On Wednesday – which was the first of two private members’ days in the sitting week – three private members’ bills were introduced, including a bill banning the termination of pregnancies for the purposes of sex selection, a bill to exclude users of medicinal cannabis from NSW driving offences, and a bill to strengthen accountability and transparency in how government grant schemes are administered. The second reading debates of three other bills also concluded and these bills were sent to the Legislative Assembly for consideration – with one including a message suggesting that the Assembly consider amending the bill.  Members also debated five general motions, and agreed to seven orders for papers. Read on to learn more…

(A quick reminder, too: during our three-week run of four-day sitting weeks, we’ll be running shorter-format blogs to bring you all the key information in a timely way. We hope you’re enjoying the new format.)

Abortion Law Reform (Sex Selection Prohibition) Amendment Bill

The Abortion Law Reform (Sex Selection Prohibition) Amendment Bill 2021 was introduced on Wednesday by Reverend Nile (Christian Democratic Party). The bill would prohibit both the termination of pregnancies and the use of assisted reproductive technology for the purposes of sex selection under the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 and the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2007 respectively.

By amending the Health Practitioner Regulation (Adoption of National Law) Act 2009, the bill would also deem that terminations for the purposes of sex selection amount to professional misconduct for registered health practitioners. Further, the bill would make changes to the Health Care Liability Act 2001 to void approved professional indemnity insurance for health practitioners when it comes to such terminations.

You can read Reverend Nile’s second reading speech in the Hansard record here. According to standing order, debate on the bill was adjourned for five calendar days.

Road Transport Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis – Exemptions from Offences) Bill

The Road Transport Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis – Exemptions from Offences) Bill 2021 was introduced by Ms Faehrmann (The Greens) to exclude users of medicinal cannabis from NSW driving offences relating to the presence of the drug in their system. Specifically, the bill would amend the Road Transport Act 2013 so that offences for driving while a prescribed illicit drug is present in a person’s oral fluid, blood or urine would not apply if the only drug present is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC, the main chemical responsible for the effects of cannabis), and providing that the person had obtained and taken the drug for medicinal purposes only.

Following Ms Faehrmann’s second reading speech, which you can read in the Hansard record here, debate on the bill was adjourned for five calendar days, according to standing order.

Local Government Amendment (Disqualification from Civic Office) Bill 2020

The Local Government Amendment (Disqualification from Civic Office) Bill 2020 seeks to amend the Local Government Act 1993 to disqualify real estate agents and property developers from holding a civic office, such as becoming a councillor or mayor of a city council, or holding the office of a chairperson or becoming a member of a county council. The bill was introduced by Mr Secord (Labor) in February 2020 – you can read our earlier blog about the bill here, as well as what Mr Secord had to say in the 2020 Hansard record here. On Wednesday, the second reading debate on the bill continued and concluded.

The second reading of the bill was agreed to on division (22 ayes to 17 noes) before it was read a third time and sent to the Assembly for consideration. 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.

ICAC and Other Independent Commissions Legislation Amendment (Independent Funding) Bill 2021 (No 2)

On Wednesday, the second reading debate on the ICAC and Other Independent Commissions Legislation Amendment (Independent Funding) Bill 2021 (No 2) took place. Introduced by Mr Borsak (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) in the previous sitting week, you can read more about what this bill seeks to do in our earlier blog here.

At the conclusion of the second reading debate, the bill was read a third time and agreed to. Following this, according to contingent notice, Mr Borsak moved that a message be sent to the Legislative Assembly suggesting that it consider amending the bill consistent with provisions in the bill relating to the Legislative Council and the Department of Parliamentary Services, to constitute a committee to review the Budget information prepared by the Department of the Legislative Assembly, and to determine amounts of appropriations for inclusion in annual Appropriation Acts. The bill was then sent to the Assembly for its consideration, along with the accompanying message. 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.

Companion Animals Amendment (Rehoming Animals) Bill 2021

Debate also resumed on the Companion Animals Amendment (Rehoming Animals) Bill 2021, introduced by Ms Hurst (Animal Justice Party) in the previous sitting week. You can read more about what this bill seeks to do in our blog from last Wednesday’s sitting here.

The bill was agreed to on division (16 ayes, 11 noes) before it was read a third time and sent to the Assembly for consideration. 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.

Government Grants Administration Bill

In the evening, Mr Graham (Labor) introduced the Government Grants Administration Bill 2021. This bill aims to strengthen accountability and transparency in how government grant schemes are administered. It does so by strengthening requirements for Ministers to administer grants according to the grant guidelines and departmental advice, and requiring more information about grant programs to be published online, including on a new public, online grants register.

The bill would also strengthen the powers and remit of the Auditor-General in respect to grants, including giving the Auditor-General “follow the dollar” powers, in line with other states around Australia. In doing so, the bill would give effect to many of the recommendations made by the Public Accountability Committee in its first report on the integrity, efficacy and value for money of NSW Government grant programs.

You can read Mr Graham’s second reading speech in the Hansard record here. According to standing order, at the conclusion of Mr Graham’s speech, debate on the bill was adjourned for five calendar days.

LISTS OF GENERAL MOTIONS AND ORDERS FOR PAPERS

General motions

The following general motions were debated and agreed to, unless otherwise stated:

Orders for papers

The following orders for papers were debated and agreed to:

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