Three new pieces of legislation passed the Legislative Council on Thursday, including a bill to increase penalties relating to knife crimes, a bill to create new offences for assaults on NSW retail workers, and a bill to increase ICAC officers’ powers to access digital evidence. The House also heard about a new, informal protocol for members to access government documents and information, and confirmed membership of a number of parliamentary committees. Read on for more…


The Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment (Digital Evidence Access Orders) Bill 2023 – the ‘digital evidence bill’ – passed through the second reading and all remaining stages on Thursday. This government bill was introduced to the Council by the Hon John Graham, on behalf of the Hon Daniel Mookhey, after passing the Legislative Assembly.

The bill seeks to amend the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 to enable digital evidence access orders to be sought in relation to search warrants under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.

During the second reading speech, the Hon Anthony D’Adam, on behalf of Mr Mookhey, explained that the bill proposes to support the ICAC’s powers to investigate corruption and maladministration by ensuring that ICAC officers – similar to police officers and officers of the NSW Crime Commission – can seek digital evidence access orders alongside a search warrant that empower them to direct a person to unlock a digital device. Failure to comply with such a direction is a criminal offence, punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. More detail on the bill’s provisions is available in the second reading speech.

During the second reading debate, contributions were made by the Opposition, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, The Greens, and the Government. These contributions can be seen in full across the Hansard record here and here. Both the second and third readings were agreed to on the voices. The bill was returned to the Assembly without amendment and is now awaiting assent.


Passed by the Legislative Assembly earlier in the week, the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Assaults on Retail Workers) Bill 2023 was introduced in the Council by the Hon Mark Buttigieg on behalf of the Hon Daniel Mookhey.

The bill introduces new offences under the Crimes Act 1900: to assault, throw a missile at, stalk, harass or intimidate a retail worker in the course of their duty, but cause no actual bodily harm; to assault a retail worker and cause bodily harm; and to be reckless as to causing actual bodily harm. The bill also makes it clear that the above actions are also included in relation to a retail worker in the course of their duty, even if the worker is not on duty at the time, provided they are a consequence of (or in retaliation for) actions undertaken by worker in the course of their duty.

Further details can be found in Mr Buttigieg’s second reading speech.

During the second reading debate, contributions were made by members of the Government, the Opposition, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, the Legalise Cannabis Party, The Greens and the Liberal Democratic Party. Find all contributions in the Hansard record here.

Both the second and third readings were agreed to on the voices, and the bill returned to the Assembly without amendment, ready to be forwarded to the Governor for assent.


Introduced in the Council by the Hon Tara Moriarty on behalf of the Hon Daniel Moohkey, the Criminal Legislation Amendment (Knife Crimes) Bill 2023 amends the Crimes Act 1900 to double the penalty for the offences of possession of a knife in a public place or school, and for wielding a knife in a public place or school. The maximum fine for possession of a knife will increase from 20 penalty units to 40 penalty units, or $4400, and for wielding a knife from 50 penalty units to 100 penalty units, or $11,000. The bill was introduced by the Government in response to a number of serious knife‑related incidents in NSW. Further details can be found in the Minister’s second reading speech.

During the second reading debate, contributions were heard from members of the Opposition, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and The Greens. See all members’ contributions in the Hansard record.

The second and third readings of the bill were agreed to, the third reading on division (Ayes: 29/Noes: 6), with The Greens, Animal Justice Party and Liberal Democratic Party voting against the bill. The bill was then returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment, ready for the Governor’s assent.


As Deputy Leader of the Government in the Council, the Hon John Graham made a ministerial statement on Thursday relating to a new protocol for the proactive release of government information to Upper House members and tabled the related document, Protocol for proactive release of government information to Members of the Legislative Council.

In his statement, seen in Hansard here, Mr Graham acknowledged the large number of orders for papers made under the House’s standing order 52 during the previous Parliament, and said that to increase transparency and alleviate logistical burdens, the new protocol introduces alternative mechanisms for the disclosure of government information in certain circumstances. These measures include the potential to brief members on initiatives, policies, programs and decisions, including by request, and a way for members to make special requests for certain documents instead of making orders under standing order 52 in the chamber. In cases where Minsters are unable to table documents voluntarily – such as for reasons of confidentiality or privilege – standing order 52 would remain the appropriate course to seek information.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Council, the Hon Damien Tudehope, spoke in reply, describing the protocol as a constructive way to facilitate quick and early access to documents and noting that it would, of course, not replace the House’s power under standing order 52.


The 58th Parliament continues to establish and appoint members to its committees, and on Thursday the memberships of eight joint statutory and standing committees with the Legislative Assembly were agreed to, ranging from the Committee on Children and Young People to the Committee on the Independent Commission Against Corruption. See a full list of joint and other parliamentary committees here, where you can click through to learn more about their membership and inquiry work.

Meanwhile, in the previous sitting week the House agreed to establish the Animal Welfare Committee as a new standing committee, and on Thursday – with two nominations existing for one remaining crossbench position – a ballot was held to fill the remaining position on the committee. The ballot was conducted under standing order 139, with the Hon Robert Borsak elected to fill the position with 19 votes to the Hon John Ruddick’s 18 votes. Learn about the Animal Welfare Committee here.


Under the Judicial Officers Act 1986, the Parliament is responsible for nominating community representatives to the Conduct Division of the Judicial Commission of NSW – and on Thursday the House agreed to the latest nominations.

Did you know? The Judicial Commission conducts preliminary examinations of complaints received about judicial officers, and where these cases aren’t dismissed or referred to the relevant head of jurisdiction, they’re referred to a specific Conduct Division, constituted by a panel of two judicial officers and one of the two community representatives nominated by the Parliament.


The following motions were agreed to without debate, during the morning’s formal business:


One statutory report was reported in the House on Thursday: the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s June 2023 report, Investigation into the conduct of the then Member of Parliament for Wagga Wagga and then Premier and others (Operation Keppel), volumes 1 and 2.

Government responses were also received for the following committee reports from the previous Parliament:

A full list of other documents received and tabled can be found in the Tabled Papers Database.

Leave a Reply