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the year in legislation (4): Retail Trading Hours Amendment Bill 2012

16 January, 2013
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Our latest review of debate from 2012 covers the Retail Trading Hours Amendment Bill 2012; a Bill from the first half in 2012, which proposed that all retail shops in the Perth metropolitan area be able to trade on Sundays (previously this was only possible in special trading precincts, which would become redundant under the Bill’s proposal).

The Bill was introduced to the Legislative Assembly on 22 February 2012. The Second Reading took place on 28 February 2012, before the debate resumed on 21 March 2012:

21 March 2012

dressing up

Mr M. McGOWAN: The point I was making was that if members look at the award, people in retail do not always get paid well. That is why I was cautioning members of the government, including the one who just stormed out—the Premier —

Mr T.R. Buswell: He did not storm out.

Mr M. McGOWAN: He did leave, and he appeared huffy to me. That is my definition of storming out.

Mr T.R. Buswell interjected.

Mr M. McGOWAN: You could only see the back of his head!

Mr T.R. Buswell: I know the Premier!

Mr M. McGOWAN: You could only see the back of his head. You cannot see through it.

Mr T.R. Buswell: I would like to see the back of yours!

The ACTING SPEAKER: Member for Vasse and Leader of the Opposition, get back to the context of the bill.

Mr M. McGOWAN: I observed the Premier leave. He was angry about what I was saying —

Mr T.R. Buswell: Rubbish—how would you know?

The ACTING SPEAKER: Member for Vasse, ―How would you know?‖—I would like you to keep quiet while the member is on his feet. You will have the opportunity to speak later on.

Mr M. McGOWAN: He was angry. All I was saying to the house is when one advocates —

Mr T.R. Buswell: You are going to get a sore neck looking up there all the time!

The ACTING SPEAKER: Member for Vasse, I call you to order for the first time. [p. 1025]

The Second Reading debate resumed on 22 March 2012:

22 March 2012

laughing boy

Ms R. SAFFIOTI: […] There are issues to do with retail workers being able to catch public transport to shops, which I also think applies to weeknight trading as well, frankly, because a lot of services do not work up to 9.00 pm throughout the suburbs. There is an issue of safety, and this is more to do with weeknight trading. For example, if my daughter worked in a shopping centre and finished at 9.00 pm or 9.30 pm —

Mr W.J. Johnston interjected.

Ms R. SAFFIOTI: She is only two, but I am sure she will be very good. My daughter is very smart!
If I had a daughter of working age and she was going out to work and leaving a shopping centre at 9.00 pm, I would have some issues about her safety in getting to her car and coming home because lighting and security around shopping centres is an issue. [p. 1211]

Mr V.A. CATANIA: […] As I said, the only political party in this chamber that has not changed its view is the National Party. It was interesting to see who was in the corridors of Parliament before the Leader of the Opposition and other members gave their speeches, lobbying to ensure that he could put his view across—one of those faceless men of the Labor Party, being the secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association. It is quite interesting that the Leader of the Opposition was taking orders outside this chamber from the union—it is unbelievable!

Several members interjected.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr J.M. Francis): Member for Albany!

Mr V.A. CATANIA: It is unbelievable that the Leader of the Opposition had the bill open, going through, with the union, what he should say and what he should not say. I find that quite amazing! Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition should ring him up on the phone over there and ask him what question to ask across the chamber during question time!

Mr M. McGowan: Are you saying I should not have had a conversation with him?

Mr V.A. CATANIA: So the Leader of the Opposition did have a conversation with him while holding the bill?

Mr M. McGowan: I saw you walk past! You hid your face, as I noticed!

Mr V.A. CATANIA: With the bill!

Mr M. McGowan: You hid your face, considering he‘s your great friend!

Mr V.A. CATANIA: With the bill! “What next? What next shall I say?” [p. 1219]

Mr B.S. WYATT: […] I thought to myself that I might look at the Sunday Observance Act of 1676. The CCI got the incorrect date; it was actually the Sunday Observance Act 1676. This is an act that no doubt the member for North West, living in Victoria Park, follows assiduously in between trips to Centro to shop at Woolworths! I will read out a couple of interesting paragraphs, as they show the history of this issue and how controversy around shopping hours has been around literally for centuries. I quote—Hansard will love this—from the very first paragraph of the Sunday Observance Act 1676 —

… Person and Persons whatsoever, shall on every Lord‘s Day apply themselves to the Observation of the fame, by exercising themselves thereon in the Duties of Piety and true Religion, publicly and privately; and Tradesmen, that no Tradesman, Artificer, Workman; Labourer, or other Person whatsoever, shall do or exercise Artificers, and‘ any worldly Labour, Business or Work of their ordinary Callings, upon the Lord‘s Day, …

Obviously that ban initially on Sunday, the Lord‘s Day, was strongly religious related. The penalty is —

Mr T.R. Buswell: Beheading!

