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Law Council of Australia

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Attorney-General’s Portfolio Miscellaneous Measures Bill 2023

15 February 2024

On 1 February 2024, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee tabled its Report on the Attorney-General’s Portfolio Miscellaneous Measures Bill 2023. The Law Council provided a submission to this Inquiry on 8 January 2024, which was informed by contributions from several of its Constituent Bodies and Advisory Committees. The Committee did not hold public hearings.

The Law Council was one of eight submitters and it is cited on approximately 30 occasions throughout the Majority Report (a coalition of Committee members from the Government and the Greens). The Majority Report concludes that, while the Explanatory Memorandum could benefit from greater detail, “as a whole the Bill represents sensible and necessary amendments”.

In addition to recommending that the omnibus Bill be passed, the Majority Report makes the following recommendations, which are broadly aligned with recommendations made in the Law Council’s submission:

In his Dissenting Report, Liberal Senator Paul Scarr makes 11 recommendations, several of which are consistent with specific recommendations made by the Law Council in its submission, including:

It was pleasing to note that the majority of the Law Council’s recommendations were engaged with by Committee members in the Majority and Dissenting Reports. However, the Law Council’s recommendation that there be a sustained increase in resourcing for the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to assist in meeting its substantial ongoing demands was not endorsed by either report.

In addition, while the Majority Report briefly noted the Law Council’s concerns regarding the impact of the abolition of the Native Title Respondents Scheme on Aboriginal Land Councils, particularly in New South Wales, the Committee did not make a corresponding recommendation, consistent with the Law Council, that the Government take proactive steps, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, to reduce any such impact. The Law Council will monitor the progress of the Bill, including any amendments proposed, as it is considered by the Parliament in the coming weeks.

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