Sunday Trading debate

The Retail Trading Hours Amendment Bill 2012 has passed the Legislative Assembly on 29 March 2012. It will now go to the upper house. Both the Labor and Liberal Parties voted in favour of the bill which deregulates trading hours making it possible for all shops to open Sunday. Southern River MP Peter Abetz, who abstained from voting on the bill, said that while he had no more than three emails in favour of the Bill, he had received probably 100 or more emails and letters from people who are very strongly opposed to the extension of trading hours.

The Labor Party moved an amendment to the bill to include Easter Sunday, along side Christmas Day, ANZAC Day and Good Friday as restricted trading days. This amendment was lost as the Liberal Party voted against it.

Moving the amendment. Labor Leader Mark McGowan said “I think Easter Sunday should be treated in the same way as Christmas Day, Anzac Day and Good Friday.” “I do not really see how adding another day, which is part of that Easter break that people generally enjoy, could be considered a huge impediment. The other point I make is that Easter Sunday has particular significance to people of Christian faith in Western Australia.”

In opposition to the amendment Troy Buswell said:  “Different groups have different days of observance. I was interested to discover this year that the wharfies have Melbourne Cup Day off.” “Our view is that Easter Sunday, notwithstanding its significance from the point of view of religious observance, is not a day that should be deemed off limits in terms of shops that can and cannot open.”

After the amendment was lost Mark McGowan said: “I do not understand why some members of the Liberal Party who express regularly in this place such grave concern about a range of issues to do with their religion did not vote in accordance with their conviction.”

“But people need to understand, and religious groups around Western Australia need to understand, what has just happened in this Parliament. This was not put to the government in an aggressive way or with any desire to undermine the intent of the legislation. All it was was an attempt to include Easter Sunday, a day when families get together and religious ceremonies are observed, which is part of that extended Easter period that is so important to so many families. People around Western Australia should understand that many Liberal Party members and most of the National Party defeated that intent on the part of the opposition.

To read the debate on Hansard March 29, 2012 click here.

To read Peter Abetz’s comments on the Bill (Hansard March 22 from page 16) click here.

POSTED 20 Apr 2012
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