A return to government business on Friday saw five bills agreed to – including two bills which amended the Crimes Act 1900. The House also considered two messages from the Assembly relating to amendments to the Modern Slavery Amendment Bill 2021 and Energy Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 – in short, there were lots of amendments! Read on for more…
Modern Slavery Amendment Bill 2021 (Consideration of message from the Assembly)
As reported in our earlier blog, the Council passed the Modern Slavery Amendment Bill 2021 on Tuesday. On Thursday, a message was received from the Legislative Assembly advising of eight amendments to the bill. These were agreed to on the voices during committee of the whole (which you can read about in the Hansard record here), and a message advising of this was forwarded to the Assembly.
Energy Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 (Consideration of message from the Assembly)
In late October, the Energy Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 was passed in the Legislative Council with amendments. You can read about the bill and its three amendments in our earlier blog here. At the time, a message was sent to the Assembly asking the other House to consider and agree to the Council’s amendments. On Friday, the Assembly replied with a message advising one amendment had been agreed to, with changes proposed to the other two. In committee of the whole, these two amendments to the Council’s original amendments were agreed to on the voices, and a message was sent to the other House advising of this. Further details can be found in the Hansard record.
Gaming Machine Tax Amendment (Promotional Prizes) Bill 2021
The Gaming Machine Tax Amendment (Promotional Prizes) Bill 2021 was introduced by Parliamentary Secretary Mr Farlow on behalf of Minister Harwin (Liberal). It would make changes to the Gaming Machine Tax Act 2001 so that all bets placed on gaming machines are taxed, regardless of whether the bets are made using cash or non‑cash means. Specifically, the bill would make it clear that bets placed on machines using ‘promotional prizes’, such reward schemes and other promotional activities, are taxable.
After Mr Farlow’s speech, members from the Opposition and the Greens contributed to the second reading debate. The second and third reading of the bill were agreed to and the bill was returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Bill 2021
The Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Bill 2021 – introduced by Parliamentary Secretary Mr Farlow on behalf of Minister Harwin (Liberal) – updates how property that has been abandoned in public spaces, like shopping trolleys and vehicles, is dealt with. Arising from a review of the current Impounding Act 1993, which is to be repealed, the new bill makes owners of the abandoned property responsible for unattended property, rather than councils and other authorities. The bill also gives powers to councils, police and other local public land managers to allow them to deal with property left unattended in public spaces, including lost or abandoned animals. It also empowers private landholders to take possession of stray stock animals on their land. For more detail about the bill, you can read the Parliamentary Secretary’s second reading speech in the Hansard record here.
A number of members spoke to the bill in the second reading debate before the second and third readings of the bill were agreed to and the bill returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
Service NSW (One-stop Access to Government Services) Amendment (COVID-19 Information Privacy) Bill
The House considered and agreed to the Service NSW (One-stop Access to Government Services) Amendment (COVID-19 Information Privacy) Bill 2021. Introduced by Parliamentary Secretary Mr Martin on behalf of Minister Tudehope (Liberal), the bill aims to limit the disclosure and use of any personal and health information collected by Service NSW under the COVID-19 Public Health Orders. Under the bill, personal and health information that was collected by Service NSW for contact tracing, and to issue permits for COVID-19, can only be used:
- For the purpose for which it was collected
- If the information was collected for a permit or for an entry or exit declaration, to investigate or prosecute a breach of that permit or declaration
- To provide the information to the person it is about.
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. The House considered one amendment from Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) in committee of the whole, which was negatived on the voices. The third reading of the bill was agreed to and the bill was sent back to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Consent Reforms) Bill 2021
On Friday, the second reading debate on the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Consent Reforms) Bill 2021 resumed and concluded (with the bill being agreed to on division: 29 ayes to 2 noes), before the House considered amendments in committee of the whole. The bill seeks to implement changes stemming from a 2018 review of the law of sexual consent by the NSW Law Reform Commission, including amending the Crimes Act 1900 to make it clearer that consent must be present at the time of sexual activity and setting out a list of circumstances in which a person cannot be said to have consented. You can learn more about the bill in the Minister’s second reading speech, as well in our earlier blog including the bill.
The Opposition, Greens and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation moved amendments during committee of the whole:
- Ms Sharpe (Labor) moved six amendments (three agreed to on the voices, three negatived on the voices)
- Ms Boyd (The Greens) moved four amendments (negatived on the voices)
- Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) moved seven amendments (one negatived on the voices and six negatived over three divisions (one amendment: 2 ayes, 29 noes; four amendments: 2 ayes, 27 noes; one amendment: 2 ayes, 26 noes).
Following the committee stage, the bill was read a third time and the bill 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.
Crimes Legislation Amendment (Loss of Foetus) Bill 2021
On Friday the Minister gave the second reading speech for the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Loss of Foetus) Bill 2021. The bill seeks to amend the Crimes Act 1900 to create two new offences in relation to causing the loss of a foetus of a pregnant woman. The first offence covers situations where grievous bodily harm is inflicted on a pregnant woman, causing the loss of the foetus, while the second is when a woman is killed through murder, manslaughter or dangerous driving occasioning death and the foetus is also lost. The bill would also allow the name of the unborn child to be included on an indictment for any offence, as well as allow close family members to provide victim impact statements to a court regarding their loss, during proceedings for any of the new offences.
As the bill had been declared urgent when it was introduced on Tuesday (you can read an explanation of urgent bills in last week’s blog), the second reading debate was able to proceed without five calendar days having to pass, as is usual under the standing orders. You can read members’ contributions to the second reading debate in the day’s Hansard.
At the conclusion of the second reading debate, the House resolved into committee of the whole to consider 25 amendments moved by Ms Boyd on behalf of The Greens (all negatived on the voices). The bill was then read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly.
During the reading of the bill and initial debate, Ms Brodie Donegan, Mr Nick Ball and family were invited into the President’s Gallery to watch the proceedings. Ms Donegan and Mr Ball lost their unborn daughter, Zoe, in 2009, when Ms Donegan was hit by a drunk driver when she was 32 weeks pregnant. The bill has been referred to as ‘Zoe’s Law’.