This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as
introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest
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Contact Officer and Copyright Details
Date Introduced: 1 July 1998
House: House of Representatives
Commencement: On Royal Assent
redundant Acts and to make consequential amendments resulting from
the repeal of certain of those Acts.
In the Law and Justice Policy delivered in 1996,
the Liberal and National Parties' foreshadowed the repair and
reform of laws on the statute book. The policy commented on the
convoluted and complex nature of existing Commonwealth statute law
and proposed 'a statute stocktake: a long overdue project of repair
of existing Commonwealth legislation.'(1)
In November 1996, the Small Business
Deregulation Task Force recommended 'that all Commonwealth agencies
identify and repeal redundant regulations by 1 September 1997.' (2)
The Task Force was concerned with the burden placed on small
business by the impact of paperwork and compliance requirements
demanded by regulation. The Task Force was concerned with the
removal of redundant regulations within the context of maintaining
a process of review to 'ensure that the regulations that are in
place are still meeting their objectives and that those objectives
are still valid.'(3) The Task Force did recognise that the impact
of the removal of redundant legislation would in some cases
probably be minimal.(4)
In June 1996, the Statute Law Revision Bill 1996
was introduced into the Senate. That Bill commenced the process of
the 'Statute Stocktake'. It repealed a number of Acts whose
operation had expired, it corrected minor clerical and drafting
errors in current legislation and updated references to the
Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973(Cth). It also amended
gender specific language in some Acts.
The Attorney-General, Mr Williams, wrote to
portfolio ministers in 1997 requesting that they identify redundant
legislation still on the statute book and also identify legislation
It is apparent from the Tables below, that as
time has progressed, more Acts have been added to the statute book.
This no doubt can be correlated with the increased complexities and
nature of modern society where more extensive regulation is
In the early part of the century, consolidated
legislation was periodically reproduced in the annual volumes of
legislation. Later, consolidations of legislation appeared in a two
volume set, the first being produced in 1911. The 1973
consolidation by contrast numbered 12 volumes. In the past,
consolidated legislation was maintained manually in the interim
period before the next printed consolidation of an Act became
available. Acts would be cut and pasted, with amendments being
inserted into the principal Act at the appropriate place. Hence the
names Pasteact and Pastereg in the SCALEPLUS database echo a time
when consolidations of legislation were done using this method.
With advances in technology, consolidations of
legislation are done much more quickly and are available on the
Internet very soon after the amendment has come into existence. Not
only can legislation be consolidated more quickly but it can be
searched on the Internet much more easily than doing a manual
search through hard copy indices as was the case in the past. A
search on a particular topic can reveal legislation dealing with
aspects of that topic. The important point is that access to the
consolidated form of the law is now more quickly and easily
available to a greater number of people.
The number of laws added each year to the
Statute Book has varied considerably over time. In 1901 there were
17 Acts passed and in 1902 this number increased to 19 Acts. The
Table below indicates the increasing number of enactments over
certain periods by different governments.
Numbers of Acts added to the
Election dates: 28 September 1946; 10 December
Menzies Government 1950-1956
(first seven years)
Election dates: 28 April 1951; 9 May 1953
(Senate); 29 May 1954; 10 December 1955
Fraser Government 1976-1982
Election dates: 13 December 1975; 10 December
1977; 18 October 1980
Hawke Government 1984-1991
Election dates: 1 December 1984; 11 July 1987;
24 March 1990
Election dates: 13 March 1993
Howard Government 1996-1998
Election date: 2 March 1996
After some elections, it is evident that the
number of Acts passed in the year has increased. This increase can
be accounted for by the implementation of new policy initiatives.
It doesn't necessarily occur after every election. The figures are
similar when compared with similar periods.
Schedule 1 - Acts Repealed
Item 1 repeals 95 redundant
Acts. One of the repealed Acts, the Advisory Council for
Inter-government Relations Act 1976 was amended by the
Financial Sector Reform (Consequential Amendments) Act
1998. The Act inserts a definition of ADI (authorised
deposit-taking institution) and repeals the definition of 'approved
bank.' The Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations Act
1976 is no longer an operational Act. This is a good reason
why redundant acts should be removed from the statute book.
Part 2 - Saving Provisions
Part 2 saves obligations or conditions imposed
by certain of the repealed Acts. For example, the repeal of a
number of States Grants (Schools Assistance) Acts does not affect
the conditions under which those grants were made or any
obligations to repay money to the Commonwealth should those
conditions not be complied with. (Item 4)
Schedule 2 - Amendment of other Acts
consequential on repeal
Part 1 - Amendment relating to the
Australian Bicentennial Road Development Trust Fund Act
1982 and the Australian Land Transport (Financial
Assistance) Act 1985.
