While our Upper House committees have been busy since January, this Tuesday members headed back to the chamber for the first sitting day of 2022. A government business day, there were a number of general motions and announcements, as well as the passage of two bills.
Before we get stuck into the recap, a quick reminder that this year…
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RESIGNATION OF THE HON TREVOR KHAN
Reporting of the resignation of the Honourable Trevor Khan was among the first orders of business on Tuesday. Mr Khan was a member of the Legislative Council for nearly 15 years. He was elected to the Upper House in 2007 and served as Deputy President and Chair of Committees from 2015. His resignation occurred in January, and in February he took up a new post, being sworn in as a magistrate of the NSW Local Court.
(A joint sitting of both Houses took place on Thursday in order to fill the member vacancy left in the Upper House – stay tuned for further details.)
THE QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE
Early in the sitting, President Mason-Cox made an official statement acknowledging Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee – a commemoration of 70 years of service to the people of the Commonwealth, which fell earlier this month. Later on Tuesday evening, Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council Minister Tudehope (Liberal Party) moved a congratulatory address to Her Majesty, which was adopted by the House. The full address, plus a contribution by Ms Sharpe (Labor Party), can be read in the day’s Hansard record.
Did you know that as well as being the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, Her Majesty was the first sovereign to open any Australian parliament when she opened the third session of the 37th Parliament on NSW in 1954? Listen to the speech Her Majesty delivered from the Vice Regal chair in the Upper House chamber, just two years after her coronation:
CRIMES (ADMINISTRATION OF SENTENCES) AMENDMENT BILL 2021
The Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Amendment Bill 2021 was passed in the Legislative Assembly in November last year. It makes a number of changes to the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999, including updating provisions relating to the NSW Victims Register. Being on the register allows victims of crime access to relevant information about an offender (such as details of sentencing and release) and among other things, the bill would broaden eligibility to be recorded on the register.
The bill also seeks to improve decision-making by the State Parole Authority when deciding whether to direct the release of an offender, by introducing a requirement for the Authority to consider any recommendation by the High Risk Offenders Assessment Committee to make continuing detention or extended supervision orders under the Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006 or Terrorism (High Risk Offenders) Act 2017. It also allows the delegation of functions by the Chief Executive of the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network, and amends the Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006 to authorise certain information about an offender provided to the Attorney General under the Act to be used by the State and the Commissioner in the offender’s parole proceedings.
The bill was supported unanimously by members of the House. An overview of the bill by the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Martin (Liberal Party) can be found in the Hansard record, together with the full proceedings of the second reading debate, to which members of the Opposition, the Christian Democratic Party and The Greens contributed.
At the conclusion of the debate, the bill was read a third time and returned the bill to the Assembly without any amendments.
LICENSING AND REGISTRATION (UNIFORM PROCEDURES) AMENDMENT BILL 2021
As its title suggests, the Licencing and Registration (Uniform Procedures) Amendment Bill 2021 intends to streamline licensing and registration procedures used by various NSW regulators under the Licensing and Registration (Uniform Procedures) Act 2002. This includes standardising procedures related to renewal periods, amending names and addresses, issuing waivers, reductions and refunds of fees, and more. Importantly, the bill also makes provisions for the issuing and use of digital licences across the state.
More details can be found in the second reading speech delivered by Parliamentary Secretary Mr Martin (Liberal Party).
After contributions to the second reading debate were heard from the Opposition and Christian Democratic Party, who also supported the bill (see details in the Hansard record), the bill was read a third time and returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
A NOTE ABOUT INQUIRY REPORTS
There were several Upper House inquiry reports tabled during Tuesday’s sitting, including the high-profile report into the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021. Receipts of further reports were also reported, as well as six government responses to earlier reports, and a host of other documents received since the House last sat. A reminder that all of these documents can be found in the day’s record of tabled papers and reports on the Parliament’s website. You can visit this page for any sitting day throughout the year, or see our page specific to inquiry reports and government responses if you’re looking for the report of a particular inquiry or committee and aren’t sure when it was tabled. As formalities during this first sitting of 2022 took some time to get through, debate on committee reports did not take place.