NSW citizens to be governed by QLD and or VIC Parliaments – 29 October 2009

“New legislation if passed in NSW will give other state parliaments governing rights over NSW citizens”, Executive Director of the Australian Doctors’ Fund, Mr Stephen Milgate said in Sydney today. The legislation is known as Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Bill 2009. The Bill is also before the QLD Parliament and we understand that it will be introduced into the NSW Parliament either today or tomorrow.

“This legislation is a dangerous precedent and makes a farce of state governments pretending to have jurisdiction over their constituents”, Mr Milgate said.

These criticisms follow a call by Dr Kerry Breen AM, the past President of the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria and the Australian Medical Council to have the legislation delayed. In an article published in the MJA on 19/10/09 Dr Breen stated, “if adopted this legislation has the potential to set back important improvements of professional regulation that have been implemented in Australia in the past 20 years”.

The legislation, if passed in the QLD form unamended will contain the following provisions, “A regulation disallowed under subsection (1) does not cease to have effect in the participating jurisdiction, or any other participating jurisdiction, unless the regulation is disallowed in a majority of the participating jurisdictions.”

“If a regulation is disallowed in a majority of the participating jurisdictions, it ceases to have effect in all participating jurisdictions on the date of its disallowance in the last of the jurisdictions forming the majority.’1

The Bill is the centrepiece legislation in a COAG driven reorganisation of 13 professions supply the health needs of the community. It has been described the Health Services Union as “federation politics gone mad”.2 Its explanatory document lists 79 Frequently Asked Questions.

Were this bill to become law in NSW with the above provisions included, a state parliament would no longer have jurisdiction in its own state for health professional regulation without the permission of other states.

“It’s time for our NSW parliamentarians to stand up for the right of the NSW Parliament to govern its own citizens without submission to other states who have no electoral jurisdiction in NSW.”

“The ADF believes the legislation is flawed and has previously called for it to be scrapped. At a minimum any section in the Bill which demeans the sovereignty of the NSW Parliament (or any other parliament) such as Section 246 p 205 of the QLD Bill on which this legislation is based should be removed”, Mr Milgate said.

1 Section 246, p 205 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Bill 2009 at subsection 2 and subsection 3
2 Health Services Union media release, Cost and complexity: too much to pay? 17.7.09