We made it to the final sitting day for 2021! While this time last year the Council had just sat through the night, the final sitting day of 2021 – a private members’ day – saw the House adjourn just in time for dinner. Members debated and agreed to three bills, introduced by members of the Council – which have been sent to the Assembly for its consideration in the new year. The Council also considered a message from the Assembly regarding amendments to the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2021, and agreed to three general motions and four orders for papers. At the end of the day, members from across the chamber offered seasonal felicitations to one another, staff and the parliamentary community – a fitting conclusion to a jam-packed 2021.

Thank you to our loyal readers who have followed us throughout the year, as well as to newer parliamentary procedure nerds! We’ll still be publishing blogs for you to read before the House sits again next February, including one on the first women elected to the Legislative Council, coming soon. If you have any topics you’d like to learn more about, feel free to send us a suggestion at lc.procedure@parliament.nsw.gov.au. Until then, we hope you enjoy our final sitting day wrap up!

Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment (Family Is Culture Review) Bill

On Tuesday, Mr Shoebridge (The Greens) introduced the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment (Family Is Culture Review) Bill 2021 – you can find his speech here in the Hansard record. The bill seeks to implement recommendations of the Family is Culture report, commissioned by the Government in 2016 to investigate the overrepresentation of First Nations children in out-of-home care. It does so by amending various pieces of legislation dealing with child protection, adoption and the roles of Children’s Guardian and Advocate for Children and Young People. It also seeks to enshrine the right to self-determination in all decisions relating to the protection of First Nations children, by mandating elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Young Person Placement Principles to be applied to any decision made under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.

At the conclusion of Mr Shoebridge’s second reading speech, debate on the bill was adjourned according to standing orders.

Government Grants Administration Bill 2021

Debate resumed on the second reading of the Government Grants Administration Bill 2021. Introduced on 17 November by Mr Graham (Labor), the bill aims to strengthen accountability and transparency in the administration of government grant programs. To read more on the bill, you can check out our previous blog post or Mr Graham’s second reading speech.

Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) and Mr Veitch (Labor) contributed to debate before Minister Tudehope moved that the debate be adjourned. This motion was defeated on the voices and debate continued, with Mr Tudehope, Mr Shoebridge (The Greens) and Mrs Houssos (Labor) speaking, and Mr Graham speaking in reply. The second reading of the bill was then agreed to on division (24 ayes to 17 noes), before the third reading was agreed to on the voices and the bill was sent to the Legislative Assembly for concurrence.

Fiscal Responsibility Amendment (Privatisation Restrictions) Bill 2021

Members also debated the Fiscal Responsibility Amendment (Privatisation Restrictions) Bill 2021 on Thursday. Introduced by Mr Mookhey (Labor) in the previous sitting week, the bill would prevent the selling, leasing or disposal of certain state-owned assets without review by a joint parliamentary committee and the passing of a relevant resolution in both the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly. Revisit Mr Mookhey’s earlier overview of the bill in the Hansard record.

During the second reading debate, contributions were heard from (in order) The Greens, the Government, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, the Opposition, and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. The second reading was agreed to following a division, where there were 17 ayes and 17 noes, and the President cast the deciding ‘aye’ vote as Chair. Under the standing orders, if the numbers voting for each side are equal, the Chair may give reasons for casting their vote in a particular way, which the President elected to do. The President noted that he was voting in accordance with established principles guiding a casting vote, which include that the Chair should vote to allow further discussion where this is possible – the second reading of the bill facilitating its consideration in detail in committee of the whole.

The House then resolved into committee of the whole, where one amendment was moved by Ms Boyd (The Greens) and agreed to on the voices. With the third reading agreed to on another division (21 ayes to 14 noes), the bill was sent on to the Legislative Assembly. See what Council members had to say during debate on the bill in the day’s Hansard record here.

Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill (CONSIDERATION OF MESSAGE FROM THE ASSEMBLY)

In early November, the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 was passed in the Legislative Council with an amendment. You can read about the bill and the Animal Justice Party amendment agreed to in our earlier blog here. At the time, a message was sent to the Assembly asking that House to consider and agree to the Council’s amendment. On Friday, the Assembly replied with a message advising it had disagreed to the Council’s amendment, and had proposed two amendments instead. In committee of the whole, these two amendments were agreed to on the voices. In her contribution, Ms Hurst (Animal Justice Party) noted that the Assembly amendments were largely identical to the Animal Justice Party amendment initially agreed to by the Council, with the key difference being that the offence it proposed was now split into two provisions. Further details can be found in the Hansard record.

A message was then sent to the House advising of the Council’s agreement, before the Minister moved a special adjournment, to allow the House to adjourn until Tuesday 22 February 2022 at 2:30pm, upon rising.

List of general motions and orders for papers

General motions

The following general motions were debated and agreed to:

Orders for papers

The following orders for papers were debated and agreed to:

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