Mr B.S. WYATT: In a minute—you wait! The quote continues —

… and that every Person being of the Age of Fourteen Years or upwards, offending in the Premises shall, for, every such Offence, forfeit the Sum, of Five Shillings, …

Interestingly, at paragraph II it was a greater offence to travel on the Lord‘s Day. Paragraph II states —

And it is further enacted That no Drover, Horse-courser, Waggoner, Butcher, Higler, their or Drovers, Horse any of their Servants, shall travel or, come into his or their Inn or Lodging upon the Lord‘s Day …

The offence for that was 20 shillings; so it was actually a greater offence. Bear in mind that this is back in 1676. Unfortunately, the member for Cockburn is not in the chamber with his little calculator to tell me what that equals today.

Mr T.R. Buswell: The member for Pilbara would remember.

Mr B.S. WYATT: He was bound by this act and he may have indeed passed it! The member for Pilbara conveniently comes into the chamber as we are talking about his first legislation as a young legislator. [p. 1222]

Mr B.S. WYATT: […] Paragraph V reads —
… That if any Person or Persons The Hundred whatsoever which shall travel upon the Lord‘s Day shall be then robbed, That no Hundred or the In-habitants thereof shall be charged with or answerable for any Robbery so committed, but the Person or Persons so robbed shall be barred from bringing, any Action for the raid Robbery; any Law to the contrary notwithstanding Nevertheless, …

That is going to keep people at home, I would have thought.

Mr P. Abetz: Do you want to know the reason for that?

Mr B.S. WYATT: Yes; I am curious.

Mr P. Abetz: The reason for travel was that you required horses for travel and in the Ten Commandments the animals also had to rest on the Saturday. That‘s the history of it. Now we have motor cars.

Mr B.S. WYATT: Madam Acting Speaker, I know that you for one would be appreciative of that particular law. More importantly, I say to the member for Southern River that if I were to catch him out on his horse on a Sunday on the Lord‘s day, I could go over with a nulla-nulla and whack him on the head and not be charged for anything! I quite like that. That will keep the member for Southern River indoors if anything will! [pp. 1222-1223]

The debate continued the next week, with the Second Reading resuming on 29 March 2012:

29 March 2012

another name

The debate then moved to the Consideration-in-Detail stage:

Mr M.P. WHITELY: I believe other members are interested in participating in this debate. I ask my colleague the member for Warnbro to join me in reflecting on the short title of this bill to enable others to enter the chamber and participate more fully in the debate.

Mr R.F. Johnson interjected.

Mr M.P. WHITELY: I ask the Leader of the House to indulge us at the moment; we are waiting for the leader to come in because he is anxious to progress this bill with haste.

Several members interjected.

The ACTING SPEAKER: The member for Bassendean has the call, members.

Mr T.R. Buswell: Can you please ask the question.

Mr M.P. WHITELY: I think they will be here very shortly.

Mr T.R. Buswell: There is another clause; he is not going to want to debate the short title.

Mr M.P. WHITELY: I am sure we can rush through it when the leader gets here.

Point of Order

Mr T.R. BUSWELL: I do not mind if members opposite need to cool their jets for a minute, but this is lunacy. They either have an issue with the short title or they do not. They do not get up and say, ―I‘ve got an issue because the people —

Mr P. Papalia: Actually, minister —

Mr T.R. BUSWELL: I am talking.

Mr P. Papalia: So what? You never did that? This has never occurred; is that what you are saying?

The ACTING SPEAKER: Member!

Mr T.R. BUSWELL: My point of order is that if there is an issue to be dealt with under the short title, we deal with it. Members opposite cannot stand up and say that people are not here.

Mr P. Papalia: What about the number of times you used to tell jokes when we were waiting.

Mr R.F. Johnson: We never tell jokes. [pp. 1662-1663]

Mr T.R. BUSWELL: […] There are other mechanisms available to employers and to employees, who are represented by the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association of WA in those negotiations. I know there were some comments made about a former member of the SDA in this place, and I may have been a member of the SDA when I was senior junior casual in my days at Coles. That is a self-graded job, I hasten to add.

Ms M.M. Quirk: I hope you were not in the furniture department!

