The first private members’ day of the sitting fortnight saw the Legislative Council debate nearly 10 general motions and a handful of orders for papers, while a new bill to introduce a ‘public interest exemption’ for the possession or publication of otherwise unlawful surveillance recordings was introduced. The House also agreed to a number of motions during the morning’s formal business. Read on for more…


The Surveillance Devices Amendment (Public Interest Exemptions) Bill 2023 was introduced by the Hon Emma Hurst (Animal Justice Party). This bill would amend the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 to create a public interest exemption for the offences of publication or possession of a recording obtained using an unlawful surveillance device. In essence, this would mean that sharing or possessing an unlawfully obtained recording of a private conversation or activity – if taken for the purpose of the public interest in the legal sense of the concept – would no longer be an offence. 

In her second reading speech, Ms Hurst highlighted that a 2018 Upper House inquiry recommended that the government “review the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 to consider whether to insert a public interest exemption for unauthorised filming or surveillance”. She said that the exemption would allow journalists in particular, and other individuals, to publish or communicate recordings provided those recordings can legally be established to be in the public interest. The bill does not seek to remove the offence of installing, using or maintaining listening and surveillance devices. Find full details in Ms Hurst’s second reading speech.

After its introduction in the chamber, the bill was adjourned for five calendar days according to standing order.


The following motions were debated in the House over the course of the day:

Topic of motionMoved byAgreed to?
Attack on Israel (also continued in Hansard here)The Hon Bob Nanva (Labor)Agreed to on division (Ayes: 36/Noes: 4)
Development application of Senator Mehreen FaruqiThe Hon Mark Banasiak (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)Agreed to
Solidarity with IsraelThe Hon Damien Tudehope (Liberal)Negatived on division (Ayes: 20/Noes: 21)
Hamish and Andy podcast comments regarding GPsDr Amanda Cohn (The Greens)Agreed to
Harvestable rights in coastal draining catchmentsThe Hon Sarah Mitchell (Nationals)Negatived on division (Ayes: 16/Noes: 20)
Drug harm minimisation at music festivalsThe Hon Jeremy Buckingham (Legalise Cannabis Party)Agreed to on division (Ayes: 17/Noes: 13)
Funding for dams in NSWThe Hon Sarah Mitchell (Nationals)Negatived
Voice to Parliament referendumThe Hon Bob Nanva (Labor)Agreed to on division (Ayes: 24/Noes: 11)
Impact of the 2023-2024 Budget on housing affordabilityThe Hon Scott Farlow (Liberal)Negatived

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


RequestMoved byAgreed to?Due date
Papers relating to local and community grants decisionsThe Hon Chris Rath (Liberal)Agreed to, as amended1 November 2023
Papers relating to the tasering incident in Cooma (further order)The Hon Rod Roberts (Independent)Agreed to, as amended18 October 2023
Papers relating to Sydney Metro governanceMs Cate Faehrmann (The Greens)Agreed to1 November 2023
Papers relating to the Palestinian protest event, Sydney, 9 October 2023The Hon Rod Roberts (Independent)Agreed to18 October 2023

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