Policy Committee Motions

Below are motions from the NSW ALP Policy Committees which are currently Left priorities for State Conference. If you support these motions, please pass them through your local branch. If you've got any questions, contact George Simon on secretary@nswleft.com

Education Committee Motions

Early Childhood wage disparity

Motion: That section 5.8 of the NSW Labor platform be amended to include the following:

NSW Labor believes that early childhood teachers and educators are professionals whose work is worthy of recognition through accreditation with teaching authorities and through professional wages which are consistent with the wages of other teachers and educators. 

Scripture in School

Motion: That section 5.1 of the NSW Labor platform be amended to include the following:

NSW Labor believes that faith can play an important role in the lives of children. NSW Labor believes that volunteer run scripture classes in NSW public schools shall be held outside of classroom teaching time to ensure classroom time is focused on syllabus content. 

Overfunded schools

Motion: That in section 5.15 of the NSW Labor platform the following underlined paragraph be inserted:

5.16 NSW Labor will continue to support non government schools through the provision of financial assistance on a needs basis. 

NSW Labor will support the closing of 'grandfathered' provisions in school funding agreements which sees some independent schools over-funded based on the current formula. NSW Labor recognises that needs based funding relies on all schools being held to the same high standards of public accountability.

NSW Labor will retain TAFE as a state based institution and will strenuously oppose any proposed takeover of TAFE by federal governments. NSW Labor will work with Federal Labor to ensure that relevant authorities such as ASQA, ACCC and the Ombudsman are resources adequately to ensure that there is a comprehensive program of regular auditing of all private providers. NSW Labor will guarantee a sufficient proportion of its budget is allocated to public TAFE colleges to enable them to compete with private providers on an equitable basis.

A Healthy Society Committee Motion

Safe Access Zones for Reproductive Health Clinics

Background:

Women in NSW are subject to harassment and intimidation by protestors when attempting to access health clinics that provide abortion and other reproductive health services.

Protestors congregate outside clinics where abortions are performed pushing brochures at people with graphic and offensive images, taking photos and video, blocking entry to clinics, calling women "child murderers" and threatening dire and ill-founded medical, spiritual and psychological consequences if they enter the clinic.

This problem can be a one off issue or for some clinics it is a daily occurrence.

The current laws do not afford women seeking these services the privacy and dignity they deserve when seeking access to reproductive health services.

Labor Governments in three Australian jurisdictions - Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT have introduced “safe access zones” around abortion clinics. These zones involve a 150m zone and allow women the ability to access these services free from harassment and with their privacy protected.

Labor MLC, Penny Sharpe currently has a bill that has been endorsed by the State Parliamentary Labor Party that if passed will create safe access zones at clinics in NSW.

Suggested motion for branches to pass:

That this branch supports:

1. the right of women to enter all health facilities free from harassment and in a way that preserves their dignity and privacy

2. the creation of 150m safe access zones for reproductive health clinics where abortions are performed

The branch supports the State Parliamentary Labor Party’s bill to create safe access zones for women and staff at reproductive health clinics in NSW.

Industrial Relations Committee Motion

Restoring the right to strike

This Branch recognises the struggle against inequality is at the core of the Labor project.

The decision of the Fair Work Commission to reduce Sunday penalty rates in the retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy industries represents an attack on the lowest paid and most vulnerable workers. This decision will result in a direct transfer from wages to profits that will only exacerbate the growth of income inequality. The decision is symptomatic of the current imbalance in the legislative arrangements in favour of employers.

This Branch recognises that wages growth is at a record low and that boosting demand in the economy requires strong wages growth.  Wages growth depends on a strong safety net based on the cost of living and the ability of workers to bargain for pay increases. To bargain effectively workers must have an unfettered right to withdraw their labour. We recognise the relationship between workers and their employer is one of unequal power and that restrictions on exercising the right to strike shift the balance of power in workplaces further in favour of the employer.

The right to strike is a fundamental human right, being central to the right to form trade unions and collectively bargaining (ILO Conventions 87 & 98).

This branch calls on the next Federal Labor Government to legislate to remove all impediments to exercising the right to strike in all Commonwealth legislation including:

  • Removal of restrictions on the capacity to bargain and strike across industries such as the prohibition on pattern bargaining and secondary boycotts;

  • Removal of restrictions on when industrial action can be taken;

  • Removal of restrictions on what constitutes industrial action;

  • Removal of requirements for notice of industrial action and for the holding of protected action ballots;

  • Removal of the prohibitions on strike pay; and

  • Removal of restrictions on the content of collective agreements.

Restoring the right to strike in Australian labour law is an essential step in ensuring soaring business profits are shared with workers, instead of siphoned off to the 1%.

