Sittings of the NSW Legislative Assembly have been postponed until September 7, which means the Clarence Catchment Alliance’s petition, due to be debated on Thursday August 5, is also delayed.
Speaker Jonathan O’Dea advised lower house members that “pursuant to Sessional Order 47A, I have agreed to a written request from the Premier, on behalf of the government, for the postponement of the August sitting dates in the public interest, based on advice from NSW Health”.
“I have further agreed to the Government’s alternative sitting date, being 7 September 2021,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has confirmed that she has lodged the petition.
“As a former federal member for Page, who previously represented Clarence residents, I was happy to oblige by lodging the petition on behalf of them,” Ms Saffin said.
“It is a community I know very well and have great affection for.”
Previously, Ballina-based Member of the Legislative Council Catherine Cusack was going to lodge the petition in the upper house, however, alliance coordinator Shea Fleming said the switch was made to the lower house because, “in the upper house a notice of motion would have to be lodged, which means there is no guarantee it would be debated”.
When the 10,000-signature petition eventually makes it to the lower house, debate will be conducted on a motion, “that the House take note of the petition”.
“At the conclusion of the debate, the House votes on the motion,” states A Short Guide to Procedures of the Legislative Assembly.
“Debates on 10,000 signature petitions take place at 4pm on Thursdays, with 30 minutes being allocated to the debate.
“In the course of each debate a Minister is required to provide a 3-minute response to the terms of the petition.”
The government’s petition web page states, “Up to six members can speak on the petition … although there may be extra speakers by leave of the House.
“The first Member speaking also receives an additional two minutes in reply.
One of the speakers is a Minister, who has three minutes to provide a response during the debate.”