New Liberal Leadership
Echo 4 April 02
I trust everyone enjoyed a happy and safe Easter break. I return to
Parliament next week, however I can always be contacted by telephoning my
electorate office on 6621 3624.
New Liberal Leadership
I have extended my congratulations to John Brogden as the new leader of the
Liberal Party. I pay tribute to Kerry Chikarovski and Barry O'Farrell for their
untiring commitment over the past three years in their respective roles as
Parliamentary Liberal Leader and Deputy. We will move forward as a united
Coalition to provide a viable alternative to the voters of NSW. The National
Party will continue to effectively represent rural and regional NSW on issues
such as crime and safety, education, health and natural resource management. I
am looking forward to meeting with Mr Brogden to reinforce the future needs of
the Lismore electorate, of which he is already familiar with as I have had the
pleasure of him visiting the area on two previous occasions.
I am inviting nominations for the award of a Centenary Medal. The award is to be
coordinated by Members of Parliament and nominations will be submitted by the
NSW Government, to the Commonwealth for the award of the Centenary of Federation
Medal. The medal will commemorate the contribution made to the Federation of
Australia, and to Australian society and government. The medal will be part of
the Australian Honours system and can be worn with ribbon on the left breast
with other medals. Closing date is Wednesday 17 April 2002, for further details
please do not hesitate to contact my office.
Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers met in Canberra recently to discuss
the issue of public liability insurance. This is a vital issue, and one that, if
not addressed, threatens the very fabric of country Australia. Already many
festivals and events in country NSW have had to be cancelled or postponed.
The Ministers agreed to:
Federal legislation to improve the tax position of insurance payouts made over
several years, rather than in a lump sum;
Change the Trade Practices Act so people can waive their rights to sue, and to
limit the damages payable when people contribute to their own injuries;
States to encourage group insurance buying by community organisations;
Insurance industry to share information on risks and claims experiences, and
be more innovative with policies;
The Federal Government to report on financial position of insurance companies
following the HIH collapse.
The Ministers have agreed to meet again in May.
The National Party Taskforce on Public Liability prepared a submission to the
Summit convened by Senator Coonan, which included the following proposals:
An exemption for volunteers and community groups from civil negligence
The introduction of a threshold and a cap in relation to damages payments;
Various technical measures to reduce the size of damages payments;
Abolition of advertising for "no win/no pay" legal services;
Improvements to pre-trial negotiations to maximise settlement opportunities.
Further measures in the proposal include the broader use of disclaimers in small
business, reductions in stamp duty on insurance premiums and the development of
codes of practice.
I am hopeful the issue can be effectively addressed sooner rather than later.
Ministerial Visit - Richard Face
Minister for Gaming and Racing, Richard Face met last week with Club, Hotel and
Race Industry representatives. It is pleasing to welcome Ministers to the
electorate and provide local organisations with an opportunity to meet their
Minister, raise issues and concerns.
Royal Easter Show
I was honoured to be part of the National Party team that hosted a morning tea
and a tour of Parliament House for this year's finalists for the Royal Easter
Show Miss Showgirl and the Rural Achievers Award. Country NSW can be very proud
of our representative, Monique Amor. These finalists are our ambassadors who
help raise the motivation of young people and make a contribution to the
advancement of country communities. Furthermore, I was pleased to attend the
Young Auctioneers Competition and to see local auctioneer, Innes Fahey from
Grafton, judged as the Australian Young Auctioneer.
I have undertaken my first commitment as member of the Staysafe Committee in
inspecting railway level crossings and accompanying transport portfolio
officials this week. This opportunity will enable me to reinforce local and
rural concerns of similar scenarios.