Labor for Refugees Motion

MANUS ISLAND AND NAURU


Given the decision by the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court and the PNG Government’s decision to close Manus Island, NSW Labor calls on Shayne Neumann, Bill Shorten and the Federal Parliamentary Caucus, to support:


-the immediate closure of Nauru and Manus Island Detention Centres;
-the immediate transfer of all refugees and asylum seekers from Nauru and Manus Island to the Australian mainland, for fair processing under Australian law, with those who are ill to be immediately medivacked to Australia; and
-the resettlement of the confirmed refugees from these camps in Australia, Canada or New Zealand after attempting to reunite families that have been separated.


Further, we request that a Shorten Labor Government seek meaningful negotiations with the Indonesian, Malaysian and other appropriate governments in order to combat the people smuggling trade; and with the New Zealand Government in relation to their offer to resettle refugees currently at Manus Island and Nauru.

Sustainable Communities Motions

Rental rights

Amendment to 1.23 (changes underlined):

NSW Labor believes that tenants in private rental should live in safe, secure, quality housing and will encourage an adequate supply of appropriate and affordable private rental housing across NSW. NSW Labor supports residential tenancy legislation that:

  • adequately protects the rights of all private tenants;
  • removes no-grounds evictions;
  • prohibits punitive and discriminatory practices, including rent bidding,by landlords; and
  • disallows "no pets" clauses.

This includes those residing in boarding houses, hostels, retirement villages, caravan parks and relocatable homes.

Rationale:

Currently our tenancy laws lag significantly behind those of other countries in providing tenants with protections against

 punitive or discriminatory landlords. In one area in particular we do not have world class regulation:

  • No-cause evictions: Once a tenant’s lease has gone past this initial 6-12 month period,
  • tenants can be evicted with no reason given. This creates a difficult power imbalance, where landlords can (and, according to the Tenants Union of NSW, regularly do) unlawfully demand things of tenants, threatening to evict them if they don’t comply.

Removing the ‘no cause’ eviction option for landlords, while at the same time increasing the number of legitimate reasons a landlord could evict a tenant, will bring balance back to the tenant/landlord relationship – and ensure that more people live in safe and secure housing in NSW.

Inclusionary Zoning

Motion to NSW State Conference:

NSW Labor calls on the State Parliamentary Labor Party to adopt a policy of Inclusionary Zoning, with specific percentages of social and affordable housing in all new development across NSW.

This policy should include a requirement that every new residential development on private land that is zoned residential larger than ten dwellings has 15% social and/or affordable housing from 2019, increased incrementally to 40% by 2037. Additionally, new development on Government-owned land that is zoned residential over ten dwellings will require 50% social and/or affordable housing from 2019.

New section in the platform:

NSW Labor believes social affordable housing should exist in every community, and supports inclusionary zoning to deliver on this goal. We support a requirement that every new residential development on private land includes a substantial proportion of social and affordable housing, to be owned by social and community housing providers. This proportion will increase over time. NSW Labor will use government owned land to help deliver more social and affordable housing where appropriate.

Rationale:

While Sydney has seen enormous economic success over the past few decades, it has become one of the top two most unaffordable cities in the world. Prices across Sydney for homes are rising at a near-unbelievable rate of 15% per year, while wage rises struggle to keep up with inflation. The NSW Liberals believe that increasing the supply of new homes is the only way to bring down prices. in reality, while increasing supply is useful, alone it will never dampen the growth of house prices. Despite the Liberal’s obsessive commitment to trickle-down economics, no city has ever, in recorded history, seen house prices drop because of an increase in supply.

Many other global cities, however, are dealing with the same housing affordability pressures.  Most are successfully dealing with it by providing a significant amount of social and affordable housing through an ‘inclusionary zoning’ requirement on new development. For example, London’s conservative mayor, Boris Johnson, required a minimum on 30% social and affordable housing any time a new development of private housing is being built. Amsterdam, New York and San Francisco similarly require significant portions of new housing be put aside for low-medium income people. By developing an inclusionary zoning policy for NSW, we will simply be catching up to a policy that most cities we aspire Sydney to look like are already doing.

By phasing in an inclusionary zoning target, we provide the building industry (a major employer) with the opportunity to adapt their current model to deliver affordable housing. Many developers are already in favour of this process – and just want to ensure that they have enough early notice of the change.

Definitions:

Social housing refers to Public, Aboriginal and Community Housing. Affordable housing refers to housing that costs less than 30% of income for very-low, low and moderate income households, either for purchase or rent.

Live Music

Motion to NSW State Conference:

NSW Labor calls on the State Parliamentary Labor Party to adopt a policy to enact Agent of Change principles, will put the responsibility of noise mitigation on new development rather than the existing businesses and residents nearby.

Rationale:

Once these regulations are in place, established pubs and clubs will not be forced to close due to noise complaints from new neighbours.