8 May 2020
The NSW Labor Opposition will push for regular sittings of both Houses to resume as soon as possible, even by late this month, when parliament convenes for a brief emergency session next Tuesday.
The Berejiklian Government has rejected in writing Labor’s requests for Parliament to return to regular, scheduled sittings.
It has called a truncated single day sitting next week but at that sitting will not hold Question Time – a key element of the democratic foundations of the NSW Parliament.
It has also refused to provide the legislation it will be introducing, despite repeated written requests from Labor to do so.
And it has failed to bring forward important building legislation reforms, even though the broad scope of those measures has already been agreed to.
“Under cover of the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, the Berejiklian Government has managed to avoid the usual scrutiny of Parliament,” Labor leader in the Legislative Council Adam Searle MLC said.
“The Premier tells us it is safe for our children and their teachers to return to school and for other workers to begin returning to more normal work patterns.
“Our retail and health workers have continued with their duties all along.
“It is time for the Parliament to resume proper and full scrutiny of the government – not just legislation but the full range of government activities” — Adam Searle MLC, Labor leader in the Legislative Council
Ryan Park MP, manager of Opposition Business in the Legislative Assembly, said: “This government thinks it is safe for the NRL to resume training. Well, it should also be good enough for the elected representatives of the community to be able to hold the government of the day to account.
“The Opposition has been responsible during this period and provided bipartisan support where appropriate, but it now time for Parliament to resume regular sittings.
“If the Berejiklian Government seeks cooperation across the Parliament, it must do the same and be upfront and provide legislation in enough time for it to be considered. Otherwise it cannot expect it to be just waived through.”