Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC)
Schedule 3 - Amendments relating to Ministers
77 This Schedule continues work substantially done by the Statute Law Revision Act 2011 and the Statute Law Revision Act 2012.
78 It contains amendments updating references in Acts to Ministers to reflect current drafting practice.
79 Current drafting practice is to ensure that:
- wherever possible, if the intention is to refer to the Minister who administers a provision, or the Department administered by that Minister, provisions refer simply to "the Minister", or to "the Department", and rely on section 19A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901; and
- various Commonwealth Ministers (other than the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General and the Treasurer) are consistently mentioned by reference to the administration of identified legislation rather than by name; and
- various Departments of State (other than the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Attorney-General's Department and the Treasury) are consistently mentioned by reference to the Minister administering identified legislation or a particular matter rather than by name; and
- it is clear that Ministers, rather than Departments, administer Acts.
80 There are currently a number of references to specific Ministers in Commonwealth Acts (for example, the Minister for Finance). Whenever there is no longer a particular Minister or Department, or the title of a Minister or Department is changed under the Administrative Arrangements Order, the Governor-General needs to make an order under section 19B or 19BA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 so that any now incorrect references to Ministers and Departments in Acts can be read correctly. This means that users of Acts have to read the Acts in conjunction with these orders.
81 Items 1 to 4 amend various Acts consistent with current drafting practice. In particular, item 1 remakes the definition of Veterans' Affairs Minister in the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 to specify that it means the Minister administering the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986, rather than the Minister administering section 1 of that Act. Current drafting practice is not to use the approach of referring to section 1 of particular Acts.
82 Items 5 and 6 make provision for transitional provisions to ensure that the amendments made by this Schedule do not result in any unintended consequences.