they undermine an essential tenet of the legislation - that is, to ensure that industrial awards and agreements are brought into line with the anti-discrimination legislation so that any discriminatory provisions within those awards, particularly as they may relate to women within the awards, are eliminated. The intention is that all groups must seek to comply with the legislation within the next 12 months. The only exception will be junior wage rates. The earlier amendment will ensure that
Page 2264
junior wage rates will remain in place for at least two years. As I indicated in my second reading speech on the age discrimination legislation, I do not intend to abolish junior wage rates until significant agreement is reached on an appropriate basis for such abolition. Having regard to the recent Federal Budget, in which the whole concept of junior wage rates seems to be reinforced, one wonders whether we will ever see the gazettal of the provision that would result in the abolition of junior wage rates.

The Hon. FRANCA ARENA [10.31]: The Opposition does not support the amendments.

Amendments negatived.

Schedule as amended agreed to.

Bill reported from Committee with amendments and report adopted.

COURTS LEGISLATION (CIVIL PROCEDURE) AMENDMENT BILL
Second Reading

Debate resumed from 4 May.

The Hon. R. D. DYER [10.35]: The Opposition opposes the Courts Legislation (Civil Procedure) Amendment Bill. Having regard to the relatively late hour and the pressure of business upon the House, I shall endeavour to deal with this measure in a compendious and expeditious fashion. I have a sense of déjà vu in speaking on this measure this evening because it is the third such attempt by the Government to abolish civil juries except in a limited class of cases. I almost feel tempted to seek the leave of the House to tender and incorporate in Hansard the text of my remarks made in this House on 1 May 1991, when, if I may say so, I gave a learned exposition of the law and practice in regard to civil juries. However, I shall not do so. I would not be following the practice of the House, and I feel I must say a few words by way of opposition to what the Government is yet again seeking to do, namely, abolish civil juries.

In formal terms the object of the bill is to provide that civil proceedings in the Supreme Court and District Court are to be tried without a jury unless the court orders that the proceedings or any issues of fact in the proceedings should be tried with a jury in the interests of justice. In practical terms such an order will be virtually impossible to obtain from any judge. Any practising solicitor or barrister would know that to be the case. For all practical purposes this is the abolition of civil juries, except that civil juries will be retained where the proceedings arise from a cause of action based on fraud, defamation, malicious prosecution or false imprisonment. Also, the bill has the objective of giving the court that has discharged a jury in civil proceedings the ability to determine issues of fact in addition to issues of law if the parties agree. The Opposition has no particular objection to that provision, but having regard to the major thrust of the legislation, the Opposition will vote against the second reading of the bill.

The brief history of the matter is that the right to civil juries has existed in this State since 1823. It is a right that exists in every other jurisdiction in Australia, with the exception of South Australia. The bill introduces in identical form the civil jury abolition proposals contained in a bill of the same name, the Courts Legislation (Civil Procedure) Amendment Bill 1990, which was introduced in another place by the Government prior to the 1991 election and passed by another place on 16 April 1991. However, on 1 May 1991 the bill was amended in this place to delete such provisions of the bill as gave effect to the abolition of civil juries. After the 1991 elections the Government made yet another attempt to enact the abolition of civil juries in the Courts Legislation (Civil Procedure) Further Amendment Bill 1991, which was introduced in another place. The Minister for Justice at that time, the Hon. Terry Griffiths, gave his second reading speech on 28 August 1991. That bill lapsed when Parliament was prorogued in December 1991, and the bill was not reintroduced following the loss by the Government of the by-election held for the seat of The Entrance. That is the brief history of the legislative attempts by the Government in recent years to abolish civil juries.

In many respects the Opposition regards it as remarkable that the Government believes it appropriate that bank robbers, murderers, arsonists, and anyone else who might be put on trial for a serious offence have a right to a jury trial, but a person who is rendered a quadriplegic in an industrial accident or who has another claim in tort against a person who acted negligently towards them is not regarded as having an equivalent right to have a jury try that case. In the case of a motor vehicle accident there is a simple question for determination by a jury. In the view of the Opposition there is less purpose and less reason to have a jury in such a case because a motor vehicle accident does not involve the application of community attitudes or values. But where public liability claims involve the application of community attitudes - for example, the obligation of a school authority towards a pupil, the obligation of a local council to those who use its facilities or services, the obligation of a highway authority towards the users of the road, the obligation of a surgeon towards his patient, a lawyer toward his client or a gaol towards a prisoner - the Opposition submits strongly that it is important to determine the standard of care expected by the community by having a jury empanelled to adjudicate on the case.

After a number of years a judge, by the very fact of his or her appointment, becomes somewhat isolated from mainstream attitudes and experience. Mr Tim Kelly, solicitor, who wrote to the shadow attorney general, Mr Paul Whelan, about the bill, made inquiries at the Supreme Court Registry as recently as 9 May. His inquiries show that statistics are still not kept by the court on the relative times taken by jury trials and non-jury trials in the Common Law Division of the Supreme Court. Mr Kelly's inquiries of the Supreme Court Registry reveal that there is no longer any difference in the time it takes
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to bring to trial a jury case or a non-jury case in the Common Law Division and that this has been so during the past year.

I am advised that this outcome has resulted from initiatives taken by the Department of Courts Administration. At present in the Common Law Division jury cases are being listed for directions if set down before 16 November 1990, and non-jury cases are being listed for directions if set down for trial before 4 October 1990. One can deduce from that advice from the court registry that there is no significant difference in setting down for trial jury matters or non-jury matters. Anything the Minister might say about delay in that regard is nothing more or less than a furphy.

Mr Barry Hall, Q.C., has given the Opposition the benefit of a detailed appraisal of the merits of having juries available in civil proceedings. Mr Hall reminds us that jury service involves citizens in the administration of justice and that such involvement helps to ensure community support for the judicial process. He also reminds us that a jury is both a practical and symbolic expression of a democratic institution that gives reality to the trial of issue or fact by one's peers. Jurors bring a wide diversity of experience with them; they have the advantage of a collective perception, recollection and analysis of the evidence; and they reach their decision collectively. The standard adopted by a jury is more representative of a community. Because a jury is assembled for a particular case only, it has a freshness of approach that ensures that the case is decided on its individual merits and is not trammelled by any prejudice born as a result of past cases.

It is a notorious fact that some judges on appointment have a history of having habitually appeared in matters for defendants or complainants. Nor is a jury affected by any particular knowledge of the existence or otherwise of insurance. Those advantages are some of the more obvious benefits of having juries hear civil actions. In addition, jury awards and verdicts have traditionally been regarded, within broad limits, as both more uniform and more predictable than those of judges. Any barrister practising in that field will admit that is the case. As for listing delays, Mr Hall says:
    The present delays are essentially a product of a listing system which favours non-jury trials, and it is wrong to suggest that litigants have caused the delay. For many years the Supreme Court has listed twice as many non-jury causes as jury causes, and the listing bias against jury trials is even worse in the District Court.

