Queensland parliament to push through laws in fiery final week.
Campbell Newman speaks during question time in the Queensland Parliament. Photo: Glenn Hunt
For some, it could be considered the most wonderful time of the year – the final parliamentary sitting week.
Next week, the 54th Queensland parliament sits for the last time this year and will not return until February 11.
But, like most of the sittings this year, it promises to be a fiery one.
The government plans on pushing through at least four bills – pending a final decision from Cabinet on Monday – before parliament breaks, including its industrial relations reforms.
The proposed legislation will change how unions can bargain with employers, alters strike action and makes it an offence for union fees to be deducted from an employee’s pay.
Senior health officers will also be moved to individual contracts and commissioners with the Queensland Industrial Relations Court will only be appointed on fixed contracts, predicted to be no longer than a year.
A “huge” protest has been planned by the unions for outside parliament on Tuesday, with the bill expected to pass just six weeks after it was first introduced.
Also on the agenda – the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Act, which will officially extend sandmining on the island to 2035, superseding a Bligh-government move to end the practice by 2019.
Amendments to the liquor licensing act are also expected to be passed, which include removing the requirement for licensees to keep a Responsible Service of Alcohol register as well as removing the regulatory requirements for gaming machine licence applications.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has also indicated he will move to amend the government’s new anti-association laws, to close a loophole which allows criminal motorcycle gang members who have formally resigned from their club, to escape prosecution under the legislation.
Premier Campbell Newman has also said he would like to see changes to the electoral act passed, following a government review of the issue earlier this year.
“Oh, there’ll be amendments to the laws, as I just said, in terms of the criminal gangs,” he said.
“There’s other legislation that’s already coming through the production line and I would hope to see also the electoral act amendments that the Green Paper was out earlier on this year on coming through as well. But that depends on Cabinets deliberations this week.”
Annastacia Palaszczuk said it would be a week of “fireworks”.
But most members are just looking forward to a break.
Parliament has passed close to 60 acts this year over the 13 sitting weeks, which equates to 40 days.
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