House of Representatives

Statute Law Revision Bill (No. 1) 2014

Second Reading Speech

Mr Frydenberg (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)

The Statute Law Revision Bill (No. 1) 2014 is the third bill in the Government's 2014 Autumn Repeal Day package.

The Bill cleans up the statute books by repairing minor errors in Commonwealth consolidated Acts, and repeals spent or redundant provisions and Acts.

While the Bill does not make substantive changes to the law, it serves two important functions. First, it clarifies the status of laws by repealing obsolete legislation and, secondly, it removes confusion by amending incorrect or out of date provisions.

The Bill reduces the regulatory burden by improving the accuracy and useability of Commonwealth legislation. As a result, the Bill will help to save individuals, businesses and community organisations time and money.

Schedules 1 and 2 of the Bill achieve two main ends:

correcting minor technical errors in principal Acts, such as grammatical errors and errors in numbering, and
correcting amending Acts which contain errors.

For example, sometimes legislation refers to other Acts incorrectly, or contains references to other parts of the same Act which are not accurate. By correcting these unclear legislative provisions, this Bill helps make the law easier to use.

Schedules 3, 4 and 5 of the Bill update language used in a range of legislation. These schedules make three sorts of changes:

Firstly, they amend Acts to ensure that Commonwealth Ministers are consistently mentioned by reference to the administration of particular legislation, rather than by title. This ensures that the provisions can still be understood and operate properly when the titles of Ministers change.
Secondly, they amend terminology to consistently reflect terms now used in the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 and in current drafting practice. The Acts Interpretation Act is a dictionary and manual that provides rules for reading and interpreting Commonwealth legislation.
Thirdly, they correct various Commonwealth Acts to reflect the correct title of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978.

By removing out-dated or unnecessary provisions and Acts, this Bill also makes Commonwealth legislation more efficient to use.

Schedules 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the Bill repeal spent or redundant provisions and Acts.

For example, the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games (Indicia and Images) Protection Act 2005 regulated the use of indicia and images associated with the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. The Act provided that it ceased to have effect on 30 June 2006, so it can now be repealed.

Other minor errors in Commonwealth consolidated Acts will be corrected on future repeal days.

I commend this bill to the Chamber.