The Minister will make a great song and dance about defendants habitually requesting jury trials to slow down proceedings. What such a distinguished counsel as Mr Hall says about the listing practices of the Supreme Court and, even worse, about the District Court and about the proportion of jury trials to non-jury trials listed must be borne in mind. Mr Hall agrees with Mr Kelly's statement that partial abolition of jury trials as propounded in the bill is both illogical and unjustifiable, and that there is no statistical evidence to support any curtailment of trial by jury. I have given an overview of the arguments against the abolition of civil juries. Civil juries remain a valuable institution in our society. The Opposition will vote at the second reading to resist abolition of civil juries to the extent proposed in the bill.

The Hon. J. M. SAMIOS [10.48]: I support the bill. The proposed legislation will allow civil proceedings to be tried without a jury; where there is a jury, it will enable a judge to determine issues of fact on which the jury cannot agree. These reform measures are aimed at reducing delays in court proceedings and at providing swift justice to litigants in courts in New South Wales. In doing so, the Government strongly supports the policy of limiting the right to a jury in civil cases and acknowledges the advantage of such matters being heard solely by a judge. The reforms are based upon a discussion paper on civil procedures commissioned in 1989 by former Attorney General John Dowd. The Government has proposed an option for delivering consistent and fair justice. The Minister's responses in his second reading speech reflect the Government's position.

The Minister's responses reflected strong support for the proposal to restrict the use of juries in civil matters, particularly from the judiciary, including the Chief Justice and the Chief Judge in Equity, and the Law Society. There is a tendency in cases presided over by juries for such cases to be both longer and more expensive - more expensive to the parties involved, more expensive to the juries who must attend the trial, because they are rarely sufficiently compensated for their time, and ultimately more expensive for the entire court system. Moreover, the existence of two styles of civil proceedings for cases from the same jurisdiction produces inconsistent findings. It is much easier and far more flexible to order urgent hearings for trial before a judge sitting alone than for a trial by jury. This mode of trial allows for country judges to be tried locally with far greater speed. Judges may use their discretion in deciding the mode of trial. It will put a halt to the delaying tactics employed by regional defendants who apply for cases to be heard by a jury in order to delay proceedings endlessly, but in the process also tie up court administration.

The intention of this bill is similar to the amendment to section 89 made by the previous Government in 1987, which sought also to give the overriding discretion to the courts to order trial without jury in most common law cases. There were problems with the application of this law, and in 1988 the Court of Appeal recommended a review of section 89 in preparation for further legislation. The court also strongly expressed the view that there were grounds for limiting the use of juries in civil court proceedings. This amendment will rectify a complex and technical arrangement and replace it with what should have always been a relatively simple procedural law. I also support the option for judges to determine issues of fact in cases where a jury has deliberated for four hours and the provision that makes it mandatory for a jury to be discharged if it cannot reach a verdict after six hours.

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This amendment will be an advantage for both parties who at present may be forced to pay for an expensive retrial in cases in which a jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict. In cases in which the jury has been discharged it will allow the judge, with the consent of the parties, to determine issues of fact. This amendment will also deliver swifter, more efficient justice through the New South Wales courts. The reality is that this Government has shown that it has intestinal fortitude to grasp the nettle. The public has spoken strongly about delays in the court system. The Attorney General in introducing this legislation is continuing the tradition of the Greiner and Fahey governments to move ahead to provide a more streamlined system of justice for the benefit of the constituency of this State, for justice delayed is justice denied. I commend the Attorney General for the legislation and strongly support it.

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY [10.54]: I speak on behalf of the Australian Democrats. If I was not opposed to the bill previously, I should be absolutely opposed to it after hearing the words of the Hon. J. M. Samios. I have a great respect for the honourable member, but the reasons he has just put forward I find frightening. I thought we lived in a democratic society. The Australian Democrats strongly oppose the Courts Legislation (Civil Procedure) Amendment Bill. When the Courts Legislation (Civil Procedure) Amendment Bill was debated in this House in May 1990, on behalf of the Australian Democrats I opposed the clauses of the legislation that would have abolished civil juries in certain cases. A few moments ago the Hon. R. D. Dyer said that he could just as well have repeated the speech he made to that bill. I could do exactly the same.

At that time, the legislation was significantly amended. However, in August 1991 the Attorney General of the day introduced a second bill in order to resubmit the measures that had been deleted prior to the election, and the bill subsequently lapsed. The Attorney General is resubmitting the same bill for the third time. The position of the Australian Democrats has not changed, just as the position of the Government has not changed. The object of this bill is to provide that civil proceedings in the Supreme and District Courts are to be tried without a jury unless the court orders that the proceedings or any issues of fact in the proceedings be tried with a jury in the interests of justice - the Hon. R. D. Dyer pointed out earlier in his remarks how extremely unlikely that is to occur - or the proceedings arise from a cause of action based on fraud, defamation, malicious prosecution or false imprisonment.

The Government put forward a number of reasons for its proposal. They were to simplify the rules that govern the use of civil juries. The reason that was dwelt on at some length by the Hon. J. M. Samios was to reduce delays in the jury list. Barry Hall of counsel provided me with a lengthy submission. I should like to point out that there is irrefutable evidence that a jury trial does not take longer than a trial before a judge. It was argued in support of the 1990 bill that jury cases consume more hearing time than trials before a judge. No statistical evidence has ever been advanced to support this claim. The real question, according to Mr Hall, is whether the trial from commencement to verdict takes longer. It cannot be said that a jury trial takes longer than a trial before a judge. Before this assertion can have any validity, one would have to average the total length of all jury trials and contrast the result with the average of the total length of all cases decided by judges.

Bearing in mind the lengthy delays involved in many of the reserved judgments delivered by judges and the fact that a jury gives its verdict immediately upon completion of the evidence, it cannot be argued that juries take longer than judges to decide cases. Indeed, in conversation with members of the judiciary they will talk about cases in which judges have reserved their judgments for months, and in some cases for a year going on to two years, for no apparent reason, except that they just have not got around to writing them. If this can be a matter of comment, and indeed in some cases a matter of some hilarity in legal circles, I do not see why the legislation should be changed simply because some members of the bench are eccentric. Mr Hall also pointed out that on country circuits jury sittings handle more cases than non-jury sittings because the settlement rate is higher.

