Thursday, 27 February 2014

Liberal cuts to Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick a huge community concern.

Ron Hoenig MP and Michael Daley MP receiving the petition at the NSW Parliament

This week together with my colleagues, Shadow Treasurer and Maroubra MP, Michael Daley MP and 

Shadow Minister for Health Dr Andrew McDonald MP we were presented with a 10,000 signature petition demanding the Liberals reverse their savage cuts to Prince of Wales Hospital.

The message from extremely concerned doctors, nurses, hospital workers, and patients is loud and clear.


This great hospital that services my electorate is really suffering as staff struggle to maintain the quality health care they provide. The petition will be required to be debated in parliament in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Opening of Law Term Service at The Great Synagogue, Sydney

Ron Hoenig MP & Justice Stephen Rothman AM
I was delighted to recently join the legal community for the 2014 Law Term Service and Dinner at the Great Synagogue in Sydney.

Keynote speaker, The Honourable James Allsop, Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia and The Honourable Tom Bathurst, Chief Justice of New South Wales were joined by other senior members of the judiciary, barristers and solicitors in formally marking the beginning of 2014 sittings.

Such occasions are a helpful and poignant start to the year.

Chief Justice Allsop spoke passionately of the need for civility and reason both within the law and in how community and government interact with it. The Chief Justice reminded the service that civility is at the heart of the law:

“ [whilst] judges should be open to criticism. It should not, however, be too much to ask for that criticism to be reasoned and civil, and not take the form of personal attack.”

Whilst never political, His Honour rightly borrowed the facts of current concerns to express a genuine concern for the judiciary collectively.

Comments directed, often personally at our judicial officers these past months have not only lacked the ‘civility’ and dignity' we should expect but constituted an unprecedented ill-informed attack on the judicial arm of government.

It is with regret that  this would be his last Law Term Service with Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence as Senior Rabbi at The Great Synagogue.

I want to offer my congratulations to Rabbi Laurence upon his appointment at Senior Rabbi at London’s Finchley (Kinloss) Synagogue. Rabbi Lawrence's warmth will be missed – not only at the Great Synagogue, but across the wider community. I wish him every success across the seas.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Kingsford Mobile Office

Residents talking to their local member Ron Hoenig MP at Fitzpatrick Park, Kingsford


Thank you to the Kingsford and Kensington residents who came to along to my mobile office at Fitzpatrick Park on the corner of Eastern Avenue and Day Avenue, to talk about the issues that effect our community.

Light Rail on Anzac Parade, Urban Activation, Container Deposit legislation, the parking nightmare and traffic in the area were some of the many issues raised by by residents. 

The issue that residents were most angry about was the O'Farrell governments Urban Activation Precincts that propose buildings up to 20 stories in Kingsford and Kensington. Residents know that roads, school, public transport and Prince of Wales Hospitals are at capacity now.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Redfern - Waterloo Public Housing tenants living in squalor and fear

The conditions that my constituents living in public housing in Redfern and Waterloo is scandalous. This is the second time in as many months that A Current Affair's TV Cameras have exposed the squalor and fear that my constituents have to face through continued inaction by the NSW government.

Most of my constituents are over 50 and as ACA points out many are living in public housing through no fault of their own.

I am very grateful Channel 9 and A Current Affair who have again shined a light on the "forgotten people".

There is often criticism by the commentariat of programs like ACA. I can personally vouch for the accuracy of the story and can assure you it is a balanced report. Don't take my word for it. Watch the report and make your own assessment. You will no doubt ask yourself how in modern Australia can any government allow this disgrace to continue. http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article/8799683/seniors-living-in-public-housing-prison

Jewish Changemaker Awards

Cr Tony Kay, Cr Leon Goltsman, Cr Jeff Zulman, Isabelle Shapiro, Ron Hoenig MP, Bruce Notley-Smith MP
It was a real honour to represent Opposition Leader John Robertson at the Jewish Changemakers Awards Ceremony in Bondi this afternoon.  

B'nai B'rith, Hilel and JNF Australia have partnered to recognise young Jewish men and women who give so much of themselves to many worthy causes, not just in Australia, but around the world.  Each recipient has made a difference to the lives of so many others .

As Rachel Fitman the Hillel Director  pointed out; "The threads of passion, creativity and innovation woven throughout the stories of our nominees, captures the essence of the spirit that drives our community. Our nominees have each dared to depart from the status quo, to create ripples of change and serve as ambassadors for the change they wish to see in the world."

