The majority voted in favour of a motion "That the amendments be agreed to." This means that the bill is now passed in its current form in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and so it will now become law.
What does this bill do?
According to the bills digest, the bill includes two schedules. The first is not controversial. It will "allow meetings to be held virtually, to allow documents relating to meetings to be provided and signed electronically and for minutes to be kept electronically" (see the bills digest for more information).
Schedule 2 is very controversial, because it effectively waters down current continuous disclosure provisions, as well as misleading and deceptive conduct provisions, by making it harder to enforce civil penalties against people who allegedly breach these provisions.
According to the bills digest, Schedule 2 will:
- permanently add a fault element to continuous disclosure civil penalty provisions, so that a person will only be eligible for a civil penalty where they have acted with knowledge, recklessness or negligence in failing to update the market with price sensitive information
- impose the same fault standard for misleading and deceptive conduct that relates to alleged failure to provide an update with price sensitive information to the market
- retain the existing standard for administrative penalties, so ASIC can continue to issue infringement notices without proving knowledge, recklessness or negligence. The existing standard is also retained for ASIC’s other non-pecuniary enforcement tools, such as requiring the disclosure of information to the market by obtaining a court order.