Mr Hall also pointed out to me in this lengthy submission about listing delays in jury trials that the present delays are essentially a product of the listing system, which favours non-jury trials. He believes it is wrong to suggest that the litigants have caused the delays. For many years the Supreme Court listed twice as many non-jury causes as jury causes and the listing bias against jury trials is even worse in the District Court. Therefore, as one would expect, this bias has led to a large backlog of jury actions awaiting trial. In 1990 and 1991 the backlog was increased by the failure of the Government to appoint more acting judges. The Attorney of the day claimed then that he had not been able to obtain suitable acting judges. However, this merely demonstrates, according to Mr Hall, how the administration can endeavour to influence the bench, and therefore future decisions, by appointing only those whose views it anticipates will be compatible with its own aspirations - something which cannot be done with a jury.

The appointment of as few as six very conservative judges would, in the absence of juries, result in a dramatic reduction in damage assessments in the Supreme Court. Because of the delay in hearing jury trials in the pre-trial procedures designed to resolve jury cases before they come to trial, most of the simpler cases are resolved, leaving the jury list with a disproportionate number of complex trials. To that extent the list is distorted and this abnormality, again according to Mr Hall, would disappear if steps were taken to increase the rate at which jury trials were heard. He believes this can be done by continuing to appoint acting judges. Mr Hall said that as a result of amendments to the workers'
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compensation legislation in 1987 there has been a significant fall in the number of common law actions relating to industrial accidents since 1988.

While some increase in the number of requisitions may be expected as practitioners become more familiar with changes effected by the recent 1987 legislation in relation to workers' compensation, nevertheless the trend is for a decline in this class of action. That being so, it is hard to see any real crisis that would justify the radical innovation now being entered upon by the Government. In this regard the judicial system ought to be servicing the wishes of those who use it rather than seeking to ensure that it provides some judges with the mode of trial that they most prefer. If a significant section of litigants prefer trial by a particular method, the legal system should take steps to ensure that that mode of trial is available.

There is a strong and continuing demand for jury trials and the judicial system should continue to service that demand. The Government stated that to remove jury trials in civil cases will remove the potential for unfairness which results from two modes of trial, because two modes create inconsistencies; different delay periods are supposedly exploited; jury verdicts are supposedly lower than awards made by judges; judges give reasons which may be scrutinised on appeal; and, finally, the choice of jury trial by one party has an impact on litigation costs. However, as before, the Australian Democrats are extremely sceptical about the validity of these arguments. Therefore, I shall briefly run through the reasons for our opposition. The right to trial by jury should not be curtailed. This is a basic principle of English law and has existed in New South Wales since 1823. The English judge, Lord Aitken, made the following remarks when it was proposed to curtail the right in 1922:
    Trial by jury . . . is an essential principle of our law. It has been the bulwark of liberty, the shield of the poor from the oppression of the rich and powerful. Anyone who knows the history of our law knows that many of the liberties of the subject were originally established and maintained by the verdicts of juries in civil cases.

Lord Devlin has also argued that trial by jury ensures that people get the sort of justice they like, not the sort of justice that the Government, or the lawyers, or any body of experts thinks is good for them. The removal of such a fundamental right surely needs a clear electoral mandate. The Government does not have this mandate any more than it did in 1990, and it certainly did not run on this issue at the 1991 election. The Australian Democrats believe that the advantages of the present jury system may be summarised as follows. A jury is widely constituted, bringing a wide range of experiences, and is more representative; it ensures that there is community involvement and support for the judicial process; the jury is a practical and symbolic expression of a democratic institution; the virtual anonymity of the jury makes it more difficult to play on any known predispositions as could occur with a trial judge; the jury bases its verdict on the broad equity of the case rather than on a narrow technical approach; and the jury is freshly constituted for each case. It is dangerous to curtail rights in the name of administrative pragmatism, particularly when administrative improvements can be achieved in other ways. Blackstone, the eminent English jurist, argued:
    However convenient these [proposals] may appear at first, as doubtless all arbitrary powers, [when] executed are the most convenient, yet let it again be remembered that delays and inconveniences in the forms of justice are the price that all free nations must pay for their liberty in more substantial matters . . . though begun in trifles, the precedent may gradually increase and spread to the utter disuse of juries in questions of momentous concern.

A jury trial, as I have said before, does not take longer than a trial before a judge. I repeat: there is no statistical evidence to support this claim. Indeed, inquiries made by T. D. Kelly, solicitor, of the Supreme Court Registry, indicated that no records have ever been kept, nor have surveys been made, of the average length of jury trials as opposed to non-jury trials, nor of the average settlement rate in jury actions as opposed to non-jury actions. If the Government wanted to attempt to introduce this legislation for a third time, it might have looked into that matter and tried to examine the records and determine the average settlement rate before bringing the legislation before the House. Mr Kelly argues:
    The assumption that has been made would appear to rest solely on the fact that there is no summing up and a shorter opening address in a non-jury trial, but has not addressed the question of a differing settlement rate between the two types of trial, nor has it taken into account the accelerated pace at which a jury trial moves and is finalised.

It should be pointed out also that there is now no longer any difference in the time it takes to bring a jury case to trial as opposed to a non-jury case in the common law division. That has been the case for the past year because of initiatives taken by the court administration. Listing delays in jury trials are not necessarily because jury trials take longer; rather, they are because of the system. The Supreme Court has listed twice as many non-jury causes as jury causes. As Mr Hall pointed out, the situation is even worse in the District Court. No unfairness flows from an entitlement to elect for trial either before a judge or a jury. The litigant is merely exercising his or her right to choose the method of trial. No legal principle is offended. The fact that so many litigants elect for trial by jury is telling evidence that this right is highly valued.

It has been suggested that only insurers seek trial by jury, but that is incorrect. Even if it were true, there is nothing wrong with one major group of litigants preferring one mode of trial over another. The retention of jury trials in criminal cases and their abolition in civil trials unfairly prejudices law-abiding citizens in that alleged criminals are given rights that they are not. The partial abolition of civil jury trials as propounded in the bill is illogical and unjustifiable. The bill eliminates jury trials for most industrial accidents but retains them for complex trials such as defamation and for rare and complex cases such as fraud, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.

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If civil juries must be retained for what the Government describes as important trials, this would surely appear to point to their value. There is no real evidence that defendants are currently requisitioning juries to capitalise on delays in the jury list. If this were true it could be addressed by redressing the bias against listing jury trials and allocating more jury trials to the list of acting judges. There is also no evidence that jury verdicts are lower than the awards made by judges. In response to the assertion that juries are less consistent in their verdict, Barry Hall responds:
    The awards of juries have traditionally been regarded as being, and, in reality are, within broad limits, both more uniform and more predictable, than those of judges.

His reference for that is 54 State Reports of New South Wales, 109 at pages 202 and 203, in the case Commissioner for Government Transport v. Cullen. Barry Hall continues:
    Whilst the decisions of any given judge may, within themselves, be consistent, if one takes into account the variations in approach, idiosyncrasies and known predispositions of the judges of the present District and Supreme Courts, there is, in reality, a far greater range in Judicial awards than are to be found in jury verdicts.