Standing in the room with these amazing young men and women and hearing their stories and learning about the impact they have had on individuals and communities was a real honour.  That so many young people are willing to lend a hand to make a difference gives all in the community faith in the future and in our younger generation.  

Just to give you an idea of the type of achievement and work being done by the younger generation, one guest speaker Genna Radnan, only 22 years of age, on leaving the Emmanuel School went to live in a rural community in Kenya to work as a volunteer. Genna was so moved by the level of poverty she utilised all her skills to implement and assist in enhancing the quality of life for the local people by developing projects that targeted health and education. Establishing Gennarosity Abroad she continues to raise funds for projects located in rural communities along the Rift Valley region of Kenya

So many nominees from around Australia. So much achievement, it was a honour to be amongst some of the most wonderful young people. 

Celebrating our Diversity during International Mother Language Day


 Ron Hoenig MP with some of the guests and performers at the International Mother Language Day celebration
I joined the team at South East Neighbourhood Centre, Eastlakes, to celebrate UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day at BKK Shopping Centre.

International Mother Language Day commemorates the shooting of student protestors on  21 February 1952, fighting for the recognition of their native Bengali language.

Today was a celebration of our community’s rich cultural diversity. Gaston recited a Spanish poem from the Chilean Nobel Laureate, Pablo Neruda. Mimi taught us some words in her native Bahasa, the language of Indonesia. Shuvra sang a special song about language in Bengali. Whilst the ladies from South Sydney Community Aid entertained the crowds by singing a song and performing a traditional Chinese dance.
Thank you to South East Neighbourhood Centre for showcasing the wealth that comes from embracing our cultural diversity.

Kensington Mobile Office

 Rosemary & Geraldine speaking to me about their concerns about Light Rail 
Thank you to the Kensington residents who came out to my mobile office at the corner of Anzac Parade and Todman Avenue, to share with me the issues that effect our community.


Light Rail on Anzac Parade was the one issue raised by many residents. In particular, residents were not happy with the lack of consultation afforded to them by the O’Farrell Government, during the project’s planning process suspecting that there was an ulterior motive behind the move.

The issue that residents were most concerned about was Urban Activation Precincts and how a number of 20 story buildings would just destroy their community. Standing at this corner imagining buildings 20 story skyscrapers is just unimaginable.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Visit to International House - University of New South Wales

Rona Wade, College Master Robert Lundy, Ron Hoenig MP & Cr. Tony Bowen
Today I had the pleasure of meeting the Master of International House Robert Lundy, board member and former student Rona Wade who took me and Cr. Tony Bowen from Randwick City Council, for a tour inside the "hallowed halls" of International House at the University of NSW.

International House is a residential college, providing affordable accommodation to senior undergraduate and post graduate students. It was established by the Rotary Club of Australia in 1968, to promote understanding between young people from different cultures. It has residents from over 80 countries including Australia.

Their mission "is to promote experiential learning, personal growth and cross understanding between students drawn from different educational, social and tunic backgrounds." Over the years it has been home to many local and international students, who, through their shared experiences of living and studying together at UNSW, have helped to foster an understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Over the years International House has become synonymous with the University’s international reputation for quality education. Particularly in South East Asia, where the majority of its alumni come from.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Lift to be built for Redfern Railway Station

In a great win for the local community the Transport Minister announced that a lift would be built to Refern Station platforms 6 and 7, making the station accessible to customers in wheelchairs and parents with prams.

This was one of the first issues the community asked me to take up for them on my election to parliament. 12000 people signed a petition to parliament prior to my election. Inspecting the Redfern Railway Station with community representatives it was pretty clear to me that one of the busiest stations in New South Wales made it virtually impossible for people in wheelchairs to access trains at this station and extremely difficult for parents with prams and the elderly.

Redfern Railway Station is 150 years old with narrow platforms which made providing disabled access quite a challenge. As community representatives put to me quite reasonably; disabled access is only requested so a train from Redfern to Central can be accessible, where access can then freely be obtained to other trains on the network.12000 residents had collected a petition to the parliament prior to my election

The Minister for Transport confirmed on Friday the go-ahead for the lift as party of the Transport Access Program. The preferred option has been selected which will see a lift installed to platform 6 and 7 that allows customers to access frequent services into the city.  This platform also provides access to the busy inner west line which services busy centres such as Newtown, Burwood and Strathfield.

