Australia: NSW Government Bulletin - 29 October 2014

Last Updated: 5 November 2014
Article by Sylvia Fernandez, Christine Jones and Kim Nguyen

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

The Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Amendment Bill 2014 (NSW) (Election Funding Bill) was introduced into Parliament on 14 October 2014. The Bill proposed provisions in relation to elections generally and included the following proposed provisions which would be applicable to the 2015 State Election only:

  • a one-off disclosure of political donations from 1 July 2014 to 1 February 2015 (this date was subsequently amended to 1 March 2015) in relation to political donations received during that period in relation to the State Election or elected members of Parliament. The one-off disclosure is required to be lodged and published;
  • a cap on political donations and electoral campaign expenditure to the levels that applied in the 2011 State Election;
  • a reduction in the electoral expenditure caps for third-party campaigners from:
  • $1,050,00 to $250,000 for registered campaigners; and
  • $525,000 to $125,000 for non registered campaigners;
  • a replacement of the existing scheme for public funding of election campaigns of parties and candidates; and
  • the imposition of an indictable offence with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years, where a person enters into or carries out a scheme with the purpose of circumventing political donations or electoral expenditure prohibitions.

The proposed provision to reduce the electoral expenditure cap for third-party campaigners was subsequently abandoned. The balance of the Election Funding Bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament on 22 October 2014.

Notably, the Election Funding Bill changes the scheme of public funding for election campaigns for the 2015 State Election. For example, $4 will be paid for each first preference vote received by an endorsed candidate of an eligible party in the Legislative Assembly election and $3 will be paid for each first preference vote received by an endorsed candidate of an eligible party in the Legislative Council election, unless the lesser amount is the total amount of the actual campaign expenditure of the party and the endorsed candidates, in which case, that amount will be paid.

The Election Funding Bill also states that if an eligible party meets the eligibility criteria for public funding of election campaigns under section 57 of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 (NSW), but does not meet the 'periodic Legislative Council' election eligibility criteria, then as long as the party had 10 or more endorsed candidates in the Legislative Assembly general election, they are eligible for the $4 payment from the Election Campaigns Fund for each first preference vote in relation to the Legislative Assembly.

There are also similar provisions in the Election Funding Bill in relation to public funding of independent candidates. The new public funding model replaces the previous scheme which was a sliding scale of actual expenditure incurred by a party.

The Election Funding Bill is currently awaiting assent by the Governor. The editorial committee of the Government Bulletin notes that the election is scheduled for 28 March 2015.

To start a conversation about Government Bulletin or issues of interest to NSW government lawyers, join the LinkedIn group NSW Government Lawyers by clicking on this link. Membership is open to lawyers employed in the public sector.

In the media

IPC delivers 2013 - 2014 annual report to NSW Parliament
The IPC has released the annual report 2013 – 2014 and outlines our directions for the coming year. A number of key resources and reports were developed including the inaugural Report on the Operation of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009: 2010 – 2013 by the Information Commissioner (22 October 2014) More... View the IPC Annual Report 2013 – 2014.

NSW electoral funding reforms passed
More taxpayer dollars will be given to political parties in NSW to spend on the upcoming March election campaign in a bid to take away the corrupting influence of donors. State parliament also passed the NSW Premier's electoral funding measures which will also hand tougher penalties and jail terms to politicians breaking donation laws (22 October 2014) More...

ICAC annual report 2013-14
The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) furnished its annual report 2013-14 to the Presiding Officers on Wednesday 22 October 2014. If the Presiding Officers make the report public, it will be made available for download from the ICAC website here...

New Court powers to hit environmental offenders' bottom lines: NSW
The Minister for Planning has announced the NSW Government will introduce laws to give the Land and Environment Court the power to impose tough new sanctions. The proposed amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 will give the Court remedial actions on top of fines when miners, developers and other commercial operators are found guilty of breaching development consent conditions. New court powers to hit environmental offender's bottom lines

Community safeguards with tougher law: NSW
High risk offenders who are subject to Extended Supervision Orders (ESO) now face up to five years jail if they breach those orders, under legislation passed by the NSW Parliament. The new law will affect a small group of sex offenders and violent criminals who the Supreme Court has determined require ongoing supervision after their release (16 October 2014) More...