Section 33 of the Australian Land Transport
Development Act 1988 is repealed and a new section substituted
(Item 1). Section 40 of the Australian Land
Transport Development Act 1988 is repealed. It referred to the
closing of certain existing Funds (Item 2).
Schedule 1 is repealed. It dealt with limitations of allocations to
States made before 1 July 1989 (Item 3).
The repealed section enabled the Minister to
deduct from payments to the States etc under the Australian Land
Transport Development Trust Fund, amounts repayable under the
Australian Land Transport Development Act 1988, the
Australian Bicentennial Road Development Trust Fund Act
1982 and the Australian Land Transport (Financial
Assistance) Act 1985. New section 33 will
enable the Minister to deduct from the amount payable out of the
Reserve to a State etc any amount repayable by the State under the
Australian Land Transport Development Act 1988.
Part 2 - Amendment relating to the
Commonwealth Legal Aid Act 1977
The amendment to the National Crime
Authority Act 1984 changes the definition of 'legal aid
officer' that is currently defined with reference to the
Commonwealth Legal Aid Act 1977. The latter Act is
repealed in Schedule 1.
The amendment to the Public Service Act
1922 preserves section 3 and Part IV of the Commonwealth
Legal Aid Act 1977. Section 3 is a definitions section which
contains a definition of 'legal aid commission.' Part IV is
concerned with the transfer of certain persons employed by the
Commonwealth to legal aid commissions of the States or Territories
The amendment to the Superannuation Act
1976 (Item 6) preserves 'approved person' as
defined in Part IV of the Commonwealth Legal Aid Act 1977
in relation to section 244 of the Superannuation Act 1976
which relates to elections to join Public Sector Superannuation
Part 3 - Amendment relating to companies,
futures and securities legislation
All amendments, with the exception of those made
to the Companies and Securities (Interpretation and
Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1980 (Items 11 &
12), refer to fees payable under the Companies (Fees)
Act 1981 which is repealed by this Bill. Amendments to the
Companies and Securities (Interpretation and Miscellaneous
Provisions ) Act 1980 refer to the Companies (Acquisition
of Shares-Fees) Act 1980 which is repealed by this Bill.
Part 4 - Amendment relating to the Defence
(Transitional Provisions) Act 1946 and the Defence
Transition (Residual Provisions) Act 1952
Item 14 omits references to two
repealed Acts from the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act
Item 15 repeals a part of the
definition of 'war widow' in the Veterans' Entitlements Act
1986 which refers to the Defence (Transitional Provisions)
Act 1946. The latter Act is repealed by Schedule 1.
Part 5 - Amendment relating to primary industry
levies and charges
Item 16 repeals paragraph
28(9)(c) of the Primary Industries Levies and Charges
Collection Act 1991. This removes a reference to the Dried
Vine Fruits Equalization Levy Act 1978, one of the Acts
repealed in Schedule 1. The Schedules of the Primary Industries
Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991 are amended by removing
references to repealed Acts (Items 17-19).
Part 6- Amendment relating to other tax
Items 20-22 amend Schedule 1 of
the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.
Schedule 1 of the AD(JR) Act list classes of administrative
decisions that are not reviewable under the AD(JR) Act.
Items 20-22 remove references to statutes that are
repealed by Schedule 1 of the Bill.
Item 23 is a saving provision.
It is intended to ensure that the omission of references to the
repealed statutes from Schedule 1 of the AD(JR) Act does not mean
that relevant decisions made under those statutes become reviewable
under the AD(JR) Act.
References to repealed legislation are removed
from the remaining Acts listed in Part 6. Item 35
is a saving provision that provides in the Taxation (Interest
on Overpayments and Early Payments) Act 1983 where elements of
the definition of 'relevant tax' have been removed by Item
34, a person does not thereby become entitled to
Parts 7 and 8 involve minor amendments.
Part 9 - Amendment relating to the
Tuberculosis Act 1948
References to the Tuberculosis Act 1948
that is repealed by Schedule 1 are removed from three statutes
(Items 39, 42, 45, 48 & 49). Consequential
changes in punctuation and other minor changes are also made
(Items 38, 41, 44 & 47). Items 40, 43,
46 and 50 are applications provisions
which apply the changes made from their commencement.
Part 10-Amendment relating to the
Re-establishment and Employment Act 1945
References to the Re-establishment and
Employment Act 1945 which is repealed by Schedule 1 are
removed from four statutes or amended (Items 51, 52, 54,
55, 56, 57, 59 & 60). Other minor amendments and
application provisions are also made. (Items 53, 58 &
- The Liberal and National Parties' Law and Justice Policy, 23
- Time for Business-Key findings and recommendations. Report of
the Small Business Task Force November 1996, p. 26.
- Time for Business. Report of the Small Business Task Force
November 1996, p. 120.
- Ibid, p. 120.
26 August 1998
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© Commonwealth of Australia 1998
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