The minister said there is considerable planning work being undertaken at the moment which involves examining the future of this important precinct and the rail corridor - however lift access to Redfern is a pressing issue and that is why the government is providing a solution. I thank the minister for her responsiveness to my community on this issue.

The NSW Government also announced it is also working on lighting and fencing around the lift area to ensure it is as safe as possible passengers and a secure and modern bike cage will also be built on Lawson Street, which will provide passengers with a safe place to leave their bikes.

The project has now been handed to Transport Projects who will begin work on the implementation, including more specific designs and delivery and a construction timetable will be released once that work is completed.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Barry O'Farrell - A "Look Back" to the last 3 years

"If a picture paints a thousand words." Coined by David Gates in the 1971 song "If", Barry O'Farrell's Facebook "Look Back" video says it all. http://youtu.be/89MX-a5dab0

video

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Inspirational visit to Our Big Kitchen

Rabbi Slavin, Ron Hoenig MP, General Manager Greg Fisher
It was inspirational this week to visit Our Big Kitchen with founder and director Rabbi Dovid Slavin. 

Our Big Kitchen is a non-denominational organisation which opens its doors to people from various backgrounds including prison inmates on day release, businesses looking for team building exercises and volunteers wishing to give their time to help others. 

During times of natural disaster, including the recent floods and bushfires, Our Big Kitchen has provided countless food packages for those helping to assist in the disasters and for those rebuilding their lives. Volunteers come from far and wide to lend a helping hand in the kitchen to support people in need, those going through difficult times, or those who may need assistance in getting started. 

I was thrilled to learn of the programs run by Rabbi Slavin at Our Big Kitchen, The passion Rabbi Slavin and his wife Laya have for the community is clear. Through Our Big Kitchen they have assisted in the rehabilitation of many prisoners and given them a second chance at life, something that often isn’t a popular topic to talk about.

Not only was the food and coffee wonderful, the spirit of the people giving of their time was inspiring and heart-warming. 

I was pleased to see participants learning vital culinary skills and about separate food areas in the kitchen in preparation of kosher meals. It is a great way of giving Jews and Non-Jews alike a community awareness of Kashrut or kosher cooking processes. 

Learning of the stories of Rabbi Slavin and his team bringing the community together to assist people in times of crisis is at the centre of what is so good about Our Big Kitchen. I was thoroughly impressed with Rabbi Slavin’s work ethic and dedication to simply helping others – whether through big scale projects like assisting people in times of natural disaster or nurturing individuals wanting a fresh start in life. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Rainbow Lodge at Glebe - an impressive organisation with impressive results

I recently visited Rainbow Lodge at Glebe and was so impressed with their work. Rainbow Lodge is a community based Supported Accommodation Program that assists long term prison inmates on their release from prison integrate back into the community.

Rainbow Lodge programs include: accommodation, case management, personal development planning sessions, on-site counselling, ongoing support for a period of 18-20 months and more.

The success rate of their programs over many years is just remarkable. They have fine-tuned their program so that it now provides the best possible specialist service to medium-high and high-risk males. When one looks at the recidivism rates in this state and you look at an organisation like Rainbow Lodge their achievements are astonishing.

In my inaugural speech to parliament shortly after my election I said:
"Rehabilitation is not just for the benefit of those incarcerated; it is also for the benefit of our society"

Rainbow Lodge is a community based organization that receives 90% of their funding from the Department of Corrective Services and 10% from the Department of Community Services. As a result of internal bureaucratic reorganization the funding from the Department of Community Services is seriously at risk. We are talking about an amount of $60,000. Failing to fund Rainbow Lodge for that amount will result in the organisation no longer being able to provide vital outreach services to the men who have left the lodge, the day programs which provide the men with a sense of purpose will have to be scrapped and dedicated staff will have to take pay cuts.

What is ironical, in actual fact is, if just one of the men who attend Rainbow Lodge slip through the cracks after they leave the Lodge and return to gaol because outreach services were unavailable, the cost of that one man’s presence in gaol will be greater than what Rainbow Lodge requires to maintain funding from the Department of Community Servces.

I have written to the minister and asked for her urgent intervention. It is organisations like Rainbow Lodge that quietly go about doing such great work and make such a significant contribution not just to the individuals they help, but the whole of society.

Out and about at Eastlakes with Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Matt Thistlethwaite MP & Ron Hoenig MP talking to local business owners
It was great to be out and about with our Federal Member for Kingsford Smith, Matt Thistlethwaite MP at Eastlakes Shopping Centre meeting local residents and talking with local businesses. Many people are just too busy during the week to visit our electorate offices, and so it is a great opportunity to listen to our residents concerns or just join them in a coffee. If you like turkish coffee you will not get better than at Eastlakes Shopping Centre.

