Scrutiny of legislation
The Bar Association has raised concerns regarding a retrospective amendment in the Justice Legislation Amendment Bill (No 2) relating to the schedule in the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act. David Shoebridge MLC of the Greens raised those concerns in the course of debate. He said:
I note the very real concerns raised by the New South Wales Bar Association about the way in which the proposed amendments to the validation of the provisions in schedule 1 to the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Amendment Regulation.
The Greens agree with the New South Wales Bar Association that retrospectively changing the criminal law should be done in a substantive bill and not hidden away in the middle of a justice legislation compendium bill. It may be, for reasons that have not been well clarified by the Attorney General, that that is the right course of action, but there has not been anywhere near sufficient scrutiny of that element of the bill for it to be passed in the omnibus manner proposed. When retrospective changes are being made to the criminal law, and retrospective changes that include potential sentences of life imprisonment, they should not be snuck through in a justice legislation amendment bill. I commend the reasons given by the New South Wales Bar Association for urging the Government to pull that out of this compendium bill and to put it into a substantive bill.
View the full Hansard of the debate here.