• Caterina Sullivan

This Fortnight in Parliament 19/10 - 29/10

Updated: Nov 13, 2020



It has been a big sitting fortnight for the Lower House and a couple of weeks of very interesting Estimates for the Upper House.


Tomorrow, I will be releasing a video on my YouTube channel covering the major news in politics from the past two weeks.


In the meantime, let's look at the legislation that was presented and passed in the House of Representatives over the past two weeks and a brief summary of what each of the Bills aims to change in Australia.


Bills Presented in the House


Aged Care Amendment (Aged Care Recipient Classification) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 21, 2020

- Revitalisation of classification system for Aged Care recipients


Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Financial Transparency) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 19, 2020

- Aged care facilities must disclose expenses, including staff wages and training and annual income

- Aged care facilities required to submit an annual report to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

- Private Members' Bill sponsored by Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance for Mayo) and seconded by Zali Steggall (Independent for Warringah)


Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 2) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 21, 2020

- Home care providers to be paid in arrears instead of in advance


Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment (Making Gambling Businesses Accountable) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 26, 2020

- Ensures gambling entities are more accountable and do not profit off illegal behaviour

- Puts positive obligation on gambling companies to report to AUSTRAC if someone is suspected of gambling with money obtained illegally

- Private Members' Bill sponsored by Andrew Wilkie (Independent for Clark) and seconded by Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance for Mayo)


Australian Federal Integrity Commission Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 26, 2020

- Technical amendments proposed by the AECon to ensure politicians are conducting themselves with integrity (basically anti-corruption - but not wanting to be focused on the negative - focusing on the positive of pro-integrity)

- Private Members' Bill sponsored by Helen Haines (Independent for Indi) and seconded by Zali Steggall (Independent for Warringah)


Commonwealth Parliamentary Standards Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 26, 2020

- Complementary to Australian Federal Integrity Commission Bill 2020

- Statutory code of conduct for politicians and staff

- Private Members' Bill sponsored by Helen Haines (Independent for Indi) and seconded by Zali Steggall (Independent for Warringah)


Family Law Amendment (Risk Screening Protections) Bill 2020

- Passed Senate last sitting block (October 8, 2020) after introduction on August 26, 2020

- Introduced to House on October 19, 2020

- Initiated in the Senate

- The Lighthouse Project

- Domestic violence risk screening pilot program

- Currently being trialed Adelaide, Brisbane and Parramatta


Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Fees Imposition Amendment Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 28, 2020

- Updated foreign investment framework to include new departments and agencies

- Includes new national security test


Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 28, 2020

- New national security test

- New last report power to Treasurer

- Stronger compliance and enforcement powers through increased penalties

- New register of foreign-owned assets


Health Insurance Amendment (Compliance Administration) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 29, 2020

- Change to Medicare

- Benefits are recoverable if incorrect information provided on a claim leads to overpayment, even in the case of a mistake


Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 28, 2020

- Provide new definition of academic freedom

- Substitute 'free intellectual inquiry' with 'freedom of speech' and 'academic freedom'


Immigration (Education) Amendment (Expanding Access to English Tuition) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 29, 2020

- Change free English language tuition offering from 510-hour limit to until proficient

- Extend eligibility for vocational English

- Remove limits on enrollment, commencement and completion of English language courses for certain visa holders

- Add providers outside of Australia for those who have been granted a permanent visa


Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Coronavirus and Other Measures) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 22, 2020

- Temporary incentives in income support system to encourage young Australians to undertake seasonal agricultural work

- Revised paid parental leave work test period

- Changes to payments to families affected by stillbirth and infant death

- Changes to child support payment trend estimates due to COVID


Sport Integrity Australia Amendment (World Anti-Doping Code Review) Bill 2020

- Passed Senate last sitting block (October 8, 2020) after introduction on August 26, 2020

- Introduced to House on October 19, 2020

- Initiated in Senate

- To line up anti-doping laws with revisions from World Anti-Doping Code which come into effect January 1, 2021


Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 4) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on October 28, 2020

- No tax payable on refunds of large-scale generation certificate shortfall changes