It is not only residents that are concerned with that disgraceful overdevelopment that is proposed for Eastlakes Shopping Centre. Local businesses who face an uncertain future whilst the local council is before the court to try and stop it from proceeding. 

Business's want to know if this disaster proceeds; how long will the shopping centre be closed for during the construction of all these apartment building to be built above the shopping centre? Will they be able to return when the shopping centre is completed? All legitimate questions.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

John Robertson - O'Farrell can't do lockouts without late night trains

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has called on the O’Farrell Government to implement Labor’s policy and introduce late-night trains from Kings Cross to Town Hall and Central – and explore adding late-night services across the CityRail network on Friday and Saturday nights – as a key measure to reduce alcohol fuelled violence.

Mr Robertson said Labor committed to introduce late night train services from Kings Cross as part of its Drink Smart, Home Safe policy announced last November – measures that the O’Farrell Government responded to last week. See 

“I am disappointed that the O’Farrell Government is stubbornly refusing to act on the advice of police and medical experts and introduce late night train services on Friday and Saturday nights,” Mr Robertson said.

“Lockouts without late night trains don’t make sense and are simply a recipe for more alcohol fuelled violence.

“If the Government is happy to cut off most alcohol sales from 3am, then it must have a plan to get people home.

“On a Friday and Saturday night, at a time when cabs are scarce, the last train out of Kings Cross leaves at 1.45am – and the next one leaves at 5.15am.

“Not implementing real transport out of Kings Cross and the CBD is a recipe for disaster.

“The Government’s failure to announce any expansion of late night trains shows how badly its package to Parliament last week was cobbled together on the run.”

Shadow Transport Minister Penny Sharpe said: “If we want to improve the quality of Sydney’s nightlife – then the Government must introduce late night train services so people can move around safely and get home.”

“The reintroduction of services between Kings Cross and Town Hall and Central needs to occur as a matter of priority.

“The Government also needs to be actively exploring late night services between the City and key points on the network.”

O'Farrell Liberal government offering foreign investors $5000 grant to purchase new homes

This is not a joke. It is not the April 1. It highlights my real concern about the competence of the O’Farrell Government.

Opposition Leader John Robertson said today it was absolutely outrageous to give overseas property investors cash handouts at a time when there are so many young couples struggling to buy their first home in NSW. 

One of the Government’s signature policies has been to cut financial assistance that was previously available to all first home buyers under Labor  – instead restricting it to first-time purchasers of new homes.

At the same time the Government is offering a $5000 grant for foreign investors and people who may already own multiple properties to purchase new homes worth up to $650,000.

The latest statistics from the Office of State Revenue show that:
  •        16,474 New Home Scheme grants of $5,000 were paid last year to foreign investors, property investors and existing home owners buying a new home or block of land; and
  •      By comparison, only 9,563 First Home Buyer grants were paid to first home buyers purchasing a new home or block of land last year.

“The O’Farrell Liberal Government is paying $5000 to overseas property investors to buy homes and land in Australia – that’s money taken straight out of the pockets of young first home buyers,” Opposition Leader John Robertson said today.

“It is unbelievable that this is happening when first home buyers can’t get into the market in NSW.

“Young couples doing the right thing and working flat-out to save for that deposit are paying the price for the O’Farrell Liberal Government’s bungling of this scheme.

“One of Barry O’Farrell’s first acts was to abolish Labor’s scheme that provided financial assistance to all first home buyers – and switch the incentives to make it easier for overseas investors to get ahead.

“Barry O’Farrell should be directing taxpayer-funded housing incentives towards NSW first home buyers.”

ABS data released in November 2013 shows that the number of first home buyers receiving loan approvals from their financial institution has fallen by 67.3 per cent since November 2011 – just before Labor’s First Home Buyers Grant scheme was cut.

By contrast, foreign investment has skyrocketed – particularly for new residential properties.

Shadow Treasurer Michael Daley said: “Where’s the fairness for people for young families trying to buy their first home?”

“The O’Farrell Government has tanked the market for local first home buyers because it’s too busy giving a leg up to overseas speculators – and people buying their second, third or tenth property.

“This is a monster of a rort and Treasurer Baird needs to stop patting himself on the back and close it off today.”

