The introduction of a bill to Parliament is the first step in the parliamentary process of law making.
Bills can be introduced by the premier, ministers or parliamentary secretaries on behalf of the NSW Government. But they can also be introduced by members of parliament who are neither of those things. These members are known as ‘private members’ and the bills they introduce, without government backing, are known as ‘private members’ bills’.
Who are these ‘Private’ Members?
A ‘private member‘ is any member who is not acting in the role of:
Sometimes this term is used interchangeably with ‘backbenchers‘, members without a role in the executive government who focus on carrying out work in their electorates, sit on parliamentary committees and work on creating legislation for the state. Of course, they also attend Parliament on sitting days, which is when they may introduce a private member’s bill.
Private member’s bills may be introduced into the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council, and just like all other bills, they need to pass both houses to be assented and become law.
Drafting a Private Member’s Bill
Bills in NSW are usually drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office (PCO), and this includes private members’ bills. The PCO liaises with the member to ensure the bill reflects the intentions of the legislation and addresses all related legal issues. For more information on the process of bill drafting, visit the PCO website.
Notable Private Members’ Bills in NSW Parliament
Private members’ bills have been introduced on many topics, but they are usually presented on topics of personal significance to the member or their constituency. Sometimes, members of NSW Parliament are moved to introduce a private members’ bill after a petition or representation from a constituent.
The following are the latest private member’s bills that passed the NSW Parliament:
- Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019
- Public Health Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill 2018 (Sharpe)
- Modern Slavery Bill 2018
Take a look at a full list of private members’ bills introduced to NSW Parliament in the current Parliamentary session.