Furthermore, the fact that variation exists between judicial and jury assessments proves the value of having two alternative systems running concurrently, with judges gaining some guidance from the general trend of jury verdicts. It must also be pointed out that the Minister is in error when he argues that judges can, but juries cannot, refer to awards in similar cases. That is to be found on page 30 of the galleys for Hansard 4 May. It is well established that the judge, jury or appellant courts may not refer to awards in similar cases. The Minister is also wrong to claim that the abolition of juries would increase pre-trial settlements. Legal practitioners argue that, where a trial is to take place before a judge alone, both parties tend to await the identification of the judge who will actually hear the case before making final offers of settlement. The lack of knowledge as to the disposition of a jury forces both parties to assess the likely reaction of a jury to the merits of a case.

The jury is not required to give reasons, but a jury verdict represents a consensus of a number of individuals and is therefore more likely to represent a balanced assessment than a single judge. I said earlier that there is no evidence that jury trials cost more, but the Government has imposed a significantly higher fee for jury trials. I question also the retrospective operation of the statute. Thousands of litigants who have already elected to have a jury trial and have paid fees will now have to forgo that right if this legislation passes through this Parliament. I think all honourable members are aware that the Australian Democrats are reluctant to support any form of retrospective legislation. When it was known that the bill was to come before the House today I received a number of faxed messages. I received one from Murray Tobias, President of the New South Wales Bar Association, who confirmed that the Bar Council was opposed to the provisions in the Courts Legislation (Civil Procedure) Amendment Bill. Murray Tobias stated:
    The involvement of citizens in Civil Jury Trials constitutes an important element in our legal system, because it directly involves the community in the administration of Justice.
    The present bill is in similar form to proposals which were defeated in 1990 and 1991. No new material has been brought forward in support of the present Bill, and the Council remains opposed to the Legislation for the reasons previously expressed in relation to earlier Bills.

Today I received a further fax dated 10 May from Peter C. B. Semmler, Q.C. He stated:
    Contrary to suggestions which have been made by Government spokesmen, it is not only defendants who seek to have issues of fact in civil cases determined by juries. In fact very many plaintiffs, often seriously injured and disadvantaged people, seek to have their cases determined by juries. Nor is it fair to say that the requisition of a jury necessarily delays the hearing of an action. In reality, the very fact that a jury whose predilections are unknown have been requisitioned is frequently a powerful source for compromise of the litigation by each side, and accordingly for quick disposal of cases where juries have been sought.

Mr Semmler was speaking on behalf of the Australian Plaintiff Lawyers Association, of which he is president. He continued:
    The present entitlement to jury trials in civil cases was described by the Government spokesman in the Legislative Council on 4 May 1994 as "a luxury". Far from being a luxury, the entitlement of ordinary citizens to participate in the decision making process of the civil courts and the entitlement of litigants to rely upon that participation are fundamental rights which have existed at least since the early 19th century.

Today I also received a letter from the Director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Michael Hogan. That letter states in part:
    The proposals if enacted would seriously undermine a fundamental civil right of citizens in this State, the right to trial by jury.
    We do not believe that the problems of delay and cost are legitimate reasons for further eroding the right to jury trials. Both problems ought to be dealt with through adequate resourcing of the justice system and further procedural reform. Indeed, many alternative ideas have been canvassed here and in other jurisdictions for reform, including as to how jury trials could operate more effectively and efficiently. It has not been demonstrated that these have been sufficiently explored, or tried and found wanting.
    These alternatives surely should be more seriously addressed before the drastic step proposed is sanctioned by parliament. At the very least, this investigation should be undertaken by a parliamentary committee.
    The right to trial by jury has its origin in Magna Carta, and for nearly a thousand years has been an indispensable hallmark of the British and our own legal system. It is a bulwark for responsiveness, accountability and democratic participation in our justice system.

Late this afternoon I received yet another faxed message from Slater & Gordon, barristers and solicitors, whose head office is in Melbourne. The letter states:

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    I am a solicitor in the law firm of Slater & Gordon, the largest national plaintiff law firm in Australia.
    I became aware today that there is currently a bill before the New South Wales Parliament, Courts Legislation (Civil Procedure) Amendment Bill, which proposed to abolish the rights of civil litigants in this state to have their cases heard by juries.
    I urge you to oppose the passage of this bill.
    It is imperative that the rights of individuals in this state who have suffered injury and damage through no fault of their own be entitled to trial by jury.
    Time and time again, jury verdicts have been shown to resolve many outstanding conflicts between the litigating parties, with a corresponding saving in time and costs for all parties.

The writer continues:
    Civil jury trials have been a part of the social and legal fabric of this state for over 150 years.

This is quite a lengthy letter and I will not put all of it on the record, but the writer gives an example. I am quite certain that the firm of Slater & Gordon is well known to the Hon. Elaine Nile, to Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile and to the Hon. Franca Arena because of the work it has done on behalf of medical victims of AIDS. The writer states:
    An example of such litigation is the recent settlement of all cases in NSW on behalf of victims of medically acquired AIDS.
    This followed 5 years of litigation by Slater & Gordon. We were only required to run one case, known as "PQ", to verdict. All other cases did not proceed to trial.
    The Plaintiff was successful in the case of "PQ". This case was heard before a jury. There was no appeal from the verdict. On the strength of this successful jury verdict all other persons with medically acquired AIDS in Australia have now received compensation.
    Slater & Gordon commenced to run litigation on behalf of NSW victims of medically acquired AIDS in 1992. We requested jury trials in all such matters. All such matters settled without the need to proceed to trial. The fact that we had demanded jury trials in all such cases was crucial to the defendants parties' decision to settle these claims out of court and give the victims just compensation.
    A further example of the power of jury verdicts is the Wittenoom asbestos litigation which was also run by Slater & Gordon. The first case which proceeded in Western Australia by judge alone did not succeed . . . Trial by jury is not available in Western Australia. The second trial proceeded in Victoria. This case was known Rabenalt. It proceeded with trial by jury. The jury returned a verdict in favour of the Plaintiff and for the first time in Australian legal history awarded punitive damages against a defendant (in this case, CSR).
    As a result of such jury verdict, CSR and its lawyers came to the negotiating table and eighteen months later, over 400 victims of asbestos-related disease had received compensation.
    Slater & Gordon also acts for two women who were infected with HIV through surgery in November 1989. On 18 April, 1994, one of the women, known as "ST" made application for her case to be heard quickly as her condition was deteriorating. She had requested trial by jury. The solicitors for the surgeon made application to dispense with the jury arguing that members of the community were not capable of making a judgment about what had happened to these women. Justice Finlay of the Supreme Court of NSW held that "ST" was entitled to have her case heard by jury and that juries had time and again shown themselves to be dedicated and most capable of making decisions based on the facts of the case.
    If the bill currently before the NSW Parliament becomes law, these women and many other victims will no longer have the right to trial by jury.

