House of Representatives

Law and Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2004

Second Reading Speech

Mr RUDDOCK (Berowra-Attorney-General)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Law and Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 amends a number of acts relating to law and justice.

The amendments correct minor drafting errors, clarify the operation of certain provisions, update references to organisations and other acts, and update legislation to increase efficiencies and reflect current practices.

The bill removes minor drafting errors, such as incorrect cross-references in the Crimes Act 1914 and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986.

It also removes redundant references to organisations that no longer exist, such as in the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977, the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 and the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

The bill clarifies the operation of certain provisions, such as in the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 where the amendments clarify the operation of the exemption tables - I think by moving a comma.

In the amendments to the Foreign Proceedings (Excess of Jurisdiction) Act 1984 the bill removes a reference to the Privy Council, thus removing a reference to an outdated legal framework.

The bill also improves efficiencies.

Amendments to the Bankruptcy Act 1966 and the Evidence Act 1995 would allow locally engaged staff at Australian diplomatic and consular missions overseas to undertake administrative functions, thereby allowing consular and diplomatic officers to spend greater time on non-administrative matters.

The Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 and the Workplace Relations Act 1996 amendments improve efficiencies by ensuring that a single judge is able to deal with ancillary and interlocutory matters without the need to constitute a full court.

The Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Act 1971 improves efficiencies by more clearly defining the concept of `court premises'.

The bill updates legislation to reflect current practices; for example, the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 amendments reflect contemporary drafting practices by removing the schedule that sets out the statutory declaration form and allow the form to be set out in the regulations and hence more frequently revised.

The amendment to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 means that certain fees will be prescribed by regulations, in accordance with usual government practice, rather than by Federal Court judges.

I commend this machinery bill to the House. I wish the shadow minister well in scrutinising it, and I table the explanatory memorandum to assist her.

Debate (on motion by Mr McClelland) adjourned.