The Barnett Government has vowed to make prostitution laws a State election issue if they fail to get through Parliament this year.
Deputy Premier Kim Hames confirmed yesterday the Prostitution Bill would be brought on for debate during the nine three-day sitting weeks left in the year.
With Parliament to resume today after a six-week winter hiatus, Dr Hames, the Government’s leader in the Lower House, was confident of passing the legislative agenda despite just two of 10 priority pieces of legislation - Sunday trading and WA Day - getting through both houses in the 10 weeks of sitting so far.
The Government has been forced to negotiate with key independent MPs and two ultra-conservative Liberals who vowed to cross the floor on the prostitution laws.
However, Dr Hames sought to deflect the issue to Labor - which has opposed the Bill - saying that if it frustrated or delayed debate “we’ll go to the election on it”.
“Then the community can decide whether they support that Bill or not,” he said.
Dr Hames said new lobbying laws and laws to give the Corruption and Crime Commission powers to investigate organised crime, which have both yet to be debated in the Lower House, were priorities listed for Government business this week.
Payroll tax rebates, the National Health Funding Pool Bill and new litter laws – all also to be debated in the Lower House - were other priorities.
However, Dr Hames said a new mental health bill, which Premier Colin Barnett said in February “has been a priority for this government”, was still a green paper and may not be introduced to Parliament before the election.
He was confident laws to establish a Future Fund would be passed, despite not yet being introduced, as would amendments to fix flaws in the Building Act.
“We’ve looked at the legislative program and we’re confident that we can comfortably get through the legislation that we’ve committed to,” Dr Hames said.
Manager of Opposition Business Michelle Roberts said the Government had “no chance” of completing its legislative agenda.
“They completely mismanage the Parliament,” she said.
“They are slow to introduce legislation, they just simply haven’t had a lot of the legislation ready, and a lot of the legislation that they do bring in is flawed.”Dr Hames said Labor had debated many Bills at length to “delay the program of this Government”.
He said an extra sitting week was a possibility.Mrs Roberts said it would support this if it was “for a worthwhile purpose”.
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