I cannot understand the actions of the Attorney General in seeking to introduce this legislation once again as part of a raft of legal bills that he is determined to proceed with, even though he knows he is going against public opinion and against the expert advice of the legal profession in this State. He is also going against the civil right of victims in the cases I have just described. Because of those views, as well as the letter from Slater & Gordon, and concern raised in this Chamber time and again by Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile and the Hon. Elaine Nile about people who have acquired AIDS through medical procedures, I suggest that they should think about those people and oppose the legislation. If there are other cases of people acquiring AIDS through medical procedures and those people do not have the right to trial by jury, they will suffer because of the legislation that the Government is now proposing to introduce. I oppose the legislation most strenuously.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [11.27]: The objects of the Crimes Legislation (Civil Procedure) Amendment Bill are:
    (a) to provide that civil proceedings in the Supreme and District Courts are to be tried without a jury unless:
    • the court orders that the proceedings (or any issues of fact in the proceedings) should be tried with a jury in the interests of justice; or
    • the proceedings arise from a cause of action based on fraud, defamation, malicious prosecution or false imprisonment; and
    (b) to give a court that has discharged a jury in civil proceedings the ability to determine issues of fact (in addition to issues of law) if the parties agree.

Call to Australia agrees with the intention of the Attorney General to have his department produce legislation designed to streamline the court system, and to reduce court delays and legal costs. Call to Australia has always supported the Government in those measures. However, some submissions made caused us serous concerns about the implications of this bill for the provision of justice in this State. Call to Australia has had discussions with representatives of a number of organisations and has received the following submission dated 10 May from the President of the New South Wales Bar Association, Mr M. H. Tobias of Queen's Counsel:
    Dear Reverend Nile,
    Re: Courts Legislation (Civil Procedure) Amendment Bill 1994
    I wish to confirm that the Bar Council is opposed to those provisions in the abovementioned Bill which further restrict the right to trial before a Civil Jury.
    The involvement of citizens in Civil Jury Trials constitutes an important element in our legal system, because it directly involves the community in the administration of Justice.

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    As you are aware, the present Bill is in a similar form to proposals which were defeated in 1990 and 1991. No new material has been brought forward in support of the present Bill, and the Council remains opposed to the Legislation for the reasons previously expressed in relation to the earlier Bills.
    Unfortunately the Association had no warning of the introduction of the Bill and has not yet had time to formulate a detailed response to it.
    I anticipate forwarding a more detailed response shortly.

Since that time we have had discussions with Mr G. Barry Hall, Q.C., who has presented us with a detailed submission of 16 pages which covers many of the arguments for the legislation that have been raised in the House and gives responses. The Bar Association has informed me by telephone that it accepts Mr Hall's presentation and outline of the reasons members of the Bar are opposed to the bill. I note that for the purpose of this debate. We have received also a letter from Slater & Gordon, barristers and solicitors of 562 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, who have offices in other States. We have had a great deal of contact with that company. Slater & Gordon drafted our private member's bill dealing with compensation for victims of medically acquired AIDS through blood transfusions and blood products. That signifies the close co-operation we have had with that company over many years.

Call to Australia has had contact also with a number of persons who acquired AIDS through medical procedures. Some of those people have since died and others are extremely ill at present. I refer specifically to Lorraine Cibilik, who is possibly close to death; she is no longer allowed to communicate with people by telephone or to have visitors, and to me that indicates she must be in a very sorry state. Other members have met that lovely lady. She was involved in a car accident in which she almost died and her daughter was killed. She had to have a number of blood transfusions during 1983-84, and it was subsequently found that some of those transfusions were contaminated with the AIDS virus and she became infected. She has been very brave, and remains brave, but her physical condition is now most serious.

We have had a great deal of contact with Slater & Gordon. Sometimes people have a cynical attitude to lawyers and legal companies. So far as I am aware Slater & Gordon offered to represent these AIDS victims for no charge. It was prepared to take a risk. If it lost the cases, there would be no payment. I assume that if there were a successful outcome, part of the costs would be paid by the organisation that had been sued for compensation - the Red Cross or the public hospital system. I understand that the company had a sincere desire to assist these people. It has worked closely with them for a number of years in various States and progressively has achieved a great deal of success in Western Australia, Victoria and ultimately in New South Wales for those that I still regard to be innocent AIDS victims.

The company sent me a letter dated 11 May, and I had discussions with two of its representatives during the dinner adjournment this evening. They raised issues that were not obvious to me from the original material we have received about this bill. I was of the view that the bill related mostly to industrial accidents, but in correspondence with me Slater & Gordon raised the special cases that need to be heard by juries - cases in the public interest that will set a precedent. The company has had many obstacles put in its way in its endeavours to have jury trials. Jury trials have never been offered; the company has had to fight and argue, push and shove to get them. Part of the battle was to have cases determined by juries so that the evidence could be heard and finally a verdict given or a settlement proposed. This has been a frustrating exercise for the company, which has undertaken hundreds of cases involving innocent AIDS victims as well as other matters, such as asbestos cases, in the various States. In a letter written by Anne-Maree Farrell, she said:
    I am a solicitor in the law firm of Slater & Gordon, the largest national plaintiff law firm in Australia.
    I became aware today that there is currently a bill before the New South Wales Parliament, Courts Legislation (Civil Procedure) Amendment Bill, which proposes to abolish the rights of civil litigants in this state to have their cases heard by juries.
    I urge you to oppose the passage of this bill.
    It is imperative that the rights of individuals in this state who have suffered injury and damage through no fault of their own be entitled to trial by jury.
    Time and time again, jury verdicts have been shown to resolve many outstanding conflicts between the litigating parties, with a corresponding saving in time and costs for all parties.
    Civil jury trials have been a part of the social and legal fabric of this state for over 150 years. Abolition of the right to trial by jury in civil matters in this state should not be undertaken because the government may claim (without supporting evidence) that it would be more administratively efficient to do so.
    What we are dealing with if this bill is made law in this state is the abolition of a basic fundamental right of individuals in this state.
    The verdict of the jury is a decision by members of the community as to what are appropriate and reasonable standards in our community. The power to make decisions about what are and are not appropriate standards within our community should not be within the exclusive domain of judges. Jurors bring the collective experience of the wider community into their deliberations.
    Slater & Gordon has a history of running successful litigation on behalf of individuals who have suffered injury and damage.
    An example of such litigation is the recent settlement of all cases in NSW on behalf of victims of medically acquired AIDS. Now every victim in Australia (over 430 cases) has now received compensation for this national tragedy.
    This followed 5 years of litigation by Slater & Gordon. We were only required to run one case, known as "PQ", to verdict. All other cases did not proceed to trial.
    The Plaintiff was successful in the case of "PQ". This case was heard before a jury. There was no appeal from the verdict. On the strength of this successful jury verdict all other cases for persons in Australia with medically acquired AIDS have now received compensation.

