BY JARROD MELMETH
The state opposition and the cross bench are pushing for a return to parliament accusing the government of trying to avoid scrutiny.
On Monday it was revealed the return of sitting in the Upper House has been delayed until next week to give health officials times to review the COVID safety plan.
The President of the Legislative Council Matthew Mason Cox wanted the chamber to sit but the government decided Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries would not take part, triggering the sitting to be cancelled.
The Legislative Assembly has not sat since June 24 after Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall tested positive for COVID-19 which sent parliament house into lockdown.
Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper says of all the industries which are considered essential, parliament should be one of them.
“We know that there are lot of people out there doing jobs because they work in job that are considered to be essential. That includes in transport, logistics, retail, supermarkets, our health providers and in our hospitals. Their still out there doing it but, parliament is not essential?
“I certainly believe that the parliament isn’t something that should be an optional thing, a good thing to have when times are good. It’s actually essential when times are tough as well because we can’t just set aside the responsibilities of the parliament and representative democracy and, just say we’re going to leave it to the executive government,” Mr Piper said.
There are some concerns around the passage of important Bills, including the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill which was due to be introduced into the Parliament in August.
Mr Piper is in favour of Voluntary Assisted Dying and has been a staunch supporter of the Bill and says its frustrating for people who will continue to suffer at the hands of terminal illnesses because the parliament is not sitting.
“We had certainly hoped that we would be having the Bill introduced and debated in October and hopefully we could have had this matter completed before the end of the year.
“It cannot just be pushed back year after year. It won’t go away. People are demanding that the NSW Parliament moves into the modern times, just as so many people are doing now in other jurisdictions,” Mr Piper said.