Sunday 26 May 2024

Contact 1800 772 679

Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

Disorder In The House

Disorder In The House

Chris Minns has the lower house under control. Keeping the upper house in check is a tougher job.

The Labor Party fell a couple of seats short of a majority in the state election of 25 March 2023. However, Premier Chris Minns has the support of three independents, Joe McGirr, Alex Greenwich and Greg Piper. Mr Piper has also been nominated as Speaker of the Lower House, meaning the Minns Government does not have to sacrifice an MP to the role, giving it an extra vote on the floor.

However, in the Legislative Council, Australia’s oldest parliamentary chamber, it is a different story. The chamber serves as the state’s upper house, and all the Government’s laws need to pass through it.

The NSW upper house has 42 seats, with the current house made up of 21 “progressive members”; namely 15 Labor Party MPs and the four Greens and one politician each from the Animal Justice Party and the Legalise Cannabis Party. The latter is represented by former Greens firebrand Jeremy Buckingham.

On the conservative side, there are 10 Liberal Party MPs; five Nationals; three One Nation MPs; two from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers; and a single Liberal Democrat MP.

Mr Minns managed to give his party a single-seat advantage by appointing Nationals MP and long-time friend Ben Franklin to the role of President, who performs the same responsibilities in the upper chamber as the Speaker does in the lower house.

What does this mean for the PSA CPSU NSW?

Before the election, the union contacted the candidates and parties about their stance on issues such as the wage cap, an independent industrial umpire, and the future of privatisation. Judging by party responses, the PSA will have few issues with the Greens and Labor.

While there will be differences over the PSA CPSU NSW’s support for culling feral pests in national parks, the Animal Justice Party will be onside with most issues facing members.

“As a former Green, Jeremy Buckingham is likely to be a safe pair of hands,” said Assistant General Secretary Troy Wright.

“On the other side of the chamber, things are more complicated. Twelve years of Liberal National Party rule have proven they cannot be trusted with issues such as wages and privatisation.

“One Nation and the Shooters both supported our policies on wages and privatisation in the lead up to the March 2023 election, but they may shift right to differentiate themselves from Labor.

“The Liberal Democrat, John Ruddick, was not surveyed. However, he is a former Liberal Party member from the party’s right and, with his libertarian, small- government views, is unlikely to be a big supporter of the PSA CPSU NSW.”

Red Tape will regularly keep members updated about the way MPs in both houses vote on issues that affect them and the services they provide.

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