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    Slater & Gordon commenced to run litigation on behalf of NSW victims of medically acquired AIDS in 1992. We requested jury trials in all such matters. All such matters settled without the need to proceed to trial. The fact that we had demanded jury trials in all such cases was crucial to the defendant parties' decision to settle these claims out of court and give the victims just compensation.

That was the section of the letter dealing with persons with medically acquired AIDS. The other major area in which the company has been involved, and it is an important one, was dealt with as follows:
    A further example of the power of jury verdicts is the Wittenoom asbestos litigation which was also run by Slater & Gordon. The first case which proceeded in Western Australia by judge alone did not succeed at first instance. Trial by jury is not available in Western Australia. The second trial proceeded in Victoria. This case was known as Rabenalt. It proceeded with trial by jury. The jury returned a verdict in favour of the Plaintiff and for the first time in Australian legal history awarded punitive damages against a defendant (in this case, CSR).
    As a result of such jury verdict, CSR and its lawyers came to the negotiating table and eighteen months later, over 400 victims of asbestos related disease had received compensation.

The third important area related to a recent case in which HIV was transmitted in a doctor's surgery through some means still not known. In this regard the letter states:
    Slater & Gordon also acts for two of the women who were infected with HIV through surgery in November 1989. On 18 April 1994, one of the women, known as "ST" made application for her case to be heard quickly as her condition was deteriorating. She had requested trial by jury. The solicitors for the surgeon made application to dispense with the jury arguing that members of the community were not capable of making a judgment about what had happened to these women. Justice Finlay of the Supreme Court of NSW held that "ST" was entitled to have her case heard by jury and that juries had time and again shown themselves to be dedicated and most capable of making decisions based on the facts of the case.
    If the bill currently before the NSW Parliament becomes law, these women and many other injured victims will no longer have the right to trial by jury.
    I would very much like to have the opportunity of meeting with you to urgently discuss this matter.
    I may be contacted as follows . . .

In discussions with Anne-Maree Farrell and another senior representative of Slater and Gordon convincing arguments were put to me about these special cases. I do not know whether the Government realises that this bill could place obstacles in the way of sensitive and perhaps trend-setting cases. Representatives of Slater and Gordon said to me, "Who knows what other types of cases like this are around the corner". In proceedings involving other modern drugs, pollution, the effects of smoking and passive smoking, and so on, juries should be required to hear the facts and make decisions.

Sometimes judges, consciously or unconsciously, protect the system and scale down a case because a particular verdict may have a bearing on other cases. That should not be a factor exercising a judge's mind; it certainly would not be in the minds of jurors. Jurors would weigh up facts and make a decision on the cases as presented, without considering the ramifications for other cases. Judges may not be ideal persons to make decisions in such unique cases, especially when further cases may have to be heard. At present proceedings are on foot with regard to silicone breast implants. In the future claims may be lodged about contraceptive methods used by women that could be cancer causing. Evidence may come to light that suggests that some cancers are caused by a specific factor, and that may result in women being entitled to compensation from drug companies, gynaecologists or other doctors who tendered advice.

This is a serious matter. Call to Australia is impressed with the arguments - in person and in correspondence - of Slater and Gordon. We have conveyed this information to the Attorney General because we have not been able to come up with a simple solution. We ask the Attorney General whether it is possible to amend the bill to separate what may be machinery type cases from other important public interest cases. If that is not possible, we would have strong reservations about supporting the bill. It may be that some amendments will meet this need. I ask that the Government adjourn the debate to allow time for further debate on new information that has come to light. That information was not common knowledge during earlier debate on the legislation and it should be taken into account.

It is disappointing that the New South Wales Bar Association stated in its letter that it had not received any warning about the introduction of the bill. Consultation should be had with interested parties, such as the Law Society and the Bar Association, when legislation affecting the operations of those organisations is to be introduced. This would avert a similar flood of material and detailed submissions - often requiring considerable effort by Queen's Counsel - being put forward to oppose the legislation. It is to be hoped that amendments will resolve these issues so that the legislation will attract wider support.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [10.50], in reply: I thank honourable members for their contributions to debate. It is regrettable that the Labor Party and the Australian Democrats are opposed to the bill. Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile raised what might be described as special public interest cases. It was always my intention that such special public interest cases would be dealt with by way of application to a judge to allow for jury trial. I have taken on board the matters raised by the honourable member. I will not conclude my second reading remarks in relation to matters of special public interest until I have received detailed advice from my department on how issues raised by the honourable member can be addressed - whether they are addressed by the bill or can be better addressed. If the legislation needs to be amended in that regard, it will be. This is not the first time such a measure has been introduced in an endeavour to deal with civil juries. The issue was originally raised by my predecessor, the Hon. John Dowd, in a
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discussion paper on civil procedure issued in December 1989. The present proposal is the embodiment of option one in that discussion paper.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile: It was in Hansard all those years.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: Yes. It is worth while noting the position taken by the Law Society at that time. I read from a letter of that society dated 26 February 1990:
    The Law Society has in the past been opposed to the elimination of jury trials in civil cases. A jury trial is a yardstick which allows judges to gauge the community's perception as to the quantum of damages which it considers appropriate. The right to trial by jury is one of the most hallowed of rights recognised by the law, and society has always hitherto opposed further limitations on that right. As a progressive organisation, the Law Society has over the years changed its views, taking account of changing circumstances. As jury trials are costly and as they contribute to court delays, the Law Society has come to the reluctant conclusion that it is a luxury that the community can no longer afford. Having considered the various alternatives proposed in the discussion paper the Law Society supports the first recommendation contained on page 61 . . . with one important exception -

The Law Society deals with that exception, which is embodied in the bill. The purpose of the measure is to deal with abuses of the jury trial system. Tomorrow I will outline the extent of those abuses of process, as manifested in recently available research, by defendants - mainly insurance companies. The Opposition has opposed the measure, which is aimed at giving benefits to injured workers and others in the community. The Labor Party has done a complete U-turn on this issue from the view taken by the former Labor Government, which was adopted by the Hon. R. D. Dyer in this House and by the Hon. Terry Sheahan in the other House when he was Attorney General. On 16 September 1987 the Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill and the District Court (Amendment) Bill were introduced in the lower House. The Labor Party proposed to introduce a limited scheme for the abolition of juries. The Hon. Terry Sheahan when introducing the bills in the other place spoke about abuses of the system. He spoke of abuse by insurers defending mesothelioma cases and how they were deliberately delaying legislation in the hope that plaintiffs would die before their cases were heard. At page 13658 of Hansard the Hon. Terry Sheahan is reported as saying:
    As I have already explained, the courts of New South Wales are alone in not having a broad discretion to dispense with civil juries where that would be in the interest of justice, so his Honour's request is entirely reasonable. There are quite a few cases pending in the Supreme Court's jury list in which plaintiffs are suffering from asbestosis or similar fatal diseases where life expectancy is very short. In those cases, the choice by defendants of trial by jury is seriously hampering the courts' ability to get cases on before plaintiffs are either unable to withstand the rigours of a court hearing, or in extreme cases, before plaintiffs actually die.

