• Caterina Sullivan

This Week in Parliament 9/11 - 12/11



This week has been a single sitting week for both the Upper and Lower House.


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


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


Bills Presented in the House


Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on November 9, 2020

- Regular risk assessment, adaptation and resilience plans

- Establishes independent Climate Change Commission

- Adopts Government's low emissions technology statements

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


Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on November 9, 2020

- Supports Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill

- Repeals Climate Change Authority

- Ensures the proposed Climate Change Commission has a commissioner of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent

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


Corporations Amendment (Corporate Insolvency Reforms) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on November 12, 2020

- Formal debt restructuring process for small business

- New simplified liquidation pathway for small business


Corporations (Fees) Amendment (Hayne Royal Commission Response) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on November 12, 2020

- Industry-wide deferred sales model for all add-on insurance products


Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment (Refunds of Charges and Other Measures) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on November 11, 2020

- Enables education providers to provide access to a wide range of supplementary courses, including short duration courses and micro-credentials for overseas students

- Provides a mechanism to act quickly to support the international education sector in times of emergency


Export Control Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on November 11, 2020

- Provides for several minor amendments to the Export Control Act to ensure a smooth transition and implementation of the new export control framework for exporters

- Clarifies the application of the fit and proper person test to alterations or variations requested by occupiers of registered establishments


Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on November 12, 2020

- Implements 21 of the commitments made by the government after the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry


Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Extension of Coronavirus Support) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on November 12, 2020

- Introduces a new time-limited instrument-making power, allowing the government to respond flexibly to any changes in circumstances which might arise as a result of COVID-19 in the first quarter of next year, while parliament may not be sitting

- Permanently repeals provisions providing temporary exemptions to the liquid assets test waiting period and assets tests

- Introduces a discretionary power under the social security and veterans' entitlements assets tests to extend the principal home temporary absence provisions


Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measurers No. 5) Bill 2020

- Introduced to House on November 11, 2020

- New legislative instrument making power into the income tax laws to make eligible state and territory coronavirus business grants free from income tax

- Authority for ATO to transfer the unclaimed super of New Zealand residents directly to KiwiSaver funds

- Includes Neighbourhood Watch Australasia Limited on the list of deductible gift recipients


Bills Presented in the Senate


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

- Passed Lower House last sitting block (October 28, 2020) after introduction on February 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 9, 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)


Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 11, 2020) after introduction on October 17, 2019

- Referred to Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on November 14, 2019 before being tabled on March 10, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 12, 2020

- Stricter customer due dilligence

- Requires banks to conduct appropriate due diligence on correspondent banking relationships

- Travellers must declare, in addition to physical currency, bearer negotiable instruments, such as travellers' cheques where the combined amount is $10,000 or more

- Increases the penalties for failing to comply with cross-border declaration requirements


Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2020 - 2021

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 12, 2020) after introduction on October 6, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 12, 2020

- The budget

- See more information in this blog post


Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2020 - 2021

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 12, 2020) after introduction on October 6, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 12, 2020

- Supports Appropriation Bill (No. 1)


Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2020 - 2021

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 12, 2020) after introduction on October 6, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 12, 2020

- Supports Appropriation Bill (No. 1)


Australia's Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Bill 2020

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 11, 2020) after introduction on September 3, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 12, 2020

- Enables the Minister for Foreign Affairs to assess arrangements between State, Territory or local governments or an Australian public university and a foreign government, and related entities, and determine whether they adversely affect Australia's foreign relations or are inconsistent with Australia's foreign policy

- Requires approval from the Minister for Foreign Affairs before States and Territories commence negotiations or enter into a core arrangement

- Empowers the Foreign Minister to review any existing or prospective arrangement between state, territory and local government entities - including Australian public universities - and foreign governments


Australia's Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 11, 2020) after introduction on September 3, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 12, 2020

- Supports Australia's Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Bill 2020


Family Law Amendment (Western Australia De Facto Superannuation Splitting and Bankruptcy) Bill 2020

- Formerly cited under the same name but in 2019 as opposed to 2020

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 9, 2020) after introduction on November 27, 2019

- Referred to Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs December 5, 2019 before being tabled on March 13, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 11, 2020

- Brings Western Australian De Facto law up to the same law as other states and territories


Migration Amendment (New Maritime Crew Visas) Bill 2020

- Initiated in Senate on November 11, 2020

- Replaces the current Maritime Crew Visa with two new categories of Maritime Crew Visas

