Abortions to burqas: NSW's laws in waiting

NSW Parliament has already passed 16 separate bills this year, ranging from a clampdown on selling minors e-cigarettes to harsher penalties for sexual predators who abuse children.

Dozens of other would-be laws are waiting in the wings to either be adopted or thrown on the scrapheap.

Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile is by far the state's most prolific legislator, with 20 often-controversial and conservative bills awaiting debate.

They include a ban on same-sex couples adopting a child, prohibiting the possession of x-rated films and outlawing prostitution.

But he is not alone among minor parties pushing for contentious reforms.

The Christian Democrats are calling for stricter rules surrounding abortions.
The Christian Democrats are calling for stricter rules surrounding abortions. Barry Leddicoat

CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS

While the Reverend Fred Nile has proposed five separate pieces of legislation calling for stricter rules or a total ban on pregnancy terminations, the political left has chosen a different approach.

Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi is calling for protest exclusion zones around abortion clinics to stop demonstrators harassing women who end their pregnancies.

"Medical privacy is a fundamental human right, and women who are undergoing abortion services deserve that privacy," she argues.

One of Rev Nile's proposed laws would ban abortions outright.

Failing that, he has a few backup plans up his sleeve - one bill to make mothers accountable for harming their child in-utero through drugs or alcohol, and another to make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds of sex or race.

He also calls for a requirement for women seeking an abortion to be told the procedure may cause pain to the child and to be counselled and shown an ultrasound of the foetus before the operation.

Other Christian Democrats bills would ban advertising alcohol, gambling and sex services, as well as the wearing of burqas or other full-face coverings in public.

Further bills include greater powers to force drug addicts into rehabilitation, the shut-down of a legal injection centre in Sydney and a ban on publishing material that incites or promotes terrorism or other violence.

The Greens want an exception to double jeopardy rules to allow a retrial of the chief suspect in the murder of three Aboriginal children in Bowraville.
The Greens want an exception to double jeopardy rules to allow a retrial of the chief suspect in the murder of three Aboriginal children in Bowraville. Marc Stapelberg

THE GREENS

Their politics could not be further removed from those of the Christian Democrats, but the Greens have no shortage of law reforms they want to see enacted.

They want shark fins banned from sale for food, a prohibition on caged chickens and "inappropriate" pig accommodation on farms, and the introduction of a bottle and can deposit scheme similar to that of South Australia.

Greens MP David Shoebridge has called for paying for organ transplants overseas to be outlawed and tough penalties for those who break the proposed law.

"At its worst, organ harvesting can see people killed to order, with one person's life being deliberately taken to save another," he said.

Some of the party's proposed bills are almost certain to fail under the current government - from a shut-down of coal and fossil-fuel-fired power stations by 2030, to a total and immediate ban on coal seam gas operations and the prohibition of greyhound betting and racing.

A more promising bill calls for an exception to double jeopardy rules where previously inadmissible evidence becomes admissible in major crimes.

The bill was tailor-made to allow the retrial of the chief suspect in the murder of three Aboriginal children in Bowraville between 1990 and 1991.

It arose from a parliamentary inquiry into the murders, which unanimously found the double jeopardy laws should be broadened.

TAFE staffing and resources would be guaranteed and the government's Smart and Skilled competitive training market would be shut down under another bill.

The Greens have also called for non-parole periods for child sexual offences to be in line with the sentencing practices at the time of the guilty verdict, rather than at the time the abuse was committed.

A final bill would ban sniffer dogs from public transport, festivals, bars and Kings Cross unless police have been issued a search warrant.

Shooters and Fishers party is pushing for the establishment of a recreational fishing authority.
Shooters and Fishers party is pushing for the establishment of a recreational fishing authority.

SHOOTERS AND FISHERS

Upper House MPs Robert Borsak and Robert Brown have introduced a swathe of bills aimed at loosening gun and hunting laws across the state.

They have called for the repeal of stricter firearm licensing rules, including the requirement for bullets only to be sold to a buyer who is the registered owner of a gun that takes the ammunition in question, and the requirement for firearms dealers to keep records of ammunition sales.

The duo is also pushing for the establishment of a recreational fishing authority to give fishers control of licence fees, rather than leaving it to the discretion of the minister.

The proposed statutory authority would be similar in structure to the Game Council NSW, which was disbanded in 2013 after a review found it to lack "some of the skills, tools and resources to ensure effective compliance with its regulatory framework".

One of the party's 10 bills calls for the reversal of transfers of wide tracts of forestry to national park estates, while another seeks to legalise hunting in those national parks.

Mr Brown has also drafted legislation to allow the creation of dedicated private hunting reserves or game parks through amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and other laws.

The proposed law has succeeded in getting an audience with the Coalition Cabinet, amid accusations from the Greens of back-room deals.

Premier Mike Baird said the government would consider the bill "in line with standard practice" just days after the Shooters and Fishers voted against a Greens bill to ban CSG.

The party has flatly denied Greens suspicions the vote was meant to curry favour with the government.

Stamping out cruelty against animals is high on the Animal Justice Party's 'to do' list.
Stamping out cruelty against animals is high on the Animal Justice Party's 'to do' list.

ANIMAL JUSTICE PARTY

The newest and smallest of the state's minor parties has only one bill before parliament, unsurprisingly dealing with the welfare of animals.

Mark Pearson, the party's sole MP, has sought to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 to tighten welfare restrictions on abattoirs and intensive livestock-keeping facilities.

The current act mandates that animals must not be kept in confined spaces without exercise - except for stock animals other than horses and animals which are "usually kept in captivity by means of a cage".

Mr Pearson has spoken of former protests during which he chained himself to pigs' cages in piggeries and "liberated" piglets.

- APN NEWSDESK



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