Prosecution briefs with the DPP and outcomes
Access information on prosecution briefs currently with the Director of Public Prosecutions, the outcomes of DPP advice and prosecutions in relation to ICAC investigations over the past five years (16 October 2014) Prosecution briefs with the DPP and outcomes

ICAC finds six corrupt following investigations into the soliciting and receipt of money within RailCorp and Housing NSW
The Commission has furnished its report into the conduct of a RailCorp manager and a Housing NSW employee (Operation Spector) (13 October 2014) ICAC finds six corrupt following investigations into the soliciting and receipt of money within RailCorp and Housing NSW

In practice and courts

New arrangements for privacy and freedom of information
The Freedom of Information Amendment (New Arrangements) Bill 2014 (the Bill) was introduced into the Australian Parliament on 2 October 2014. The Bill proposes the repeal of the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 including abolition of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), and the amendment of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), Privacy Act 1988 and related laws.

ICAC: Annual report 2013–14 now available
The Commission has tabled its annual report for the last reporting period released on 22 October 2014 Annual report 2013–14 now available

NSW: Bail - Additional show cause offences: submissions The Council is seeking submissions from interested parties addressing the Terms of Reference. Submissions should be sent to, 31 October 2014. The Bail Amendment Bill 2014 can be found here. The Review of the Bail Act 2013 undertaken by Mr John Hatzistergos can be found here.



Proclamations commencing Acts

Courts Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Judgments) Act 2014 No 44 (2014-679) — published LW 24 October 2014
This Proclamation appoints 27 October 2014 as the day on which Schedule 2 to the Courts Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Judgments) Act 2014 commences.

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Child Protection (Working with Children) Amendment Regulation 2014 (2014-681) — published LW 24 October 2014
Amongst other things, this Regulation makes murder of any person a disqualifying offence for the purposes of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012

Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Further Amendment Regulation 2014 (2014-682) — published LW 24 October 2014
(2014-685) — published LW 24 October 2014
This Regulation makes various amendments to the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Regulation 2012 that are consequential on the Child Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2014, for example it specifies further factors relating to guardianship orders indicating a significant change in the circumstances of a child or young person for the purposes of seeking the leave of the Children's Court to the making of an application to rescind or vary a care order.

Bills introduced Government

Criminal Procedure Amendment (Domestic Violence Complainants) Bill 2014
The object of this Bill is to amend the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 to enable the use of recorded interviews with complainants in proceedings for domestic violence offences, instead of written statements or oral evidence and to make other consequential and minor amendments.

Surveillance Devices Amendment (Police Body-Worn Video) Bill 2014
The object of this Bill is to amend the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 to allow for the use of body-worn video by police officers. The Bill excepts police use of body-worn video from offences that prohibit the use of surveillance devices to record private conversations and to record the carrying on of activities.


Relationships Register Amendment (Recognition of Same-Sex and Gender-Diverse Relationships) Bill 2014
The object of this Bill is to provide for the legal recognition of relationships between two adult persons of the same sex, or two adult persons, one or both of whom is gender-diverse, who have had their union solemnised as a marriage as a civil union in certain other countries or in certain other Australian States or Territories.

Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament

Constitution Amendment (Parliamentary Presiding Officers) Bill 2014 The object of this Bill is to amend the Constitution Act 1902 to ensure that both the President of the Legislative Council and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly (and deputies acting when they are unavailable) may exercise the functions of Parliamentary presiding officers relating to the administration of Parliament and the employment of Parliamentary staff during a State general election period when the Legislative Assembly is dissolved and the Legislative Council is suspended.
The Bill also makes a consequential amendment to the Parliamentary Remuneration Act 1989 to ensure that Parliamentary presiding officers (and their deputies) continue to receive their usual remuneration during that State general election period.

Criminal Records Amendment (Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill 2014
The object of this Bill is to amend the Criminal Records Act 1991 to enable certain convictions for a number of de-criminalised homosexual conduct offences to become extinguished.

Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Amendment Bill 2014
The object of this Bill is to amend the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 to make special provisions in relation to the 2015 State general election and to make other provisions in relation to that and other elections.

Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Amendment (Statutory Review) Bill 2014
The object of this Bill is to make various amendments to the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 as a result of the statutory review under section 26 of that Act. The changes include, including objects in that Act and expanding the classes of registrable offences to include manslaughter of a child, wounding or grievous bodily harm of a child under 10 years of age and abduction of a child.

Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Amendment Bill 2014
The object of this Bill is to amend the scheme for the supervision and detention of high risk sex offenders and high risk violent offenders that is set out in the Crimes (High Risk Offenders Act) 2006.

Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2014
The objects of this Bill include to amend the Crimes Act 1900 to apply the statutory definition of consent to attempts to commit sexual assault, to negate consent to sexual intercourse in circumstances where consent has been given under a mistaken belief that sexual intercourse is for health purposes and to make it an offence to possess a distress signal or distress flare in a public place without a reasonable excuse.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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Christine Jones
Kim Nguyen
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