Parliamentary update: 24-26 November, 2-4 December 2020

The Queensland Parliament sat from 24 to 26 November 2020 for the first session of the 57th Parliament of Queensland following the state election, and also sat from 2 to 4 December 2020, to introduce the Budget and further legislation.

Opening of Parliament

On 24 November 2020, Parliament was opened, the writs for the various electoral districts were returned and the new members of Parliament gave their oaths and affirmations of allegiance and of office. Curtis Pitt, the Member for Mulgrave, was elected as Speaker and the official photograph of members in the chamber was taken.

On 25 November 2020, following the ceremonial opening of the 57th Parliament, Uncle Joe Kirk, Turrbal elder, addressed the new Parliament.

The Governor, his Excellency Paul de Jersey AC, then outlined the Government’s key priorities in his opening speech:

  • Safeguarding our health: Safeguarding our health and jobs by keeping Queensland pandemic-ready.
  • Supporting jobs: Supporting increased jobs in more industries to diversify our economy and grow our existing strengths in agriculture, resources and tourism.
  • Backing small business: Helping small business, the backbone of our economy, thrive in a changing environment.
  • Making it for Queensland: Growing manufacturing across traditional and new industries, making new products in new ways and creating new jobs.
  • Building Queensland: Driving investment in the infrastructure that supports our recovery, resilience and future prosperity.
  • Growing our regions: Helping Queensland’s regions grow by attracting people, talent and investment, and driving sustainable economic prosperity.
  • Investing in skills: Ensuring Queenslanders have the skills they need to find meaningful jobs and set up pathways for the future.
  • Backing our frontline services: Deliver world-class frontline service delivery in key areas such as health, education and community safety.
  • Protecting the environment: Protect and enhance our natural environment and heritage for future generations and achieve a 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

The Governor continued by noting specific election commitments encompassing employment, economic recovery, workers’ protections, small business, manufacturing, health frontline workers, satellite hospitals, palliative care, schools, teachers, skills initiatives, homework centres, student mental health, TAFE facilities, free TAFE and apprenticeships, investment in the Bruce Highway and the M1, environment, agriculture, tourism, police and emergency services, and veterans.

The legislative program in this term is intended to reflect the Government’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders, the recovery and growth of the economy, and social reforms.

In the Justice portfolio, the Government committed to reintroduce the Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill and to legislate against coercive control as a form of domestic and family violence. The Government also committed to a review and modernisation of the Property Law Act 1974 and the Trusts Act 1973, as well as continuing the review of the Justices Act 1886 and the Criminal Practice Rules 1999.

Bills introduced

The following Bills were introduced into the Legislative Assembly

  • COVID-19 Emergency Response and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
  • Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
  • Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
  • Liquor (Artisan Liquor) Amendment Bill 2020
  • Disability Services and Other Legislation (Worker Screening) Amendment Bill 2020
  • Appropriation (2020-2021) Bill 2020
  • Appropriation (Parliament) (2020-2021) Bill 2020
  • Public Health and Other Legislation (Extension of Expiring Provisions) Amendment Bill 2020
  • Nature Conservation and Other Legislation (Indigenous Joint Management – Moreton Island) Amendment Bill 2020
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Bill 2020
  • Child Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

COVID-19 Emergency Response and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

The COVID-19 Emergency Response and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced by Shannon Fentiman MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, on 26 November 2020.

The Bill was referred to the parliamentary Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee but was subsequently declared urgent, following the motion by the Attorney-General. The Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly on 2 December 2020 during the Budget sittings and assented to on 4 December 2020.

The Act amends the Acts Interpretation Act 1954, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020, the Domestic and Family Violence Protection (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020, the Explosives Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020, the Electoral Act 1992, the Gaming Machine Act 1991, the Liquor Act 1992, the Local Government Act 2009, the Local Government Electoral Act 2011, the Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020, the Youth Justice Act 1992 and other legislation mentioned in sections 37 and 38 and schedule 1 for particular purposes.

