With spirited debate in committee of the whole, Tuesday saw the completed passage of one bill through the Legislative Council: the Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, which makes certain provisions for the upcoming state election and beyond. The Bicentenary of the Council also had an important moment during a break in proceedings. Read on for details…
ELECTORAL LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2022
Debate on the Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 took place right across the sitting day. The bill was introduced during the previous sitting week, and you can visit our earlier blog to read about this introduction and the second reading debate here (scroll to the bottom). In short, the bill amends the Electoral Act 2017 and the Electoral Funding Act 2018 ahead of the 2023 state election. Its changes span a variety of matters, from the public funding of election campaigns to changes to postal voting provisions.
Tuesday began with Minister Damien Tudehope’s speech in reply. With the second reading of the bill then agreed to, the House resolved into committee of the whole.
In committee, six amendments were considered. These included:
- Three amendments moved by the Hon John Graham on behalf of the Opposition, found here and here – one agreed to on the voices, and two agreed to on division
- One amendment moved by Ms Cate Faehrmann (The Greens), negatived on division
- Two amendments moved by Ms Abigail Body (The Greens), negatived on division when the Chair of Committees cast his vote with the noes, after an equality of votes.
Under the House’s standing orders, if numbers for both the ‘ayes’ and ‘noes’ are equal in a division, the Chair must give a casting vote. In doing so, the Chair may give reasons for casting their vote in a particular way. The Chair (the Hon Wes Fang, Nationals) noted that he was voting in accordance with established principles – that a casting vote on an amendment to a bill should leave the bill in its existing form.
Following the committee stage, the bill was reported with amendments, read a third time on the voices, and returned to the Legislative Assembly for consideration of the amendments.
DURING THE DINNER BREAK: OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE BICENTENARY PROGRAM
Early in the sitting day, President Matthew Mason-Cox announced that the evening would bring a special event: the launch of the official program of events commemorating the Bicentenary of the Legislative Council.
When debate in the House was interrupted for the nightly dinner break, members joined some 350 guests for the official launch, delivered by the Governor of NSW – and Patron of the Bicentenary – Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC. Watch an overview of the Bicentenary program launch below, and discover Her Excellency’s full speech on the Bicentenary website.