Succession Act 7 SALRI Reports Implemented
The landmark Succession Act progressed through Parliament with all party backing and passed the Lower House on 27 September 2023. The Bill is a huge update to succession law to bring it into the modern age in one Act and replaces laws, some going back to King Charles II. The Act incorporates no fewer than seven past SALRI reports going back a decade. The Act implements 104 of SALRI's 118 recommendations over the seven reports.
The role and work of SALRI was widely acknowledged commended by all parties in the parliamentary debate. The work of the late Helen Wighton, SALRI's founding Deputy Director, was specifically highlighted.
I pick up where the Minister left off in taking a moment to pay tribute to the former Attorney-General and former Deputy Premier, the Hon. Vickie Chapman, who, in concluding her remarks outlining the bill in the course of the second reading in the previous parliament, really put the scope and nature of the work in context in terms of her contribution to the parliament on 23 June 2021. In paying tribute to her work, I draw on and repeat her remarks...The Shadow Attorney said on 15 June 2023:
She goes on to say:
'…if I were to pick out one other very large body of work of reform it would be in relation to succession law. A massive amount of research has been undertaken. It is centuries of developed common law and statute that we are bringing together in a modern piece of legislation that we hope will serve the people of South Australia well into the future.'
The Hon. Vickie Chapman then went on to say, and I think this provides some context to that work:
'I would just like to particularly thank the many people across South Australia, particularly in our regional areas, who came forward either individually or through their legal representatives to present to SALRI [the South Australian Law Reform Institute] during their statewide survey and invitation to South Australians to make a submission on this. It was a massive amount of work and I am deeply indebted to them.'
She concludes, 'I am very satisfied that the parliament will be well served in being able to consider these reforms,' commending the bill to the house, as she did at that time. I am pleased to say as lead speaker for the Opposition, and indicating of course the Opposition's wholehearted support for the passage of the Bill, that I am particularly conscious that I now stand here in the Fifty-Fifth Parliament as shadow Attorney-General. If in some small way I can carry on to see, to endorse and to commend the fruition of that work, I hope relatively soon in this parliament—I hope in the coming hours—then I will be glad to have made that contribution to this significant body of work.... It would be a regret of mine to miss the opportunity otherwise to express my own thanks and recognition of those leaders of SALRI and those who were particularly involved in the work in the lead-up to this bill, not because they worked alongside me—I had very little involvement, if any, in the work leading up to the introduction of the bill in the last Parliament—but I have certainly worked with SALRI and with those involved in the time before and during and very much since that time in mid-2021, and so I, too, particularly acknowledge the contributions of Professor John Williams; Dr David Plater; Dr Sylvia Villios; Louise Scarman; and also the Hon. Tom Gray KC, former Justice of the Supreme Court; Ms Dianne Gray; and, as I understand it, the law reform class at the University of Adelaide.
As the Hon. Vickie Chapman did, I also take the opportunity to note the valuable contribution of Helen Wighton, the founding deputy director of SALRI. As the Hon. Vickie Chapman observed in her contribution in 2021, Helen is acknowledged as having started the work on this important reference at SALRI but, sadly, passed away in 2014.
With those words, I again indicate the Opposition's wholehearted support for the bill and for its passage finally through this Parliament, contributed to as it has been by so many over such an extended period of time. It is my sincere wish that the new act will serve South Australians long into the future. I commend the bill to the house".