- Private Senator's Bill sponsored by Senator Kristina Keneally (Labor for New South Wales)


National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill 2020

- Passed Lower House last sitting block (October 21, 2020) after introduction on August 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 9, 2020

- Establishes a National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide


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

- Passed Lower House last sitting block (October 21, 2020) after introduction on August 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 9, 2020

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


Native Title Amendment (Infrastructure and Public Facilities) Bill 2020

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 9, 2020) after introduction on October 8, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 9, 2020

- Extends operation of section 24JAA for a further 10 years

- Focusing on public housing for First Nations peoples


Native Title Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

- Formerly cited under the same name but in 2019 as opposed to 2020

- Presented in 2019 on October 17 before being referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on October 17, 2019 and tabled on August 19, 2020

- Passed November 10, 2020

- Supports the capacity of native title holders through greater flexibility around internal decision-making

- Streamlines claims resolution and agreement-making processes

- Allows historical extinguishment to be disregarded over areas of national, state or territory parks with the agreement of the parties

- Increases the transparency and accountability of particular native title corporations, known as prescribed bodies corporate or registered native title bodies corporate, to native title holders

- Improves pathways for dispute resolution following a determination of native title


Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment (Reform and Modernisation) Bill 2020

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 12, 2020) after introduction on August 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 12, 2020

- Extends maximum spectrum licence terms from 15 to 20 years and maximum apparatus licence terms from 5 to 20 years

- Provides greater flexibility in decision making for allocating spectrum licences and apparatus licences

- Modernises the compliance and enforcement regime through increased regulatory options

- Clarifies roles and responsibilities of Minister in setting government policy

- Regulates equipment through statutory rules that prescribe technical standards, record keeping requirements and labelling obligations


Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Amendment Bill 2020

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 12, 2020) after introduction on August 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 12, 2020

- Supports Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment (Reform and Modernisation) Bill 2020


Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Amendment Bill 2020

- Passed Lower House this sitting block (November 12, 2020) after introduction on August 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 12, 2020

- Supports Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment (Reform and Modernisation) Bill 2020


Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020

- Passed Lower House last sitting block (October 28, 2020) after introduction on August 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 9, 2020

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


Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (Customs) Bill 2020

- Passed Lower House last sitting block (October 28, 2020) after introduction on August 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 9, 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

- Passed Lower House last sitting block (October 28, 2020) after introduction on August 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 9, 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

- Passed Lower House last sitting block (October 28, 2020) after introduction on August 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 9, 2020

- Supports the Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill

- Cost recovery mechanism

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


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

- Passed Lower House last sitting block (October 28, 2020) after introduction on August 27, 2020

- Introduced to Senate on November 9, 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


Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Protecting Consumers from Predatory Leasing Practices) Bill 2020

- Initiated in Senate on November 12, 2020

- Removes the potential for clients in receipt of social security payments from Services Australia to suffer financial harm as a result of entering into one or more consumer leases for household goods for which Centrepay deductions are available

- Private Senator's Bill sponsored by Senator Jenny McAllister (Labor for New South Wales)


VET Student Payment Arrangements (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2020

- Initiated in Senate on November 12, 2020

- Revokes the approval of remaining vocational education and training providers that operated under the VET FEE-HELP scheme

- Provides for the continuing application of the law for the purposes of dealing with any matters that arose while a body was approved under the VET FEE-HELP scheme


Transport Security Amendment (Serious Crime) Bill 2020

- Formerly cited under the same name but in 2019 as opposed to 2020

- Passed Lower House October 7, 2020 after introduction on October 23, 2019

- Referred to Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs November 28, 2019 before being tabled on March 25, 2020

- Introduced to Senate November 9, 2020

- Broadens the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 and the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 to include provisions to address crime



Bills Passed Lower House


Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Provider Category Standards and Other Measures) Bill 2020

- Introduced to the House on September 2, 2020

- Passed November 12, 2020

- Amends the TEQSA Act 2011 to facilitate implementation of the recommendations of Emeritus Professor Coaldrake AO's review of the higher education provider category standards

- Guarantees higher education students will have future access to their student records, even if their institution ceases to operate

- Protects the use of the word 'university' in Australian internet domain names

- Confirms that higher education providers can use Indigenous student assistance grants to assist prospective and existing Indigenous students


Bills Passed Upper House


Not applicable


Bills Passed Both Houses for Royal Assent


Biosecurity Amendment (Traveller Declarations and Other Measures) Bill 2020

- Presented to House on June 17, 2020 before passing on October 7, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on the same day