As outlined in the explanatory notes, the objective of the Act is to amend 23 pieces of legislation to provide necessary adjustments across a range of portfolios to enable appropriate responses in the context of the pandemic.

The leading amendment is that most of the COVID-19 related legislation set to expire on 31 December 2020 will be extended to 30 April 2021.

The objectives of the Act are to:

  • Extend the operation of all COVID-19 related legislation which is still required to respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 emergency until 30 April 2021 or an earlier date to be prescribed by regulation (referred to as the ‘COVID-19 legislation expiry day’ throughout).
  • Insert appropriate transitional mechanisms which provide for the ability to return to normal operations in the most effective and efficient way once the COVID-19-related legislation is no longer needed.
  • Preserve rights and obligations that have accrued during the ‘response period’ and ‘extension period’ under the Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020.
  • Extend the temporary operation of the Queensland Small Business Commissioner.
  • Amend the Youth Justice Act 1992 to allow the chief executive (youth justice) to delegate his or her powers to appropriately qualified temporary detention centre employees in the event of a future COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Amend the Electoral Act 1992 to provide flexibility, if required, to facilitate the holding of a by-election in a way that helps minimise serious risks to the health and safety of persons caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Amend the Liquor Act 1992 to continue support for the artisan liquor sector by temporarily removing restrictions on sales to the public of the liquor of artisan distillers.
  • Amend the process for filling a vacancy in the office of a mayor or councillor that arises during the period starting on a quadrennial election and ending on the day before the first anniversary of the election.

Read the Act in full here. See the explanatory notes here. See the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

The Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020was introduced by Shannon Fentiman MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, on 26 November 2020.

The Bill has been referred to the parliamentary Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee. More information on the committee inquiry is available here.

The Bill and explanatory notes are in the same form as the Bill of the same name that was introduced on 13 August 2020 and lapsed with the dissolution of Parliament on 6 October 2020.

The Bill seeks to amend the Co-operatives National Law Act 2020, the Criminal Code, the Gaming Machine Act 1991, the Interactive Gambling (Player Protection) Act 1998, the Legal Profession Act 2007, the Liquor Act 1992, the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, the Racing Integrity Act 2016, the Wagering Act 1998.

As outlined in the explanatory notes, the leading objective of the Bill is to make amendments to the Criminal Code following the Queensland Law Reform Commissions’ (QLRC) report on the ‘Review of consent laws and the excuse of mistake of fact’. The nature of these amendments is to clarify the Criminal Code and reflect the development of Queensland’s existing law as found in case law.

The following amendments are proposed:

  • Amending sections 1 (Definitions) and 347 (Definitions for ch 32) of the Criminal Code to clarify that, for offences in Chapter 32, including sexual assault and assault with intent to commit rape, the definition of consent under section 348 (as read with the definition of assault in section 245) applies.
  • Amending section 348 of the Criminal Code by creating a new subsection (3) to provide that a person is not taken to give consent to an act only because the person does not, before or at the time the act is done, say or do anything to communicate that the person does not consent to the act.
  • Amending section 348 of the Criminal Code by creating a new subsection (4) to provide that if an act is done or continues after consent is given and a person subsequently communicates by words or conduct that consent has been withdrawn, then the act is done or continues to be done without consent.
  • Creating new section 348A of the Criminal Code to provide that when deciding whether a person was acting under an honest and reasonable, but mistaken, belief that another person gave consent to an act, regard can be had to anything the person said or did to ascertain consent and in deciding whether the belief was reasonable, regard cannot be had to voluntary intoxication of the defendant.

The Bill also amends the Legal Profession Act 2007 in respect of the Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Guarantee Fund and makes amendment to the other statutes listed above to give effect to the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Policy.

Read the Bill in full here. See the explanatory notes here. Read the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020was introduced by Grace Grace MP, Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing, on 26 November 2020.

The Bill is identical to the Bill of the same name originally introduced on 12 August 2020, which lapsed with the dissolution of Parliament on 6 October 2020 and before the parliamentary Education, Employment and Small Business Committee could complete its inquiry into the earlier Bill.

