We’ve just finished a very busy two weeks of Parliament - and we’ve only got a few more weeks of Parliament sitting for the year - so I wanted to share with you all the things we've been up to.
Renters’ rights are at the top of our agenda, and this sitting we introduced our bill to finally put an end to unfair, no grounds evictions.
Right now, too many renters don’t know where they’ll be living from year to year, or even month to month, because at the end of their lease they can be evicted for no reason even if they’ve met all of their responsibilities and paid all of their rent on time.
It is seriously stressful, seriously costly, and driving the out of control cost of rent. Our bill would set out the reasonable grounds that an eviction could occur, and would make a massive practical difference to the two million renters in NSW.
We also co-hosted a briefing for MPs to hear about the Healthy Homes for Renters campaign, with Minister Dominello, Opposition Energy spokesperson Jihad Dihab MP and Independent Alex Greenwich MP.
Speakers from Better Renting, Sweltering Cities and the Tenants Union outlined how renters are shivering in winter, sweltering summer, and too stressed to ask for basic repairs or negotiate rent costs because of the threat of being evicted.
There’s so much we need to do to strengthen renters’ rights, which is why we want to hear from you - or anyone you know who has been hit with a rent hike or unfair eviction - so we can keep up the pressure on politicians.
This week the Liberal/National Government moved to rush through two significant pieces of legislation - without proper consultation or consideration of concerns by experts.
The bill to criminalise coercive control passed the Lower House, despite the women’s safety and family violence sector and victim-survivors unanimously expressing their serious concerns.
Criminalising coercive control is a hugely important, and hugely consequential, reform. But it has to be done right or it has the potential to harm the very people that it was designed to protect.
Domestic violence victim-survivors, frontline workers and experts have been urging the government to slow down and consult properly, rather than trying to ram it through Parliament in the eleventh hour before the election. And Abigail Boyd, my Greens colleague in the Upper House, has secured an inquiry into the legislation that will hopefully achieve just that.
The Liberal/National Government also rammed through their bill to introduce land tax with the expectation that it would just be voted through within the week in the dying days of this parliamentary term.
While the Greens support a widespread, planned transition from stamp duty to land tax, this is not a blanket support that means we’ll back in anything dressed up as an attempt to transition us from stamp duty to land tax.
The government’s proposal does not genuinely ensure a transition from stamp duty to land tax, it does not apply to the big wealthy investors, and it does not even keep pace with land values. Instead it is a half-baked reform to allow first home buyers to pay their stamp duty in instalments.
The Greens have again secured an inquiry into this proposed reform, and will work to strengthen it before it becomes law.
It was shameful to see Labor and the Liberal/National Government teaming up to back online gambling corporations and oppose a ban on gambling advertisements.
The Greens and Independent MPs were the only people in Parliament to vote to reduce the harm gambling causes to our communities. Both the Coalition and NSW Labor have a history of accepting donations from organisations with links to gambling - remember who sits in the pockets of the gambling industry!
When reports emerged that the NSW Government refused UN inspectors access to NSW prisons, we took it straight to the floor of Parliament and asked the Premier: what is the NSW Liberal/National Government hiding in NSW prisons that they so desperately do not want the United Nations to see?
NSW is the only jurisdiction in Australia blocking the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment access to prisons.
Given the failures of the NSW Government to implement the full recommendations from the Royal Commission's Deaths in Custody report and its track record of mistreating people in prison, it is deeply disturbing that they think they are above the scrutiny of the UN torture watchdog.
But that’s not all. We also acknowledged the protest movement in Iran taking to the streets to demand for a life free from the patriarchy and oppression, co-hosted an event with the Parliamentary Friends of Co-Operatives, attended Homelessness NSW’s Ending Homelessness Together launch, and stood with taxi drivers who were protesting outside Parliament for fair compensation.
Remember, we can always raise issues that are concerning our community in Parliament – so don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything we can do!