Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by the authority of the Attorney-General, the Honourable Robert McClelland MP
General outline and financial impact
1 The main purposes of this Bill are to correct technical errors that have occurred in Acts as a result of drafting and clerical mistakes, and to remove references to specific Ministers and Departments so that when changes are made to the Administrative Arrangements Order, legislation does not need to be amended.
2 Currently, when the names of Ministers or Departments change, or when responsibility for particular legislation is transferred between Ministers or Departments, the Governor-General makes substituted reference Orders under sections 19B and 19BA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 so that a reference to a specific Minister or Department in legislation can be read as though it is a reference to the correct Minister or Department. While this has the effect of legally transferring responsibility to the correct Minister or Department under the legislation, it means that users of Commonwealth legislation have to read the legislation in conjunction with these Orders.
3 The amendments contained in this Bill will greatly reduce the need for reliance on section 19B and 19BA Orders, and the need for such Orders to be made in the future, as the amendments insert more generic references to Ministers and Departments in Commonwealth Acts. This will improve the clarity and useability of Commonwealth Acts.
4 The Bill also contains amendments to modernise language, to ensure consistency of language, and to make other technical amendments in certain legislation.
5 The Bill also repeals a number of Acts that are obsolete.
6 The corrections and repeals are desirable in order to improve the quality of the text of Commonwealth legislation and, in particular, to facilitate the publication of consolidated versions of Acts by the Attorney-General's Department and by private publishers of legislation.
7 None of the corrections make any change to the substance of the law.
8 The Bill will have no financial impact.