The Bill has been referred to the parliamentary Education, Employment and Training Committee. More information on the committee inquiry is available here.

The Bill seeks to amend the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 and the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2014.

As outlined in the explanatory notes, the objectives of the Bill are to:

  • Introduce presumptive workers’ compensation laws for first responders diagnosed with PTSD.
  • Provide an alternative claims pathway for first responders who are struggling to cope with PTSD, which presumes they have a work-related injury unless it is proved their injury was not caused by work.

Read the Bill in full here. See the explanatory notes here and the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Liquor (Artisan Liquor) Amendment Bill 2020

The Liquor (Artisan Liquor) Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced by Shannon Fentiman MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, on 26 November 2020.

The Bill has been referred to the parliamentary Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee. More information on the committee inquiry is available here.

The Bill seeks to amend the Liquor Act 1992 to support and regulate the emerging craft beer and artisan spirits industries.

As outlined in the explanatory notesthe objectives of the Bill are to:

  • Create a new liquor licence category of ‘commercial other – artisan producer’ for legitimate craft brewers and artisanal distillers.
  • Expand existing capabilities for selling artisanal products at promotional events.
  • Encourage the transition of existing licensees to the new artisan producer licence category.

Read the Bill in full here. See the explanatory notes here. See the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Disability Services and Other Legislation (Worker Screening) Amendment Bill 2020

The Disability Services and Other Legislation (Worker Screening) Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced by Craig Crawford MP, Minister for Seniors and Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, on 26 November 2020, and was passed on 4 December 2020. The Act is awaiting assent.

The Act amends the Disability Services Act 2006, the Evidence Act 1977, the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 and the other legislation mentioned in schedule 1 for particular purposes.

As outlined in the explanatory notesthe objectives of the Act are to:

  • Support nationally consistent worker screening for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the Intergovernmental Agreement on Nationally Consistent Worker Screening for the NDIS.
  • Enable Queensland to operate a state disability worker screening system for certain disability services that it continues to fund, or deliver, outside of the jurisdiction of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission).
  • Streamline and strengthen the legislative framework for disability worker screening in Queensland.
  • Ensure the blue card system operates effectively and efficiently alongside the disability worker screening system and the strongest possible safeguards are maintained in relation to persons working with children with disability.

Read the Bill in full here. See the explanatory notes here. See the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Appropriation (2020-2021) Bill 2020

The Appropriation (2020-2021) Bill 2020 was introduced by Cameron Dick MP, Treasurer and Minister for Investment, on 1 December 2020 and was referred to the Portfolio Committees on 4 December 2020.

As outlined in the explanatory notes, the objectives of the Bill are to:

  • Allow for the appropriation for 2020-21 to fund the cost of delivering departmental services, administered items and equity adjustment in that year.
  • Supply for 2021-22 to allow normal operations of government to continue until the 2021-22 Appropriation Bill receives assent.

Read the Bill in full here. See the explanatory notes here. See the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Appropriation (Parliament) (2020-2021) Bill 2020

The Appropriation (Parliament) (2020-2021) Bill 2020 was introduced by Cameron Dick MP, Treasurer and Minister for Investment, on 1 December 2020 and was referred to the Portfolio Committees on 4 December 2020.

As outlined in the explanatory notes, the objectives of the Bill are to:

  • Allow for the appropriation for 2020-21 to fund the cost of providing the services, equity adjustment and administered items of the Legislative Assembly and parliament service in that year.
  • Supply for 2021-22 to allow the normal operations of the Legislative and parliamentary service to continue until the 2021-22 Appropriations (Parliament) Bill receives assent.

Read the Bill in full here. See the explanatory notes here. See the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Public Health and Other Legislation (Extension of Expiring Provisions) Amendment Bill 2020

The Public Health and Other Legislation (Extension of Expiring Provisions) Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced by Yvette D’Ath MP, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, on 3 December 2020.

The Bill was referred to the parliamentary Health and Environment Committee on 3 December 2020. More information on the committee inquiry is available here.