Monday, 3 February 2014

Parliament's recall by a panicked Premier a farce

The recall of parliament last week to deal urgently with legislation to stem the tide of alcohol fuelled violence descended into a farce when the Premier had to amend his own legislation in the last minute because he did not understand what he was doing.

I have written before that the NSW Liberal government does not have the intellectual ability to govern this state and this issue more than any other demonstrates my point. They could not even get their own Bill right. They were rightly criticised by the popular press. Although I disagree strongly with mandatory sentencing policy, see http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/ofarrell-has-to-change-law-after-bureaucrat-trap/story-fni0cx4q-1226814500214 

I suppose I am in good company. Tonight according to Fairfax Media the NSW Chief Justice and the State's Lieutenant Governor, Justice Tom Bathurst condemned the O'Farrell government for introducing mandatory minimum jail terms for alcohol and drug fuelled-violence http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-supreme-court-chief-justice-tom-bathurst-urges-debate-on-mandatory-sentencing-20140203-31xgp.html

I have set out my contribution in the parliament below.

Mr RON HOENIG (Heffron) [3.14 p.m.]: People are entitled to go about their lawful business without being subject to violent and unprovoked assaults. The law should treat those persons harshly and, in fact, does so. Last year in November the Opposition released quite a detailed policy to address the seemingly difficult cultural problem that existed in the city and the Kings Cross area. Drink Smart, Home Safe is Labor's planned attack on alcohol-related harm; it is not a cobbled together public relations exercise. The Leader of the Opposition and the member for Toongabbie walked the streets of Kings Cross repeatedly on Friday and Saturday nights and spoke to police officers, emergency workers and health workers in an effort to prepare some response to a situation that not only resulted in people being killed, but also impacted on the reputation of Australia's premier tourist destination and the State's economic wellbeing.

Labor's document was released in November 2013. What was the Government's response? There was no response at all. It is no secret that much expert published material was available not only in this State and country, but also overseas. Dr Peter Miller, Principal Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Violence Prevention Group, Deakin University, stated:
      While there are many causes and effective solutions to violence, acting on alcohol is the only one that can have an immediate impact.

      There are effective solutions at hand and an international framework ready to adopt.

      Closing pubs earlier has been found to consistently reduce assaults and emergency department attendances. Strict enforcement of existing licensing laws has also been found to be a key element in any successful management of alcohol-related violence. Education campaigns and vague references to personal responsibility have been found ineffective at best and, in some cases, have even been associated with an increase in harm.
The trial of lockouts in Newcastle was seemingly successful. Expert opinion indicated that action needed to be taken. But where was the government of the day? It was nowhere; it was silent. Faced with a media campaign over the Christmas period, inaction continued. As Frank Sartor said in his book, one has to be careful of media campaigns during the silly season. But this was not a popular press media campaign; it was universal and reflected widespread community concern about inaction. The Premier returned from leave and suddenly there was an announcement of a raft of actions—adopting much of what the Opposition had proposed. Mandatory sentence reforms came out of the blue, some two months after the Government had dismissed that as a non-solution.

These days it is not easy to be the leader of a government and, faced with more scrutiny by the media, it is becoming more difficult. But one thing the leader of the Government must do is accept responsibility rather than blame others or attack the Opposition for preparing a policy. The Opposition must not only hold the Government to account but also show that it is an alternative government. It is easy to blame the judiciary as if somehow it is its fault. Hearing the leader of a government under the Westminster system telling the judiciary to man up but producing absolutely no material to substantiate his position is most extraordinary.

If the Premier waited too long to act because he thought his solutions were going to work, why did he not say, "I waited too long. Maybe I should not have done so." Why did he come back from holidays and introduce a raft of reforms for which the bills are not available? I saw the mandatory sentencing legislation for the first time at 9.57 a.m. when I asked Government officers whether the eight years related to a head sentence or a non-parole period of 10 years. The answer was that it was a head sentence. Does that mean that the non-parole provisions apply? Yes. Automatically a non-parole period of three-quarters of the head sentence and special circumstances would apply. When I came into the Chamber after the caucus meeting, the Attorney General's chief of staff told me they were amending the bill. I feel guilty because I am probably the one who is responsible for the Attorney General coming into this House and increasing the mandatory sentence. I adopt the words of two eminent senior counsel who are members of this House and whose views on mandatory sentencing I respect. The member for Cronulla stated:
      ... we as legislators also have a responsibility to defend the judiciary and the judicial system and to uphold the great goals of an independent judiciary and the rule of law.

