House of Representatives

Statute Law Revision Bill 2002

Second Reading Speech

Fran Bailey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Statute Law Revision Bill 2002 continues the work of repairing the Commonwealth statute book, which began in 1996 with the Statute Law Revision Act 1996 and was continued by the Statute Stocktake Act 1999.

The bill deals with two aspects of repairing the statute book.

The bill corrects minor clerical and drafting errors in various current acts. The kinds of errors being corrected are spelling mistakes, mistakes in punctuation, mistakes in the numbering or lettering of parts of acts - for example, incorrect numbering of subsections or incorrect lettering of paragraphs and misdescribed amendments. A misdescribed amendment is one that either incorrectly describes

For instance, an amendment that purports to require a new provision to be inserted after a nonexistent provision would probably be given some meaning by a court if the general intention of the amendment was clear. However, consolidating the act may be difficult, because the proper location of the new provision is not clear.

Correcting errors of these kinds does not change the law. However, it ensures that consolidated acts can be published, and without confusing mistakes. In some cases, this may have a significant impact on the accessibility of legislation.

The bill also replaces existing references to 'the Standards Association of Australia' with references to `Standards Australia International Limited', with effect from 1 July 1999, when the name change took effect.

The bill, while not changing the substance of the law, makes many useful improvements to the statute book. I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Griffin) adjourned.