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Red Chamber Dispatch

This week in the Legislative Council

Since my last newsletter I have made regional visits to the Hammond SEC AGM and the Mount Gambier Branch. I thank them for inviting me to be their guest speaker and their hospitality.

In Adelaide I have had the pleasure of attending the AGMs of the Boothby FEC, the Bonython Branch & Elizabeth-Taylor-Ramsay SEC and the Wright SEC. I thank the Hartley Business Forum and King SEC for asking me to provide an update on life in the Legislative Council.

The Council received a message from the House of Assembly advising that the lower house had accepted the Council’s amendments to the Statutes Amendment (Child Exploitation and Encrypted Material) BillThe amendments confine the powers of police to compel a person to provide access to password protected materials to circumstances where it is suspected that there have been child exploitation offenses.

The Council admitted a messenger from Government House. The message advised the following Bills had been assented to by his Excellency the Governor:

This sitting week, Question Time was dominated by questions to the Treasurer on the Government’s land tax package. The reforms seek to lower the total revenue collected by land tax and provide a more equitable tax system by closing loopholes to minimise tax avoidance.

The Legislative Council was asked by the House of Assembly to abandon its amendments to the Education and Children’s Services BillThe Bill represents the most significant reform to education legislation in over 40 years. 

The Opposition and cross bench agreed not to insist on their amendments which provide for an Education Ombudsman. The Minister for Education will commission a review into the South Australian Ombudsman’s powers to investigate decisions made by South Australian schools and their complaints processes. Honourable members insisted on their remaining amendments to the Bill. The issue between the Houses on the Bill will now be resolved in a deadlock conference. 

The Council commenced its consideration of the Statutes Amendment (Mineral Resources) BillThe Bill seeks to reform mining governance in South Australia.

Honourable members debated the Landscape South Australia BillThis Bill aims to reduce costs for land owners and improve natural resource management. The new scheme seeks to place local communities at the heart of natural resource management.

The Chamber voted down the Local Government (Rate Oversight) Amendment BillThe Bill sought to cap local government rate increases and in turn reduce the cost of living for South Australians. All the cross bench joined the Opposition to vote against the Bill at the conclusion of the second reading debate.

The ministers in the Chamber have been released by the Council to appear before the estimates committees of the lower house. The House of Assembly’s Estimates Committees allow its members ask questions of the executive on the Budget.

To learn more about the legislation currently before the Chamber, please click on the title to view a summary of each Bill and links to further detail.

If you have any questions regarding the business of the Legislative Council, please do not hesitate to contact my office on (08) 8237 9182.

Regards,

President of the Legislative Council

With Nevin Lamont, Malcolm Jennings, Diana Wiseman, James Freemantle, Neil Howard, Ben Hood (Vice-President), Roger Saunders (President) at the Mount Gambier Branch Meeting.