Later in that debate Mr Petersen, who at that stage had left the Labor Party, spoke about how the system can be abused. The Hon. Terry Sheahan in his reply to the debate approved those comments. Mr Petersen said:
    I support the principle that judges may dispense with the use of juries in civil cases. In the case of Peck v. Email a plaintiff who suffered from mesothelioma was, quite bluntly, being delayed by the insurance company on the ghoulish ground that the insurance company hoped he would die before the case came to court. When I was investigating the abolition of the common law proposed by the workers' compensation legislation, which this Government to its shame introduced and passed through the House in May, over and again I heard the suggestion made by members of the legal profession that one of the problems with delays in dealing with common law cases was the necessity to proceed with a jury. Not being a lawyer I was puzzled by that. I had always preferred a jury to a bureaucracy. When a case is heard by a judge sitting alone it is not necessary for there to be a recapitulation of all the evidence, as it is if a case is heard by judge and jury. With a judge sitting alone, documentary evidence can be presented, and the case will usually revolve around legal argument about one or two points. There is not the added difficulty of the jury having to make a decision about the facts. A solicitor told me of a case that was delayed for three years and took four hearing days. A judge sitting alone could have decided that case in about one hour. Frankly, that is how the case should have been heard.

He supported limited dispensation of juries in that case.

The Hon. R. D. Dyer: You are arguing from a particular instance to a general conclusion.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I will give the honourable member lots of particular instances. I will give a review.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Minister will address the Chair.

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: In that debate the member for Lane Cove, the shadow attorney general at that time, supported limited abolition of access to juries. What Mr Dowd had to say on that occasion reflects the extent to which the Labor Party is now being influenced. Mr Dowd said, in effect, that whilst the proposals were being supported by the Law Society, the Bar Association was again resisting reform. Today the Bar Association is still resisting reform. The association has resisted every legal reform that has been before the Parliament in the past 12 to 18 months. That is the association's problem, but I ask honourable members to bear that fact in mind when they are deliberating on these issues. The Hon. Terry Sheahan, in his reply on that occasion, said:
    The honourable member for Lane Cove led in the debate for the Opposition. I was interested to hear him publicly disagree with the Bar's attitude on this legislation. I appreciate his fair mindedness in that regard. I remember practising in a relevant jurisdiction at a time when there was major controversy about the abolition of juries in motor vehicle accidents. I accept the argument put this evening by the honourable member for Illawarra to obtain a speedy result with fairness commensurate with the quality of the Bench and the prospect of appeal in cases of inadequacy rather than take the chance with a jury and the delay such a trial would involve.

At that time the Labor Party was prepared to dispense with juries for the reasons put forward.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: What was the Liberal Party doing?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: It supported the proposals at that stage. It is interesting to reflect what the Hon. R. D. Dyer said at that time. He said:

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    The Hon. Sir Adrian Solomons and the Minister had explained to the House that a particular problem has arisen regarding that some defendants had taken a somewhat ruthless course in requesting a jury under their existing rights before the trial occurs. That is an abuse that is sought to be cured by the amendment before the House. . . . It does seem to me to be proper that a judge should have a fairly wide discretion to dispense with a jury.

He went on to say:
    It is often said, including by the Opposition, and I do not complain about that, that justice delayed is justice denied. It seems to me that one of the important reasons why justice is being delayed is the state of the jury list.

At that stage abuse of the system by defendants was viewed as a justifiable reason for dealing with that abuse. That abuse is still occurring.

The Hon. Elisabeth Kirkby: Where are the statistics?

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: I will give statistics for members to contemplate overnight and will return to this subject tomorrow. The Civil Justice Research Centre surveyed 1,114 court files. All the files were from cases listed in the 1992 Supreme Court special sittings. In 1992 the Supreme Court for the first time had special sittings of the court with all judges made available in order to get rid of the backlog of very old cases, some of which went back 18 or 20 years. At those sittings the Chief Justice listed for hearing approximately 1,200 cases which had been delayed in the common law list. The survey showed that in 81 per cent of personal injury industrial cases a jury was requested. Of those cases, 94 per cent of requests came from the defendant insurer. In personal injury motor vehicle accident cases - by that stage juries had largely been abolished in motor vehicle accident cases - 9 per cent requested a jury. Of that 9 per cent, 91 per cent were requested by the defendant insurer.

A jury was requested in 53 per cent of the other personal injury cases. Seventy-four per cent was requested by the defendant insurer. In other tort cases 37 per cent requested a jury, and 45 per cent of the defendants requested a jury. Out of the total of 1,114 court cases surveyed, in 68 per cent a jury was requested, but on 89 percent of occasions a jury was requested by the defendant insurer. Tomorrow I shall pass some observations on why that might be. As I have said, the system is being abused by the defendant insurers. That is one of the reasons why honourable members should be pursuing this abolition. The Labor Party is not standing up for the individual; it is standing up for big business and the defendant. The Labor Party does not recognise the rights of individuals. It did in 1987, and that makes me wonder why - if it is not just for sheer politics - it has changed its stance in 1994. I shall continue to address these issues tomorrow.

Debate adjourned on motion by the Hon. J. P. Hannaford.

ADJOURNMENT

The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD (Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [12.3 a.m.]: I move:
    That this House do now adjourn.
WARRINGAH COUNCIL DUAL OCCUPANCY POLICY

The Hon. DOROTHY ISAKSEN [12.3 a.m.]: Yesterday I asked the Minister for Planning and Minister for Housing a question regarding an application for a 12-month moratorium on dual occupancies for Warringah Council. I was disappointed that the Minister seemed to be more concerned that two out of nine members of Warringah Council were members of the Australian Labor Party than he was interested in addressing the issue. The Labor Party has not yet endorsed candidates for either Manly or Wakehurst. Dual occupancy has become an extremely contentious issue in Warringah and, from what the Minister said yesterday, a contentious issue in many other local government areas, including neighbouring Manly and Pittwater.

