Statute Law Revision Bill 2008

Second Reading Speech

Senator Carr (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research)

I table the explanatory memoranda relating to the bills and move:

That these bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speeches read as follows-


Statute Law Revision Bills are important mechanisms which ensure more effective and accessible laws. The Office of Parliamentary Counsel does an excellent job in reviewing, correcting and updating the body of Commonwealth legislation by preparing these Bills.

Scrutiny of the statute book extends beyond the correction of minor errors and the clearing away of obsolete Acts. This Bill removes gender-specific language which will ensure that our laws are contemporary.

The timely corrections and repeals of obsolete language effected by Statute Law Revision Bills improve the quality and accuracy of Commonwealth legislation and facilitate the publication of consolidated versions of Acts.

The Bill has four schedules. Schedule 1 amends minor and technical errors contained in principal Acts, such as incorrect spelling, punctuation or numbering.

Most of Schedule 2 amends errors contained in amending Acts and misdescribed or redundant amendments. The remainder of Schedule 2 amends errors in cross references to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007, which came before the Parliament in 2005 but was not enacted until 2007. References to the "Australian Citizenship Act 2006" are amended to refer to the "Australian Citizenship Act 2007".

Schedule 3 repeals obsolete Acts and makes consequential amendments to provisions of other Acts that refer to a repealed Act. A large number of these obsolete Acts are administered by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and relate to programs that are now finished.

Schedule 4 amends a number of Acts to replace gender-specific language with gender-neutral language.

The effect of the commencement provisions in Schedules 1 and 2 is that the errors are taken to have been corrected immediately after the error was made. Schedule 3 commences on Royal Assent and Schedule 4 commences the day after Royal Assent.

While none of the amendments proposed by the Schedules will alter the content of the law, the Bill ensures our Statute book reflects current social standards and it will improve the quality and public accessibility of Commonwealth legislation.

I commend the Bill.