- Facilitate closure of Superannuation Complaints Tribunal

- Establishment of more effective enforcement regime


Bills Presented in the Senate


Not applicable


Bills Passed Lower House


Aged Care Amendment (Improved Home Care. Payment Administration No.1) Bill 2020

- Introduced to the House on February 27, 2020

- Passed October 28, 2020

- Changes how home-care providers are paid by the government (now they will be paid based on what they charge, not off estimates from previous months)

Economic recovery package (Job Marker Hiring Credit) Amendment Bill 2020

- Introduced to the House last sitting block (October 7, 2020)

- Passed October 19, 2020

- Economic assistance for businesses hiring young people as part of COVID recovery

National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill 2020

- Introduced to the House on August 27, 2020

- Passed October 21, 2020

- Establishes a National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide


National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention (Consequential Amendments Bill) 2020

- Introduced to the House on August 27, 2020

- Passed October 21, 2020

- Supports the National Commission for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill


Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020

- Introduced to the House on August 27, 2020

- Passed October 28, 2020

- Bans export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres


Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (Customs) Bill 2020

- Introduced to the House on August 27, 2020

- Passed October 28, 2020

- Supports the Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill

- Cost recovery mechanism

- Imposes charges only when considered duty of customs


Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (Excise) Bill 2020

- Introduced to the House on August 27, 2020

- Passed October 28, 2020

- Supports the Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill

- Cost recovery mechanism

- Imposes charges only when considered duty of excise


Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (General) Bill 2020

- Introduced to the House on August 27, 2020

- Passed October 28, 2020

- Supports the Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill

- Cost recovery mechanism

- Enables recovery costs associated with program management and administration, vertification and risk and compliance activities


Recycling and Waste Reduction (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2020

- Introduced to the House on August 27, 2020

- Passed October 28, 2020

- Supports the Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill

- Repeals Product Stewardship Act 2011 (being replaced by Chapter 3 Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill)

- Provides for continuation of existing accredited voluntary and co-regulatory arrangements


Services Australia Governance Amendment Bill 2020

- Introduced to the House on May 13, 2020

- Passed October 20, 2020

- Updates Bill to refer use the name Services Australia

- Updates Bill to reflect the correct responsible persons


Bills Passed Upper House


Not applicable


Bills Passed Both Houses for Royal Assent


Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Consumer Law - Country of Origin Representations) Bill 2020

- Presented to Senate on June 17, 2020 before passing on August 27, 2020 and being introduced to House on the same day

- Passed House October 27, 2020

- Initiated in Senate

- New regulations for Australian manufactured medications

- Introduction of information standard to govern labelling for Australian origin claims


Electoral Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2020

- Presented to Senate on June 11, 2020 before passing on September 3, 2020 and being introduced to House on October 6, 2020

- Passed House October 29, 2020

- Initiated in the Senate

- Modernising Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) workplace practices

- Technical amendments proposed by the AEC

- Modernising electoral processes

- Clarification of interaction between federal and State electoral laws, especially around donations


Acts of Parliament


Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020

- Passed Senate last sitting block (October 8, 2020) after introduction in House on August 26, 2020

- Assent granted October 27, 2020

- Act Number 93

- Additional university places for Australian students

- More support for regional students and universities

- Public funding for universities directed towards areas of expected employment growth

- Extension of Commonwealth support to more work experience units

- Better funding and pathways for psychology and social work courses

- Matching student contributions with Commonwealth contributions

- National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund ($900 million)

- Increased support for regional, rural, indigenous and low socio-economic status students

- Reduced loan fee for FEE-HELP loan from 25% to 20%


Payment Times Reporting Bill 2020

- Passed Senate September 3, 2020 after introduction in House on May 13, 2020

- Assent granted October 14, 2020

- Act Number 91

- Requires large businesses and government enterprises with a total annual income of over $100 million to report on small business payment terms and times


Treasury Laws Amendment (A Tax Plan for the COVID-19 Economic Recovery) Bill 2020

- Passed Senate last sitting block (October 9, 2020) after introduction in House on October 7, 2020

- Assent granted October 14, 2020

- Act Number 92

- Covers changes to taxation announced in Budget 2020

- Lowering taxes for 11 million individuals paying personal income tax


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