Monday, September 13, 2010

Round the New England blogging traps 18 - mainly political

Richard Torbay paid a rather nice tribute Dr Rob Robertson-Cuninghame AO (1924-2010). Because I know that many people are interested, I am using my post UNE Passings - death of Rob Robertson-Cuninghame as an entry point to add information as I get it.

Staying with Richard Torbay, I see that he has agreed to chair a NSW Joint Parliamentary Committee to review parliamentary procedures. Because this also bears upon what is happening in the Federal Parliament, I am quoting the release in full:

Speaker Richard Torbay has welcomed the move by the Premier, Kristina Keneally, to further reform parliamentary procedures in NSW.

He said he would accept her offer to chair a Joint Select Committee on the issue and is pleased that it has the support of the Leader of the Opposition, Barry O’Farrell, and other Members.

Mr Torbay, who was appointed as an Independent Speaker in 2007, said that a number of reforms had already been put in place and Standing and Sessional Orders have been previously amended to include:
• The Legislative Assembly already reads each day the prayer and Acknowledgement of Country at the commencement of the Parliament.
• Family friendly sitting hours have been introduced and Friday sittings of parliament have been formally incorporated into the parliamentary program.
• Several changes have been made to the way Parliamentary committees operate including a requirement for the Government to Committee recommendations to report within six months
• Proceedings in the House have been streamlined by introducing the ‘consideration in detail’ stage
• Legislation in NSW has already been passed allowing the Speaker to exercise a deliberative and casting vote and allowing the Speaker to speak on the floor of the House as required.
• Re-written Standing Orders into plain English
• The Government is now required to formally respond to petitions signed by 500 or more persons.

Mr Torbay said the Premier had contacted him and asked him to consider, among other procedural matters:
• the Speaker be Independent of the government and if the Speaker is a member of the government for the Deputy Speaker to be drawn from the Opposition.
• time limits on questions and answers in Question Time and requirements for answers to be responsive to questions
• Opposition leaders be entitled to ask supplementary questions
• appropriate time be allocated to debates, member’s speeches and consideration of private members bills
• recognition of traditional owners be made at the beginning of each sitting day
• there be oversight of bills by committees
• the number of sitting weeks be set.

Mr Torbay said, “I welcome this opportunity to further improve Parliamentary Procedures and processes and I am keen to work with all Members of Parliament.

“As soon as I receive the Terms of Reference I will convene the first meeting as soon as practicable and look forward to presenting the recommendations to the Premier and Leader of the Opposition,” said Mr Torbay.

On North Coast Voices, Clarrie Rivers reported on a trip inland. The posts in order are:

In Armidale, Clarrie Rivers coincided with my column in the Armidale Express: Belshaw's World - time to repeat the new state question. I think it fair to say that CR's reaction as expressed in What's in the news in Armidale? Part 2: The New State Movement ... still! was somewhat under-whelmed.

The post attracted comments from fellow new staters, two of whom are on my blog list, Ian Mott and Peter Firminger.

In a post on his Regional States blog, The myth of new state duplication costs, Ian attacked the idea that new states must increase costs through duplication. A related argument, but not from a commenter on the NCV post, was expressed by Paul Barratt in Australian Observer: Over-governed, yes, but not in the way you think.

Peter Firminger is an environmental and community activist in the Hunter Valley dedicated to building the Wollombi and Broke communities. I often mention Peter in these round-ups because he highlights stories and ideas relevant to his area. Now in Rural Blogging he looks at a new topic, in so doing identifying general sites that I had not seen and will follow up.

I do like the way in which my fellow bloggers broaden my knowledge!

I realise that I have run out of the time allocated for this post without even having scratched the surface. Still, I will have to leave things here.   


Anonymous said...

Great round up of blogging links you have here. Thanks for doing such a post :)

Jim Belshaw said...

A belated thanks, Candy. I am in Greece at the moment and do not have proper internet connection.