Red Leather #98: Pre-budget
This ebrief should be hitting your inbox just before the second O'Farrell government budget next Tuesday 12 June. I'll be doing a special budget edition of Red Leather later next week.
In the past month in state politics:
- The Government has privatised the electricity generators in a deal where support from the Shooters and Fishers party was given in exchange for allowing hunting in National Parks . This is what I had to say in the parliament.
- The Legislative Council passed a motion in favour marriage equality 22 -16. As usual, an interesting debate with unlikely supportersto be found . Next stop Canberra.
- Some bills have gone through on Biofuels and new regulations for Tattoo Parlours. For a full update check out the House in Review
Speech of the week: NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson's pre budget address
Video of the week: Flash mob in the Copenhagen Metro
PS Women Say Something is a regular speakers forum for women that originally grew out of Mardi Gras. I have been lucky enough to participate as one of the speakers. If you are in Sydney and are interested in diverse women talking about the issues of the day check it out. (There is a language warning on the video but I'm sure you can cope).
What has the NSW Opposition been up to?
The NSW Opposition released an Economic Report Card on the O'Farrell Government's first year in office showing that NSW government debt has blown out $1.9 billion or 30 per cent since March 2011, but infrastructure spending has gone down $1.5 billion.
Opposition Leader John Robertson said that Premier Barry O'Farrell could be referred to ICAC over reports that a secret agreement was reached to support an increase in entitlements for the Shooters and Fishers' Party in exchange for their support for privatisation of the state's electricity assets.
Shadow Minister for Roads, Robert Furolo said the only thing standing in the way of the completion of the Pacific Highway upgrade is Premier O'Farrell.
Opposition Leader, John Robertson called on Barry O'Farrell to establish a NSW Jobs Commission – after data confirmed the NSW unemployment rate increased last month to five per cent.
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson and Shadow Attorney General Paul Lynch said that the O'Farrell Government has reached a new low with this decision not to provide fairer compensation to asbestos victims and their families.
Opposition Leader John Robertson and Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Robert Furolo accepted a petition from Chinese student leaders condemning the recent attack on Chinese students and calling for greater government action.
What has Barry O'Farrell done now?
The Government announced today that another 10,000 workers will lose their jobs.
The O'Farrell Government will allow hunting in national parks and reintroduce duck hunting - as part of its dirty deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party to pass its electricity privatisation Bill
The O'Farrell Government has confirmed it will slash the Community Building Partnerships program by $50 million over four years – plunging charities, churches, sports clubs and community organisations across NSW into uncertainty.
The O'Farrell Government is set to cut $135,000 in vital funding for a caseworker and a clinical nurse from the Hunter Women's Centre.
What's happening in Transport?
Leader of the Opposition John Robertson and I called on the Government to start work on the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link in next week's budget – unlocking $2.1 billion in infrastructure funding for NSW.
Over the past couple of weeks the Government has announced that RailCorp will be split in two paving the way for privatisation of CountryLink and slashing 750 jobs. In Parliament, I asked for a copy of the $6.5 million consultant's report these changes were based on. The Government refused and then missed a crucial vote to stop the report being released. They are now hiding the 1200 pages of document under Cabinet in Confidence.
Reports last weekend suggest the O'Farrell government is now considering privatising the state's public buses.
The future of the Greenway corridor was debated in the Legislative Assembly last Thursday following the 10,000 signature petition collected by Canterbury state Labor MP Linda Burney and Member for Marrickville Carmel Tebbutt. Meanwhile the Government has [re]announced the Inner West Light Rail Extension will be built... 2 years after is should have been finished.
Transit officers are being removed from overnight patrols now to save money, but they won't be replaced in full until 2014 when the government's police unit is rolled out.
The Government says that quiet carriages are set to become a permanent feature on Newcastle and Central Coast Trains.
On Wednesday, I went to Strathfield Station with John Roberston and Duty MLC for Strathfield, Amanda Fazio, to meet with locals disappointed by the failure of Charles Casuscelli to deliver on the promised commuter car-park in Strathfield.
Commuters in the Hunter also missed out.
- Don't let the O'Farrell Stoner Government privatise CountryLink
- Petition calling on the O'Farrell Government not to increase public housing rents
Make sure you return originals to the Office of Penny Sharpe MLC, Parliament of NSW, Macquarie St, Sydney 2000.
Please note, I must submit originals (not faxed or scanned copies).
Rainbow Labor Network conference - next weekend
The Australian Rainbow Labor Network will be hosting its first conference in Sydney over the weekend of 16 & 17 June.
The Keynote speech will be delivered by Senator Penny Wong. Other speakers include:
- Stephen Jones MP, Member for Throsby and sponsor of the Private Member's bill to amend the Marriage Act 1961
- George Wright, National Secretary of the ALP
- Sam Dastyari, General Secretary of the ALP (NSW Branch)
- Jenny McAlister, ALP National President
- Christopher Neff, 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Repeal Campaigner
- Aram Hosie, WA Gender Project (and Rainbow Labor member)
- Gina Wilson, OII Australia
When: Saturday 16 June | 10am – 5pm and Sunday 17 June | 10am – 1pm
Where: Tom Mann Theatre, 136 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills NSW
It will be free and open to Rainbow Labor Members and supporters.
And of course, we will be having drinks and a dinner on the Saturday night.
For more info check out RainbowLabor.org or go to www.arlnconference.eventbrite.com to register. RSVPs close 9 June.