Mr T.R. BUSWELL: No, it was Coles. I was in fishing tackle for a while. Notwithstanding my obvious shortcomings, member for Girrawheen, I have got to this place. [p. 1665]

After the Consideration-in-Detail, the Bill was read for a third time:

MR T.R. BUSWELL (Vasse — Minister for Transport) [6.29 pm] — in reply: I will close the debate, which has been very interesting. Can I say to the Leader of the National Party how much I enjoyed his contribution. It was a very balanced reflection on the history of this debate. I applaud his frankness in exposing those opposite without, of course, trying to politicise it—because I am soon going to be sitting next to the member for Belmont who will come over on this side to support the passage of the bill. The member for Belmont and I will sit next to each other. I thought we had that agreement, member for Belmont. Do not shatter my expectations!

The Leader of the Opposition made a point about the electoral prospects of the Leader of the National Party, which I think is far more hope than reality. Ultimately, that will be something the good folk of the north west will determine. I am pretty sure they are pretty wise up there. The Leader of the Opposition also said that we needed to move on to bigger issues—like free-range eggs and spuds. He is a spuds and eggs man. That is brilliant!

Mr M. McGowan: You look like you have had a few too many spuds!

Mr T.R. BUSWELL: The Leader of the Opposition often makes those comments

Mr M. McGowan: You make them about yourself!

Mr T.R. BUSWELL: That is fine. As I said, I am training every morning over at The Ring Boxing Studio with Phil O‘Reilly sharpening my pugilistic skills. The Leader of the Opposition is more than welcome to join me. The way that Alston keeps drawing his sneakers, the way they are expanding, I am not sure he will fit in the ring. I am not sure why Alston is doing that, by the way, but he is definitely doing that. He seems to have a certain bent for the Leader of the Opposition‘s shoes. I do not know why! I reckon if the Leader of the Opposition compares the first cartoon Alston drew of him with the last one, his feet have grown—I do not know why—or maybe his feet have not grown, but his sneakers have gotten bigger! [p. 1676]

The Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly and transmitted to the Legislative Council. It was introduced and read for a second time in the Upper House on 1 May 2012, before the Second Reading debate resumed on 22 May 2012:

22 May 2012

Hon NICK GOIRAN: […] I want to quote now, if I can, a letter that I received from the Retail Traders‘ Association of WA, which is dated 17 March 2011. It is a long letter. I will not read the whole thing, but I will quote from two paragraphs. It states —

However, there are even greater concerns ahead.

Of course, this means that the association was already raising some argument, but—wait for it—there are greater concerns ahead, according to it. I continue —

Simply put, current regulations are slowly strangling retailers here in Perth. You just need to ask yourself one simple question. With the percentage of double income families in Perth rapidly increasing (now approx 65-70%) when do they get the time to shop? By this, I mean, the time to research, investigate, communicate and find exactly what they really need.
Sunday is the best and only time when both partners, in fact the whole family, can together really ‘go shopping.’

This has to be one of the most unbelievable things written to me in three years. With all due respect to the writers of this letter, they obviously have absolutely no idea what it is to go shopping with children. I can tell you, Mr President, that when my wife wants to go shopping, the last thing she wants is me going with her. She would much rather that I stay home and look after the kids so that she can go and shop in peace. So the suggestion by the Retail Traders‘ Association that somehow we all need to go as a family, hold hands and look at the latest fridge, freezer or something that we need to purchase is absolute rubbish.

Hon Alyssa Hayden: I like my husband‘s advice when I go shopping.

Hon NICK GOIRAN: After that unruly interjection by my good friend and colleague, I suggest that the notion that a visit to the local Westfield on Sundays is a family activity is a fairytale invented by the retail giants. [p. 2902]

The Second Reading debate continued on 13 June and 19 June 2012. Resuming on 20 June 2012, the Bill entered the Committee-of-the-Whole stage:

20 June 2012

Hon LYNN MacLAREN: […] We know that Western Australians love their long weekends. In this case we want to include Easter Sunday as one of our special non-trading days, and there is no question that we would support not having these big corporate retailers open on those days.

Hon Simon O’Brien: Corporate? That must mean it‘s naughty and evil, does it?

Hon LYNN MacLAREN: Corporate sounds scary, does it, Minister for Commerce?

Hon Simon O’Brien: Are you scared by that?

Hon LYNN MacLAREN: I am not afraid, and I do not want the minister to be afraid. There is no fear; we do not want the minister to be afraid of anything. We want him to just think about whether it is fair enough to have one day, of all the Sundays that could possibly be open for trade, as an exempt day.

Hon Simon O’Brien: What‘s wrong with all the other Sundays? Why aren‘t they given equal status?

Hon LYNN MacLAREN: I argued that all Sundays should be exempt, but this amendment deals with Easter Sunday; can the minister focus on Easter Sunday? [p. 4039]

After passing the Committee stage, the Bill was read for a third time on 21 June 2012. The Bill was passed by the Legislative Council, and assented to on 3 July 2012.

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