The majority voted to agree with the bill's main idea, which means they can now discuss it in more detail. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time.
What is the bill's main idea?
The bill is a response to McGlade v Native Title Registrar & Ors  FCAFC 10, which considers whether an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) can be registered with the Native Title Registrar even if not all named parties have signed. An Indigenous Land Use Agreement is a voluntary agreement that native title groups can negotiate with other parties in relation to the use of land and waters.
In that case, the Federal Court ruled that all parties must sign, which meant the Noongar Native Title agreement could not be registered (read more in ABC News).
This happened on 2 February, and the Government immediately moved to protect existing agreements with this bill. According to the explanatory memorandum, its purpose is to:
- confirm the legal status and enforceability of agreements which have been registered by the Native Title Registrar on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements without the signature of all members of a registered native title claimant (RNTC)
- enable registration of agreements which have been made but have not yet been registered on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements, and
- ensure that in the future, area ILUAs can be registered without requiring every member of the RNTC to be a party to the agreement.
More detail and background information is available in the bills digest.