Thursday’s government business saw eight bills before the Legislative Council. The day included a return to debate on the ‘Family is Culture’ Bill, the passage of a bill relating to the upcoming state election, and consideration of a bill that would facilitate the confiscation of the proceeds of crime. With plenty more debated, read on for details…
MINISTERIAL STATEMENT: TRIBUTE TO DAVID PEARCE
Early in the sitting day, a Ministerial Statement was made by Minister Bronnie Taylor, recognising the recent passing of Mr David Pearce, who worked for NSW Health for more than 40 years. You can find the Statement and contributions from other members in the Hansard record here.
CHILDREN AND YOUNG PERSONS (CARE AND PROTECTION) AMENDMENT (FAMILY IS CULTURE) BILL 2022
On Thursday, debate resumed on the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment (Family is Culture) Bill 2022,after the bill’s introduction in the House by Minister Natasha Maclaren-Jones to the House in the previous sitting week. The bill amends the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 to implement several recommendations from the 2019 report Family is Culture: Independent Review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care in New South Wales.
Members’ contributions to the second reading debate can be found in Hansard. With the second reading agreed to on division (35 ayes to two noes from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation), the House resolved into committee of the whole.
- One amendment was moved by the Hon Penny Sharpe on behalf of the Opposition, which was agreed to on the voices
- Fourteen amendments (found here and here) were moved by Ms Sue Higginson on behalf of The Greens, with two agreed to on division and 12 negatived on the voices
- Ten amendments were moved by the Hon Mark Latham on behalf of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, with nine negatived on division and one on the voices.
With the third reading then agreed to on the voices, the bill was forwarded to the Legislative Assembly for its consideration of the Council’s amendments.
STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) BILL (NO 2) 2022
The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (No 2) 2022 was introduced in the Council by Parliamentary Secretary Lou Amato on behalf of Minister Sarah Mitchell.
Such ‘Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions)’ bills allow the government to make a host of minor amendments across a broad range of Acts in a single bill. This continues the State Law Revision (SLR) Program, which has been in place for more than 35 years and involves the regular and ongoing review of the statute book. By making minor policy changes, removing typographical errors, updating cross-references and repealing redundant provisions, this seeks to keep NSW’s regulatory regime up to date and accurate.
With the second and third readings agreed to on the voices, the bill was returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment, ready to be forwarded to the Governor for assent.
CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT (APPOINTMENT OF LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR AND ADMINISTRATOR) BILL 2022
The Constitution Amendment (Appointment of Lieutenant-Governor and Administrator) Bill 2022 was introduced in the Council by Parliamentary Secretary Lou Amato on behalf of Minister Sarah Mitchell.
Based on advice from the Solicitor General, the bill amends the Constitution Act 1902 to clarify that the appointment of persons to the office of Lieutenant-Governor of the State, as well as the Administrator of the State, is to be made by the Governor of NSW. Current legislative provisions allow for only the Sovereign to appoint these positions.
Did you know? Under the NSW Constitution, an Administrator and Lieutenant-Governor are appointed to assume the administration of the state in the event of a vacancy in the office of Governor, or if the Governor is unavailable.
With the second and third readings agreed to on the voices, the bill was ready to be forwarded to the Governor for assent, via the Assembly.
ELECTORAL LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (NO 2) 2022
Parliamentary Secretary Peter Poulos introduced the Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill (No 2) 2022 on behalf of Minister Sarah Mitchell. In amending the Electoral Act 2017, the bill aims to better facilitate the upcoming state election, and to improve administration of the NSW Electoral Commission.
The bill’s changes include making further provisions relating to postal voting, and extending telephone voting to those who may be required to isolate due to COVID-19. It also clarifies authorisation requirements for automated telephone calls, amendments to facilitate overseas declaration voting, and allows the Electoral Commissioner to appoint an acting Electoral Commissioner outside an election period.
The bill also amends the Government Sector Finance Act 2018 to make the Commissioner the accountable authority for the NSW Electoral Commission.
Consideration of this bill followed the passage of the Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 through the House last week, which also made a number of amendments to the Electoral Act 2017.
Following debate and with second and third readings agreed to on the voices, the bill was returned to the Legislative Assembly for forwarding to the Governor for assent.