Warringah Council has endorsed the objectives of the "Sydney Future" strategy and already approved sites for medium-density development, such as the land adjoining the Spastic Centre at Allambie Heights, the former Dainsford Retirement Centre site on Forest Way, Belrose, and land adjoining Forest High School. The council supports good quality medium-density housing. I was delighted last year to be present when the Department of Housing was awarded a prize by Warringah Council for excellence of design and construction of units in South Creek Road, Dee Why West. There are many examples of attractive environmentally sensitive townhouses and villas, but it is dual occupancies - the extensions and additions and the added storey - that are causing the problems. The council feels that it has little power under the present laws to refuse applications.

Warringah Council has approved 747 dual occupancies in the past five years. There were 87 approvals in 1988, progressing to 247 in 1993. The developers are moving in and exploiting the situation, and the fear is that we will have a re-run of the problems of the three-storey walk-ups of the 1960s, which got out of control. We want quality development, not inferior development. Warringah Council has been reviewing its local environmental plan since December 1992. It is the first time that Warringah Council has done a comprehensive study of planning throughout Warringah. It will take about 12 months to complete. It does not want a rushed housing strategy to solve a short-term problem. Protest meetings are being held all over the district.

The Minister is aware of the transport, sewerage and stormwater problems we have in Warringah. I am sure the Minister is aware of the sensitive areas around the lagoon and the escarpment on the coastal strip. There have been restrictions on land releases over recent years because of those sensitive areas, but dual occupancies are getting around this surreptitiously. A very concerned resident from Harbord phoned me last week regarding a proposed dual occupancy in his tiny cul-de-sac. He was told that the council would have a problem refusing the application. He was also advised it would cost him about $10,000 in legal fees should the residents appeal.

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Harbord has an abundance of units and townhouses. So has Dee Why - a densely populated area - and Collaroy and Narrabeen. Warringah needs fresh breathing space to devise a new local environmental plan. I believe the Minister has a good grasp of his portfolio and has shown courage and leadership in other circumstances. The decision of the council to apply for a 12-month moratorium was carried by seven votes to two. The two councillors who voted against the moratorium were members of the Liberal Party, but I assure the Minister that five of the seven who voted for the moratorium were not members of the Labor Party. I urge the Minister to take his political blinkers off, ignore the paranoia of the honourable member for Wakehurst, do what is best for the people of Warringah and grant the council's request for a 12-month moratorium without delay.

BOWRAL-GOULBURN RAIL SERVICES

The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY [12.6 a.m.]: I wish to place on the public record a letter I received from a constituent who lives in Wingello. He has sent me a letter that he wrote to the Minister for Transport in these terms:
    I am extremely concerned that rumours circulating in the Southern Highlands regarding termination of rail services and their replacement by buses for the villages between Bowral and Goulburn, said to commence in June, are true.
    On March 11, I 'phoned the Southern Line Manager's Office in Bowral to be told they had no information regarding proposed changes. I was advised that the Manager was not available that day . . . and that he would 'phone me back as soon as possible. I have not received that call.
    As all previous rumours have proven to be correct, I must presume that this rumour (originating from State Rail employees - guards and station staff) is also correct.
    I find it a strange state of affairs when those whose job it is to liaise with the public appear to know less about proposed changes than "on the job" rail employees!
    The proposal would appear to be illogical and untenable for the following reasons:
    1. Residents of the villages, which are currently growing (in my street alone, 6 new subdivisions this year), would receive, at a time when much publicity is being given to improved services in our region, a sub-standard service, while residents of nearby towns would receive a substantially up-graded service.
    2. Trains would continue to run through the villages necessitating a duplication of existing services and, rather obviously, greater Government expenses, not less.
    3. Both economic and environmental factors suggest that rail services are superior to road services - at a time when so much emphasis is placed on environmental factors, I find it incomprehensible that more is not being done to attract every rail passenger possible, let alone consider duplicating existing services.
    4. When buses do occasionally replace trains, the buses normally run late - drivers advise this is caused by the extra distances they must travel to service those rail stations not close to main arterial roads - i.e. still greater expense and time disruptions and wastage for all passengers.
    5. In the past, bus drivers have advised that they did not have the right to sell or check tickets. This both added to the delays while intending passengers returned to stations to buy tickets or provided free travel to those prepared to take advantage of the fact.
    6. Many older people and those with young children find the toilet facilities on trains a necessity on all longer journeys; travel on buses without toilet facilities, on infrequent country timetables, would cause great inconvenience to all passengers and, for some, make all travel impossible.
    . . .
    8. Already the change at Campbelltown on many City to Goulburn services, especially when this involves often unforeseeable changes of platform, is limiting the ability of older residents to make any but essential trips to or from the city. Buses will possibly compound this problem with the potential necessity of changing not only at Campbelltown but at other stations as well, most of which involve considerable walking often with steep stairs - and no protection in poor weather. It is worth pointing out that not all buses used in the past have had heating, and our winters are quite cold.
    9. Since the extension of City Rail services to Goulburn, fares have fallen dramatically for all stations south of Moss Vale and timetables have become almost 100% reliable. It is interesting to note that a single bus trip from Bowral to Moss Vale is currently $2.85 (Berrima Coaches) - the same train journey costs $1.80; before City Rail was extended to Goulburn a return rail trip from Wingello to Bowral cost $7.80 - it now costs $3.40.
    Should the rumoured change to buses eventuate, I cannot help but feel it would suffer the same fate as did the "economic rationalism" of the local rail-parcel service . . .
    I have just been informed that the new trains running on these longer country journeys have a bar facility but NO TOILET FACILITY. Can this be true?

The writer also points out that it is now impossible for him to use the trains because:
    (1) On current timetables, a day-time shopping trip to Moss Vale or Bowral [from Wingello] by public transport takes 6+ hours.
    (2) A trip to Goulburn allows a maximum of 1 hour & 12 minutes between trains, with arrival back at Wingello at 3.55 p.m. As I teach music at home, starting at 3.30 p.m., I cannot usually make that trip - & as Goulburn has the only local music shop, all my musical needs must now be ordered, "sight unseen", from catalogues by phone or mail.

[Time expired.]

CURL CURL LAGOON WIDENING

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES [12.11 a.m.]: One of my constituents who lives near the lagoon at Curl Curl brought to my attention the fact that Warringah Council is proposing to widen the lagoon and the creek, which will disturb tens of thousands of tonnes of highly polluted mud. I should like to bring this matter to the attention of the Minister for the Environment to ensure that the Environment Protection Authority investigates this proposal before there is an ecological disaster in the lagoon at Curl Curl and on the beach area. It is proposed to dump the mud near the beach. I am concerned about the council doing that because the area was used as a landfill site for many years. I actually dumped landfill there when I was a resident of Manly. If the council goes ahead with its plan the toxic waste, including batteries, that will be found will cause a disaster. I ask the Minister for the Environment to contact the Environment Protection Authority and ensure that the matter is thoroughly studied before it becomes a reality.
House adjourned at 12.12 a.m., Thursday.