I endorse that statement entirely. The member for Cronulla also stated: 
      It may therefore be appropriate for the courts to develop sentencing guidelines or, if necessary, to do what has been done in reforming the common law of the civil law, namely legislative intervention. However, that intervention should not take the form of fixed minimum sentences or elected judges, which are a recipe for partiality, favouritism and, ultimately, corruption. There is no evidence that mandatory sentencing reduces the incidence of crimes. In fact, it reduces the incentive to plead guilty and leads to arbitrary and capricious results. Judges can sometimes get it wrong, so robust and rigorous criticism is therefore always appropriate. However, we as community leaders need to be respectful in making that criticism.

On 11 November 2013, in relation to mandatory sentences, the Attorney General stated: 
      First, around the world they have not reduced crime. That is, after mandatory sentencing, there are as many victims as before, there is as much drug trafficking or gun possession.

      Second, mandatory sentences reduce the incentive to plead guilty. This imposes additional costs on the justice system and more trauma on victims and witnesses who will have to give evidence at trial.

No right-thinking person believes that mandatory sentencing is an appropriate response, particularly under these circumstances, because it produces injustice. I had a private talk to the Attorney General in the presence of the Premier. I gave him a couple of examples and asked him to look again at his legislation in the intervening period because of the unintended serious consequences that I will not disclose to the House. I have never known a Government to act so contemptuously towards the judiciary. Judicial salaries have been interfered with as a result of legislation that the Treasurer introduced on economic grounds, despite the criticism of the Chief Justice. [Extension of time agreed to.]

Towards the end of last year, the Premier produced a remunerations report that members had not seen and, for no particular reason, moved a disallowance motion and then gagged the Opposition. He then returned from leave under pressure as a result of a media campaign. 

Mr Ray Williams: Point of order. The member for Heffron is not speaking to the motion. This is not a motion about the entitlements of the judiciary. 

ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Gareth Ward): Order! This is a take-note debate and take-note debates are generally very wide. I uphold the point of order. The member for Heffron will continue. 

Mr RON HOENIG: This year the Premier returned from leave under pressure from all media and told judges to man up which is a rather contemptuous way to refer to the judiciary. All members of this House and all members of the executive government must respect the traditions of the Westminster system and the doctrine of separation of powers. It is vital for the community to respect the judiciary—the bedrock on which our democratic system and rule of law are based. Judges sometimes get it wrong. If sentencing judges get it wrong there is an appellate process. The very issue that caused debate in this House—the matter of Loveridge—is currently pending on appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal. It has yet to be decided whether or not the sentence is manifestly inadequate. The court has before it an application by either the Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions for a guideline judgement in respect of matters of this nature.

There is no pressing reason for the Parliament to be involved. There is no pressing reason to proceed down a path that is contrary to the views and opinions of the Attorney General of this State and—up until he returned from leave—the Premier of this State. The fact of the matter is that this Government is under pressure through a media campaign of its own making. Why does it not just put up its hand up and say, "We misjudged the situation." Why does it not put up its hand and say, "We are going to try lockouts. We thought we would get through all these issues but it is not working." We all know that the terrible killings in the Kings Cross area occurred between 9.00 p.m. 10.00 p.m. The Opposition and the Government are talking about 1.30 a.m. lockouts and the cessation at 3.00 a.m. of the service of alcohol. We have to address a cultural issue but we should not blame the judiciary. 

As I said a moment ago, during my career at the bar I bristled at many of the judges' decisions but fortunately, those times were rare. There were times when I bristled at the behaviour of judges on the bench, although the judicial temperament of nearly all the judges has improved over the past decade. There have also been times when I have bristled after reading decisions of the High Court. No doubt the Premier bristled at the end of last year at the finding relating to campaign donations and things of that nature. There are many occasions on which we disagree or do not like decisions. There are many occasions when governments of the day and Premiers are attacked by the media, in particular, the popular press which at times can cause us to become annoyed or angry. For whatever purpose the State needs leadership, firmness and an appropriate response. These bills were cobbled together to respond to a media campaign rather than to ensure—

Mr Ray Williams: Why did you just vote for it? 

Mr RON HOENIG: At the end of the day, when this legislation does not work, the Government will wear its decision like a crown of thorns around its head.

The Government is running this State. The Government was supposed to come up with a solution but it never did. Those opposite should accept responsibility instead of interrupting from the opposite side of the Chamber like trained monkeys.