McKim's stately reply

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 06 Maret 2013 | 19.55

Greens MP Nick McKim outlining his party's vision to State Parliament today. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

AN edited version of Tasmanian Greens Leader Nick McKim's State of the State reply speech.

2013: A watershed year

Key progressive policies and reforms that many in the community have worked hard to achieve over many years will come to fruition:

  • We will see the first stage of the state's battery-hen ban in place from the 1st of July;
  • The ban on sow stalls in force by the 1st of July;
  • The introduction of the ban on lightweight shopping bags to be completed by the end of October;
  • The state has already transitioned to the new four-term school year designed;
  • And the overhaul of the state's energy sector will be progressing including Full Retail Contestability by January next year.
  • Vital reform and restructure of the forestry industry to put it onto a viable and sustainable footing will continue, as a work in progress; and
  • This year has also already seen Tasmania become a national trial site for the NDIS.

While these are positive policy breakthroughs, there is more to be done to keep Tasmania moving forward, to ensure we are striving to fulfil our potential as a community. We can not, and will not, be resting on our laurels.

Legislative Agenda Priorities for 2013 

  • Introduce state Fair Protection for Firefighters legislation

The Greens will prioritise introducing our own state-based Fair Protection for Firefighters legislation.

Our proposal will seek to cover Tasmania's 250+ professional and volunteer firefighters.

It is almost a full year since Greens' Emergency Services spokespeople Paul O'Halloran MP tabled a motion in this place calling for, "the swift introduction of state-based protections to ensure Tasmania's firefighters are covered by the state's workers' compensation laws for occupational cancers."

Unfortunately, it has not appeared. Following the passage of Federal legislation, which had been spear-headed by Greens MHR Adam Bandt in 2011, South Australia moved on this last year, and the Victorian Greens have introduced legislation in their state parliament.

Our firies, full-time professionals and volunteers, bravely put their lives on the line to protect us, our livelihoods and properties, over and over again. This difficult and dangerous job is made even more dangerous by regular exposure to toxic chemicals and dangerous materials like asbestos on a near-daily basis. It is time we move to provide them as comprehensive compensation and rehabilitation as we can.

Strengthening Tasmania's Democracy Package

Mr Speaker, there can be no surprise that the Greens are determined to move Tasmania's democracy forward onto a healthier and robust footing.

MPs Numbers in the House of Assembly

The first step is to restore the numbers in the House of Assembly. This is long overdue.

The Greens will bring on for debate this year our Parliamentary Reform (Restore Assembly Numbers) Bill 2012, which seeks to restore the House of Assembly numbers to 35.

Legislative Council Reform – introduce a 'suspensory veto'

The Greens will prioritise the public debate examining which model of 'suspensory veto' would be appropriate to reform the Legislative Council powers, specifically to reconcile powers with accountability.

State-based political donations disclosure regime

There is no excuse for Tasmania to still not have a state-based political disclosure scheme in place for the next state election.

We will move to introduce legislation to implement a state-based scheme, as we recognise that the Attorney-General has had a consultation process underway but this needs to be prioritised to ensure it is in place by 2014.

Our proposed legislation would provide for: timely disclosure of donations received; lowered cap for donations disclosure; full disclosure of third parties' donations; ban on tobacco and gaming donations; and provide for public funding of parties and candidates, as a transparency mechanism to remove the secrecy of behind-closed-door donations.

Other Legislative Priorities

  • Greens' Bill to introduce a $1 Bet Limit on pokies to be debated

Mr Speaker, earlier I spoke of the damage inflicted on our democracy by the cut in numbers. There is another form of severe damage that both Labor and Liberal are culpable for turning a blind eye to for far too long.

For the calendar year of 2012, Tasmanians lost the shocking amount of $199,838,383 on pokies. Almost $200 million dollars. Lost to struggling families, not going to put food on the table, nor warmth in homes, or to pay other day to day bills.

Instead we see far too often reports of 'white-collar crime', as desperate pokies addicts resort to stealing from family, friends and workplaces, to get their fix or in a vain attempt to curb spiralling debt.

No more excuses. We will seek to introduce a $1 bet limit on pokies, by bringing on for debate in the first half of this year our Gaming Control Act Amendment Bill that is currently sitting on the books. 

  • Introduce state-based container deposit legislation

Again, no more delays. It makes good economic, environmental and social sense to move Tasmania forward, and introduce a state-based container deposit scheme. No more waiting for the national level. We will table our own Bill to introduce this scheme.

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