House of Representatives

Acts Interpretation Amendment (Legislative Instruments) Bill 2005

Second Reading Speech

Mr Hunt (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The main purpose of this bill is to insert a new interpretive provision, section 15AE, into the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

New section 15AE will explain what is meant when a provision of a law provides for the making of an instrument which is described as being a legislative instrument and what is meant when a provision of a law provides for the making of an instrument which is described as not being a legislative instrument. This new section was requested by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to make the drafting and interpretation of provisions dealing with legislative instruments clearer and simpler. It will make clear that, wherever the term 'legislative instrument' appears in legislation, it has a particular meaning. This will simplify drafting practice as it removes the need to define the term 'legislative instrument' every time it is used in legislation.

New section 15AE provides that instruments that are described as legislative instruments must be in writing and are legislative instruments for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. The Legislative Instruments Act provides that a legislative instrument is an instrument in writing that is of a legislative character and that is or was made in the exercise of a power delegated by the parliament. This amendment is a technical amendment and will not affect the substance of the law. It will not expand or restrict the operation of the Legislative Instruments Act. The amendment will operate from the commencement of the legislative instruments legislation on 1 January 2005 and has no adverse effects.

The bill also makes a number of consequential amendments to provisions in Part XI of the Acts Interpretation Act. The provisions in that part were inserted by the Legislative Instruments (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2003 to preserve the operation of the Acts Interpretation Act in relation to non-legislative instruments. The proposed consequential amendments to these provisions of the Acts Interpretation Act are drafting changes only in consequence of the insertion of new section 15AE and make no substantive changes to the Acts Interpretation Act.

Finally, the bill will amend the Acts Interpretation Act to clarify the operation and meaning of certain provisions and phrases in part V of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 when applied to disallowable non-legislative instruments. The amendment was requested by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to clarify aspects of the relationship between the Acts Interpretation Act and the Legislative Instruments Act for the benefit of users. I commend the bill to the House and I present the explanatory memorandum to this bill.