The first private members’ day of 2022 was legislation-packed, with the introduction of a bill to enable eligible people with a terminal illness to access voluntary assisted dying, and the House debating a further three bills. In committee of the whole, members also considered a message from the Legislative Assembly regarding its amendments to a private members’ bill passed by the Council last year. Over the course of the day, the House agreed to 12 orders for papers and two general motions as well. Read on to learn more!
Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 was passed by the Legislative Assembly in November last year, and was introduced in the Council on Wednesday by Mr Searle (Labor). The bill proposes to establish an Act to enable eligible people with a terminal illness to access voluntary assisted dying in NSW. To be eligible, a person must be an adult with decision-making capacity who is acting voluntarily, who has an advanced condition that is causing suffering that cannot be relieved in a way the person considers tolerable and that will cause death within six months, or 12 in the case of a neurodegenerative condition. Other criteria also apply.
The bill would also see the creation of a Voluntary Assisted Dying Board to oversee voluntary assisted dying in the state, including granting authorisations to proceed. A full description of the bill can be found in the Mr Searle’s second reading speech, or at the link to the bill above.
At the conclusion of Mr Searle’s second reading speech, debate was adjourned for five calendar days according to standing order.
Companion Animals Amendment (Rehoming Animals) Bill 2021: Consideration of message from the Assembly
As reported in our November blog, the Council passed the Companion Animals Amendment (Rehoming Animals) Bill 2021 on 17 November 2021.The bill was a private members’ bill introduced by the Hon Emma Hurst (Animal Justice). On 17 February 2022, a message was received from the Legislative Assembly advising of six amendments to the bill. These were agreed to on the voices during committee of the whole on Wednesday (which you can read about in the Hansard record here), and a message advising of this was forwarded to the Assembly.
Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment (Family Is Culture Review) Bill 2021
Later in the day, debate resumed on the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment (Family Is Culture Review) Bill 2021. Introduced by Mr Shoebridge in November last year (read our blog on it here), the bill seeks to implement the 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. For more detail on the bill, you can read the second reading speech here.
A number of members spoke on the bill (in the Hansard here and here), before the Leader of the Government, Mr Tudehope, moved that the bill be referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice for inquiry and report. This motion was negatived on division (13 ayes to 18 noes) and the House agreed to the second reading of the bill, also on division (19 ayes to 13 noes), before resolving into committee of the whole to consider amendments.
A number of amendments were moved in committee of the whole.
- Ms Sharpe (Labor) moved eight amendments (all agreed to on the voices)
- Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) moved four amendments (all negatived on the voices)
- Mr Shoebridge (Greens) moved one amendment (agreed to on the voices).
Unusually, the House divided on the question of the third reading of the bill. The third reading was agreed to (20 ayes to 14 noes) before the bill was forwarded to the Legislative Assembly for concurrence.
Public Health Amendment (Vaccination Compensation) Bill 2021
The Public Health Amendment (Vaccination Compensation) Bill 2021 was introduced by Reverend Nile in February last year (you can read our blog on the bill here). It seeks to amend the Public Health Act 2012 to provide for the payment of compensation to workers who suffer injury, loss or damage as a result of a requirement to be vaccinated. The bill would make a body (such as an employer) liable if the body required their worker to be vaccinated and the worker suffered injury as a result. Under the bill, compensation would be payable up until the death of the worker, even if the worker ceased employment with the body. Read Reverend Nile’s second reading speech here.
During the resumed second reading debate on Wednesday, members from the Government and Opposition indicated they did not support the bill, while Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) spoke in support of it. You can read their contributions here. Following the debate, the question on the second reading was negatived on the voices.
Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020
The Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020 was introduced by Mr Latham (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) in May 2020. It would amend the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 to make it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their religious beliefs or activities. You can read Mr Latham’s second reading speech here.
During the second reading debate on Wednesday, members from the Government, Opposition and The Greens indicated they did not support the bill, while Rev Nile (Christian Democratic Party) spoke in favour of it. All contributions can be seen in the day’s Hansard record.
The second reading of the bill was negatived on division (four ayes to 29 noes), meaning it will not progress any further.
LIST OF GENERAL MOTIONS AND ORDERS FOR PAPERS
ORDERS FOR PAPERS
The following orders for papers were agreed to:
- Health funding and health infrastructure commitments (Mr Secord, Labor) – due 16 March 2022
- Redevelopment of Western Sydney University Milperra campus (Mr D’Adam, Labor) – due 16 March 2022
- Dungowan Dam, Wyangala Dam and Mole River Dam (Ms Faehrmann, The Greens) – due 28 February and 16 March 2022
- Appointment of Professor Joel Negin to the Firearms Registry Consultative Council – Further order (Mr Banasiak, Shooters Fishers and Farmers) – due 16 March 2022
- Disruption to rail services and industrial action (Mr Buttigieg, Labor) – due 2 March 2022
- Disruption to rail services and industrial action – Further order (Mr Mookhey, Labor) – due 16 March 2022
- Resources for Regions program – Further order (Ms Boyd, The Greens) – due 16 March 2022
- Advice on COVID-19 restrictions (Mr Graham, Labor) – due 16 March 2022
- New South Wales Animal Welfare Reform – Issues Paper (Mr Borsak, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) – due 16 March 2022
- Animal research – Further order (Ms Hurst, Animal Justice Party) – due 16 March 2022
- Approvals and conflicts of interest declarations for various grants (Mr Graham, Labor) – due 16 March 2022
- Rapid antigen tests (Mrs Houssos, Labor) – due 30 March 2022.
The following general motions were agreed to:
- Ballina Shire Annual Australia Day Ceremony (Ms Cusack, Liberal)
- 2021 Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence (Mr Martin, Liberal).