CONFISCATION OF PROCEEDS OF CRIME LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2022
The Confiscation of Proceeds of Crime Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 was introduced in the Council by Parliamentary Secretary Shayne Mallard on behalf of Minister Sarah Mitchell. Intending to better enable the efficient and effective confiscation of proceeds of crime and unexplained wealth from serious criminal networks, the bill introduces significant amendments to legislation including the…
- Confiscation of Proceeds of Crime Act 1989
- Crime Commission Act 2012
- Criminal Assets Recovery Act 1990
- Criminal Assets Recovery Regulation 2017
- Criminal Procedure Act 1986
- Unexplained Wealth (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2018.
Among its many changes, the bill gives law enforcement agencies certain powers to seize and forfeit property connected to persons involved in serious crime offences (such as serious drug offences); provides additional powers to the NSW Crime Commission to conduct investigations; sets out the circumstances in which the Supreme Court must make an unexplained wealth order; and provides for the NSW Crime and Police Commissioners to require financial institutions to supply information about a person’s transactions or assets. The bill also implements recommendations arising from the statutory review of the Crime Commission Act 2012 and the Criminal Assets Recovery Act 1990.
With the second reading agreed to on the voices, the bill was reported without amendment, read a third time on the voices and returned to the Assembly. It now awaits assent.
ELECTRONIC CONVEYANCING ENFORCEMENT BILL 2022
The Electronic Conveyancing Enforcement Bill 2022 was introduced in the Council by Parliamentary Secretary Peter Poulos on behalf of Minister Damien Tudehope.
The bill establishes mechanisms to enforce the Electronic Conveyancing National Law (ECNL) in NSW. The ECNL regulates the operation of electronic conveyancing, or ‘eConveyancing’, in Australia.
The standalone NSW eConveyancing enforcement scheme will operate alongside the national regime, with the aim of making land transactions more secure and seamless. The bill aims to encourage Electronic Lodgement Network Operators to comply with the electronic conveyancing legal framework and to minimise adverse impacts on other parties involved in or affected by electronic conveyancing transactions, by conferring additional enforcement powers on the Registrar-General.
With the second reading agreed to on the voices, the House resolved into committee of the whole. Four amendments were moved by Ms Abigail Boyd on behalf of The Greens, all agreed to on the voices.
With the third reading agreed to, the bill was then forwarded to the Legislative Assembly for its consideration of the Council’s amendments.
BUILDING AND OTHER FAIR TRADING LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2022
The Building and Other Fair Trading Legislative Amendment Bill 2022 was introduced to the House by Parliamentary Secretary Peter Poulos on behalf of Minister Damien Tudehope. It amends a number of Acts that are administered by the Minister for Fair Trading encompassing building and construction, including the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020, the Explosives Act 2003, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement) Act 2020 and the Land and Environment Court Act 1979.
The amendments in the bill seek to clarify the powers of the building regulator to address serious defects in residential apartment buildings; increase penalties for failing to comply with building notification requirements; and identify the building regulator actions that can be made publicly available. The changes also aim to enhance data- and information-sharing between government agencies, universities and engaged consultants and contractors; recognise decennial (inherent defect) liability insurance as a critical consumer protection product; increase maximum penalties for explosives offences; clarify regulation-making powers in the Explosives Act 2003 and more.
With the second reading agreed to on the voices, the House resolved into the committee of the whole. In committee, one amendment was moved by Ms Abigail Boyd on behalf of The Greens, which was agreed to on the voices.
The third reading of the bill was then agreed to and the bill was then forwarded to the Legislative Assembly for its consideration of the Council’s amendment.
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AMENDMENT (DISPUTE ORDERS) BILL 2022
The Industrial Relations Amendment (Dispute Orders) Bill 2022 was introduced in the Council by Minister Damien Tudehope back in August, and on Thursday debate on the bill took place.
The bill sought to amend the Industrial Relations Act 1996 to deal with breaches of orders made by the Industrial Relations Commission prohibiting industrial action. The bill intended to increase the maximum penalties for contraventions of dispute orders and remove the prohibition on the Supreme Court awarding costs in relation to proceedings for contraventions of dispute orders.
When the question was put for the bill to be read a second time, the House divided with 12 ayes (from members of the Government, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Independent Rev the Hon Fred Nile) and 14 noes (from members of the Opposition, The Greens, Animal Justice Party and Independent Mr Justin Field). With the motion negatived, the bill did not progress further.