It was back to Government business on Friday, with three bills agreed to and returned to the Legislative Assembly for consideration of the amendments agreed to in the Council. Members also contributed to debate on proposed reforms to sexual consent laws and, following the suspension of standing and sessional orders, Mr Searle introduced a private members’ bill to amend the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission Act 2016. Read on for more…

Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Bill 2021

The House returned to the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Bill 2021 to wrap up debate in committee of the whole from Tuesday 9 November. Having dealt with all the amendments on Tuesday, the House quickly finalised committee of the whole and agreed to the third reading of the bill. The amended bill was then returned to the Legislative Assembly for concurrence.

You can read more about the amendments moved to the bill on Tuesday on our blog here, as well as what other members had to say in the Hansard record of the second reading debate here.

LAW ENFORCEMENT CONDUCT COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL 2021

Following the suspension of standing and sessional orders, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission Amendment Bill 2021, a private members’ bill, was introduced by Mr Searle (Labor). This bill seeks to amend the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission Act 2016 to allow a commissioner of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC), an assistant commissioner or anyone holding a like position within the LECC to be eligible for reappointment or to be appointed to another office within the LECC, provided the total appointment period does not exceed 10 years. The changes are intended to provide continuity in the leadership of the LECC, as currently both the chief commissioner and assistant commissioner are unable to be reappointed at the end of their five-year terms – leaving a simultaneous gap in leadership.

You can read Mr Searle’s second reading speech here. According to standing orders, at the conclusion of this speech debate on the bill was adjourned for five calendar days.

Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2021

The second reading debate on the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 also took place on Friday. This bill makes various changes to existing criminal legislation, in particular proposing changes to a number of offences, including:

  • Extending the statute of limitations for the offence of unauthorised access to or modification of restricted data held in a computer under the Crimes Act 1900, from 12 months to three years
  • Adding new definitions from Commonwealth crimes legislation to the Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006 in order to criminalise various grooming offences, as well as the possession of childlike sex dolls, in NSW.

The bill also amends legislation in relation to:

  • Search and surveillance device warrants under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002
  • Minutes and deliberations of the High Risk Offenders Assessment Committee under the Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006, the Terrorism (High Risk Offenders) Act 2017, and the Terrorism (Police Powers) Act 2002
  • Extending the operation of preventative detention orders and prohibited contact orders under the Terrorism (Police Powers) Act 2002 until December 2023.

The Greens and Animal Justice Party moved amendments to the bill in committee of the whole:

  • Ms Hurst (Animal Justice Party) moved 1 amendment (agreed to on the voices)
  • Mr Shoebridge (The Greens) moved 3 amendments (negatived on the voices).

Following the committee stage, the bill was read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly for concurrence with the amendments. You can read more about the bill, and see what members had to say during the second-read debate and committee of the whole, in the day’s Hansard record here.

Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Consent Reforms) Bill 2021

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Consent Reforms) Bill 2021 implements changes stemming from a 2018 review of the law of sexual consent by the NSW Law Reform Commission. One of the key changes proposed by the bill is to amend the Crimes Act 1900 to make it clearer that consent must be present at the time of sexual activity. The bill also sets out a comprehensive list of circumstances in which a person does not consent, including but not limited to when they do not say or do anything to communicate consent; when they don’t have the capacity to consent; when they are so affected by drugs or alcohol that they are incapable of consenting; and when they are unconscious or asleep. On the knowledge of consent, the bill proposes changing the current test of ‘no reasonable grounds’ to a ‘no reasonable belief’ test. This proposed change would mean that if an accused person did not, within a reasonable time before or at the time of the sexual activity, say or do anything to find out whether the other person consented to the sexual activity, it could not be said that their belief around the other person’s consent was ‘reasonable’.

The bill also proposes a number of changes to the directions that may be given to a jury under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 during a trial, in order to address common misconceptions about consent. These changes include a direction clarifying that non-consensual sexual activity can occur in many different circumstances and between different kinds of people; a direction about responses to non-consensual sexual activity; as well as a direction that it should not be assumed that a person consented to sexual activity because of their behaviour, because they wore particular clothing, consumed drugs or alcohol, or were present at a particular location.

The second reading debate was adjourned, with more members due to contribute when the debate resumes in the coming sitting weeks. You can read more about the bill, and see what members had to say during the second-read debate, in the day’s Hansard record here.

CUSTOMER SERVICE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2021

The Customer Service Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 seeks to make a range of miscellaneous amendments to legislation administered by the Minister for Customer Service and other related Acts – in total 20 Acts and regulations, spanning everything from the Home Building Act 1989 and Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999, to the Casino Control Act 1992 and the Music Festivals Act 2019. Overall, the bill seeks to correct minor drafting errors; make consequential amendments following the establishment of the Personal Injury Commission in 2020, including allowing for certain aspects of the Commission’s role in five Acts; and make minor amendments to support COVID-19 economic recovery, from extending special provisions under the Liquor Act 2007 to removing membership costs under the Registered Clubs Act 1976.

The Government, Opposition and Mr Field moved amendments during committee of the whole:

  • Mr Farlow moved 10 amendments on behalf of the Government (agreed to on the voices)
  • Mr Graham (Labor) moved three amendments (agreed to on the voices)
  • Mr Field (Independent) moved 3 amendments, including one to a set of government amendments (negatived on the voices).

Following the committee stage, the bill was read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly for concurrence with the amendments. You can read more about the bill, and see what members had to say during the second-read debate and committee of the whole, in the day’s Hansard record here.

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