- Passed Senate November 11, 2020

- Enable infringement notices with higher value to be issued for goods that have not been declared on incoming passenger card


Broadcasting Services Amendment (Regional and Commercial Radio and Other Measures) Bill 2020

- Presented to House on June 11, 2020 before passing on November 9, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on November 10

- Passed Senate November 12, 2020 - Amends the local content framework for commercial radio licensees

- Allows licensees to split their exemption period to cover multiple holiday periods and allows licensees to self-nominate their own exemption periods

- Removes public holidays from the minimum service standards obligation

- Removes the requirement for licensees to publish local content plans


Economic Recovery Package (JobMaker Hiring Credit) Amendment Bill 2020

- Presented to House on October 7, 2020 before passing on October 19, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on November 9

- Passed Senate November 10, 2020

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


Education Legislation Amendment (Up-front Payments Tuition Protection) 2020

- Presented to House on August 26, 2020 before passing on November 9, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on November 10

- Passed Senate November 12, 2020

- Enables Australia's tuition protection arrangements to be extended to cover domestic students who pay their tuition fees for their studies upfront


Fair Work Amendment (Improving Unpaid Parental Leave for Parents of Stillborn Babies and Other Measures) Bill 2020

- Presented to House on September 3, 2020 before passing on November 9, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on the same day

- Passed Senate November 12, 2020

- Provides parents with more support and clarity around their unpaid parental leave entitlements where they experience a stillbirth or the death of a child in the first two years of life


Family Law Amendment (Risk Screening Protections) Bill 2020

- Presented to Senate on August 26, 2020 before passing on October 8, 2020 and being introduced to the House on October 19

- Passed House November 9, 2020

- Initiated in the Senate

- The Lighthouse Project

- Domestic violence risk screening pilot program

- Currently being trialed Adelaide, Brisbane and Parramatta


Health Insurance Amendment (Administration) Bill 2020

- Presented to House on September 3, 2020 before passing on November 10, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on the same day

- Passed Senate November 12, 2020

- Removes the annual sunset period for the regulations which prescribe the table of medical, diagnostic imaging and pathology services covered by the MBS

- Removes a number of provisions in the Health Insurance Act which are no longer required as they do not reflect current administrative practices


Higher Education (Up-front Payments Tuition Protection Levy) Bill 2020

- Presented to House on August 26, 2020 before passing on November 9, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on November 10

- Passed Senate November 12, 2020

- Enables Australia's tuition protection arrangements to be extended to cover domestic students who pay their tuition fees for their studies upfront


National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Strengthening Banning Orders) Bill 2020

- Presented to House on June 12, 2020 before passing on October 7, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on November 9

- Passed Senate November 12, 2020

- Strengthens existing powers of NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner to ban workers or providers from delivering services


Services Australia Governance Amendment Bill 2020

- Presented to House on May 13, 2020 before passing on October 20, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on November 9

- Passed Senate November 12, 2020

- Updates Bill to refer use the name Services Australia

- Updates Bill to reflect the correct responsible persons


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

- Presented to House on October 22, 2020 before passing on November 9, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on the same day

- Passed Senate November 11, 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


Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Omnibus) Bill 2020

- Presented to House on May 13, 2020 before passing on November 10, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on the same day

- Passed Senate November 12, 2020

- Technical and administrative amendments to support service delivery


Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Supporting the Wellbeing of Veterans and Their Families) Bill 2020

- Presented to House on May 13, 2020 before passing on November 10, 2020 and being introduced to Senate on the same day

- Passed Senate November 12, 2020

- Extends appointment of Gwen Cherne to also be appointed as a commissioner on the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission

- Facilitates flexibility in the way programs can be designed to assist the transition from the ADF to the civilian workforce

- Employment by allowing for the establishment of new programs such as the Support for Employment Program

- Fixes an unintended omission that has meant the energy supplement has not been payable to some gold card holders because they are covered under different legislation


Acts of Parliament


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

- Passed House last sitting block (October 27, 2020) after introduction in Senate on June 17, 2020

- Assent granted November 10, 2020

- Act Number 94

- New regulations for Australian manufactured medications

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


Electoral Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2020

- Passed House last sitting block (October 29, 2020) after introduction in Senate on June 11, 2020

- Assent granted November 10, 2020

- Act Number 95

- Modernising Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) workplace practices

- Technical amendements proposed by the AEC

- Modernising electoral processes

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


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