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Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) (Beneficial Interest) Amendment Bill – Committee Stage

In committee.

Clauses 1 to 3 passed.

Clause 4.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: I move:

Amendment No 1 [McLachlan–1]—

Page 4, line 6 [clause 4(7), inserted subsection (10a)(a)]—Delete ’60’ and substitute ’70’

I am moving one amendment and, given we have had a small break since we originally reflected on the terms of this bill, it is a simple one, deleting the number 60 and substituting it with the number 70. As I outlined in my second reading speech, the purpose of this amendment is to address, in the body of the bill, a clause that creates an aggravated offence. The aggravated offence is where the mischief is taken against a person of 60 years of age.

The government has argued that 60 years of age is consistent with other aggravated offences in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act, but the reality is that here, in this context, we are talking about an action taken against someone who is 60 years and over, where 60 years is used as a determiner of capacity or an ability to grasp concepts or relationships in relation to the sale and conveyancing of land.

In our view, a better indicator is 70 years. Of course, it is a question of how long is a piece of string, given modern medical science and healthy living. So, I would be interested in the members’ views. If I do not have a clear indication of whether I have the support of the chamber, I may have to call a division. I respectfully ask members to indicate whether I have their support for this amendment.

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS: The government is pleased to support the amendment. Proposed section 24G(10a) states:

…an offence relating to the obtaining of a beneficial interest is an aggravated offence if it is proved that, at the time the beneficial interest was obtained, the vendor or any of the vendors were—

(a) 60 years of age or over; or

(b) protected persons [under guardianship]…or

(c) suffering from a mental incapacity,

The introduction of age as an aggravating factor is necessary to address scenarios where vendors who may be looking to downsize or transition into a retirement village or aged-care facility are unfairly taken advantage of due to time constraints. For consistency, the age of 60 years was set, in line with section 58A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act, which also makes an offence aggravated if the victim is aged 60 years or more. During debate in the lower house, the Deputy Premier indicated that he would reconsider the opposition’s proposal to increase the age to 70 years. After further consideration, the government will support the amendment.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: I do not normally speak when the government and opposition are in agreement; however, I think this is a significant amendment and I indicate that the Australian Conservatives will also support the amendment.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

Remaining clauses (5 and 6) and title passed.

Bill reported with amendment.

Third Reading

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) (15:51): I move:

That this bill be now read a third time.

Bill read a third time and passed.

See full session on Hansard