The Bill seeks to amend the Justice and Other Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Amendment Act 2020, the Mental Health Act 2016, the Public Health Act 2005 and the Public Health and Other Legislation (Public Health Emergency) Amendment Act 2020.

As outlined in the explanatory notes, the objectives of the Bill are to:

  • Amend various Acts to ensure that any sunset clauses or expiry provisions relating to the amendments made to Chapter 8 of the Public Health Act and Chapter 18B of the Mental Health Act do not take effect until the end of the day on 30 September 2021. The extension of these expiry dates will allow the Queensland Government’s health response to continue for a further six months.

Read the Bill in full here. See the explanatory notes here. See the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Nature Conservation and Other Legislation (Indigenous Joint Management – Moreton Island) Amendment Bill 2020

The Nature Conservation and Other Legislation (Indigenous Joint Management – Moreton Island) Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced by Meaghan Scanlon MP, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs, on 3 December 2020 and was referred to the parliamentary State Development and Regional Industries Committee on 3 December 2020.

The Bill seeks to amend the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 (ALA), the Nature Conservation Act 1992, the Recreation Areas Management Act 2006 and the Torres Strait Islander Land Act 1991.

As outlined in the explanatory notes, the objectives of the Bill are to:

  • Give prescribed protected areas on Moreton Island the status of transferable land under the ALA so they may be granted to Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) as Aboriginal land.
  • Provide that the Indigenous Management Agreement prepared for the management of prescribed protected areas on Moreton Island is recognised under the ALA to facilitate the declaration of an Indigenous Joint Management Area (IJMA) under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA).
  • Provide for the declaration of an IJMA over prescribed protected areas to deliver joint management arrangements with QYAC on Moreton Island consistent with commitments in the Indigenous Land Use Agreement.
  • Ensure consultation and other requirements, as specified in the Indigenous Management Agreement, are met before certain permits and authorities are granted under the Regional Areas Management Act 2006.

Read the Bill in full here. See the explanatory notes here. See the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Bill 2020

The Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced by Meaghan Scanlon MP, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs, on 3 December 2020.

The Bill was referred to the parliamentary Health and Environment Committee on 3 December 2020. More information on the committee inquiry is available here.

The Bill seeks to amend the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011.

As outlined in the explanatory notes, the objectives of the Bill are to:

  • Enable a ban on the supply of single-use plastic items, starting with straws, stirrers, plates and cutlery.
  • Support the delivery of the broader principles of the Queensland Government’s Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy and the Tackling Plastic Waste – Queensland’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan to reduce plastic waste and the environmental and economic impacts of plastic pollution.

Read the Bill in full here. See the explanatory notes here. See the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Child Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

The Child Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced by Leanne Linard MP, Minister for Children and Youth Justice and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, on 3 December 2020.

The Bill was referred to the parliamentary Community Support and Services Committee on 3 December 2020. More information on the committee inquiry is available here.

The Bill seeks to amend the Adoption Act 2009 and the Child Protection Act 1999.

As outlined in the explanatory notes, the objectives of the Bill are to:

  • Enhance the approach to permanency under the Child Protection Act 1999.
  • Clarify that adoption is an option for achieving permanency for children in care, as part of the suite of alternative long-term care options available.
  • Clarify the importance of and promote alternative permanency options for children subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship to the chief executive.

Read the Bill in full here. See the explanatory notes here. See the human rights statement of compatibility here.

Subordinate legislation

Subordinate Queensland Legislation notified in 2020 is available online here.

Subordinate legislation notified on the Queensland Legislation website from 2 October 2020 to 26 November 2020:

Queensland Government Gazette

Queensland Government Gazette, Volume 385, published on 6 November 2020 can be read here. Issues of the Queensland Government Gazette for 2020 are available online, here.

Parliament sitting dates

As indicated on the parliamentary website here, Queensland Parliament is currently scheduled to sit on the following dates for the remainder of 2020:

  • 7-11 December 2020 (Budget estimate committee hearings)
  • 14-15 December 2020 (Budget estimate committee hearings)

The calendar for 2021 sitting dates indicates Parliament will sit from 23-25 February 2021.

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