Bills Digest no. 94 2007–08
Statute Law Revision Bill 2008
This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as
introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest
does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be
consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the
Contact officer & copyright details
Statute Law Revision Bill
The effect of the
commencement provisions in Schedules 1 and 2 is that the errors are
taken to have been correct immediately after the error was
3 commences on Royal Assent and Schedule 4 commences the day after
relevant links to the Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and second
reading speech can be accessed via BillsNet, which is at http://www.aph.gov.au/bills/.
When Bills have been passed they can be found at ComLaw, which is
Schedule 1 of the Bill amends 26
principal Acts, Schedule 2 amends 14 amending Acts, Schedule 3
repeals 27 obsolete Acts, the majority of which belong within the
portfolio of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry,
and Schedule 4 removes gender specific language from 88 Acts.
Statute Law Revision Bills are
traditionally non-controversial and receive the support of the
Parliament as they are regarded as an essential tool in the process
of keeping orderly, accurate and up to date Commonwealth Statute
books. All jurisdictions pass similar bills for the same purpose
and entail a constant review and monitoring of laws.
The main purpose is to amend drafting and technical errors and
to get rid of obsolete legislation and language. These omnibus
bills are never used or meant to be used to make substantive change
to the law. As
stated in the Second Reading Speech:
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.
According to the Explanatory Memorandum the Bill will have no
Due to the nature of this Bill it is not necessary to give a
detailed analysis of the provisions. The Digest therefore focuses
on just a couple of examples.
For example, items 6-13, and items
19 and 20 in Schedule 2 amend various
Acts to replace the incorrect statements of the short title of the
Australian Citizenship Act 2007. The Act had been
incorrectly described as the Australian Citizenship Act
2006. The Australian Citizenship Bill was introduced into the
House of Representatives on 9 November 2005, with the substantive
part of the Bill to commence by Proclamation. The Bill was assented
to on 15 March 2007, (Act No. 20 of 2007, the Australian
Citizenship Act 2007) and proclaimed on 1 July 2007. This Act
was later amended by the Australian Citizenship Amendment
(Citizenship Testing) Act, (Act No. 142 of 2007, which
commenced on 1 October 2007). This been said, there never was an
Australian Citizenship Act 2006.
Last year s Statute Law Revision Bill amended the Customs
Act 1901 to remove gender specific language and other
Acts have been
amended on ad hoc occasions to have such changes made as part of
the Commonwealth s programme of reform in this area. Under the
paragraph 23(a) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, in
any Act, unless the contrary intention appears, words importing a
gender include every other gender . However, the Government is
still processing this reform measure progressively.
In addition the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 in its
provisions on measures to achieve high drafting standards
The Secretary must also cause steps to be
(a) to prevent the inappropriate use of
gender‑specific language in legislative instruments; and
(b) to advise rule‑makers of legislative
instruments that have already been made if those legislative
instruments make inappropriate use of such language; and
(c) to notify both Houses of the Parliament
about any occasion when a rule‑maker is advised under
Inappropriate use of gender-specific language is a
self-explanatory expression defined as follows:
inappropriate use of
gender‑specific language, in relation to a
legislative instrument, means use of such language in the
legislative instrument in circumstances where it is not necessary
to identify persons by their sex.
Schedule 4 proposes over 500 amendments to 88
Acts to remove gender specific language.
8 April 2008
Bills Digest Service
© Commonwealth of Australia
This work is copyright. Except to the extent of uses permitted
by the Copyright Act 1968, no person may reproduce or transmit any
part of this work by any process without the prior written consent
of the Parliamentary Librarian. This requirement does not apply to
members of the Parliament of Australia acting in the course of
their official duties.
This work has been prepared to support the work of the Australian
Parliament using information available at the time of production.
The views expressed do not reflect an official position of the
Parliamentary Library, nor do they constitute professional legal
Feedback is welcome and may be provided to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Any
concerns or complaints should be directed to the Parliamentary
Librarian. Parliamentary Library staff are available to discuss the
contents of publications with Senators and Members and their staff.
To access this service, clients may contact the author or the
Library’s Central Entry Point for referral.
Back to top