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Strangers Gallery Renaming

22 February 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I rise to speak in favour of this motion on behalf of the Greens. As the honourable Leader of the Opposition has noted, many of the traditions in this place serve us well, are important and worth maintaining, but it is also important that we evolve as an institution. The students have rightly identified that the term 'stranger' is quite alienating in terms of its use here within the parliament.

This is a very, very simple change we can make that demonstrates that the parliament is, in fact, open to the whole community and accessible to the whole community. It is possible to have discussions around simple changes to standing orders whilst dealing with the myriad complexities we face here in our state, so I do not think that dealing with this is a distraction from ramping, the cost-of-living crisis or the other important issues we are dealing with here in this parliament.

I would caution the Hon. Ms Bourke though. Late last year, I proposed a very simple change to standing orders when I suggested that we might want to revisit the Lord's Prayer, and the front page of The Advertiser in response was, 'Greens ban God'. I am very concerned that the Hon. Ms Bourke may wake up to a headline tomorrow morning that says, 'Bourke bans strangers', so I do warn her she should be prepared for that.

I do think that as a parliament we are able to deal with these issues as well as the myriad other challenges that confront our state. Of course the Greens are supportive of this. It is a commonsense change.