Bills Digest 24 1996-97 Statute Law Revision Bill 1996

Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

This Digest is prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments.

This Digest was available from 29 August 1996.


Passage History

Statute Law Revision Bill 1996

Date Introduced: 19 June 1996
House: Senate
Portfolio: Attorney-General
Commencement: Each item in Schedule 2 commences at the time specified in the note at the end of the item. Each item in Schedule 3 commences when the amending Act it is amending commences. Other amendments commence on Royal Assent.


The major amendments proposed by the Bill:

  • repeal Acts which have no current operation;
  • correct misspellings, punctuation errors, numbering errors and makes terminology consistent throughout the relevant Act; and
  • replace gender specific language with gender neutral language


Statute Law Revision Bills

The purpose of a Statute Law Revision Bill is three fold. First, it corrects printing and drafting errors. Secondly, it provides for the repeal of Acts and provisions of Acts the operation of which are exhausted or are no longer required. Thirdly, it makes technical and minor amendments which are regarded as being of a non-controversial nature.

A Statute Law Revision Bill was first introduced by the Fraser Government in 1981. In the Second Speech to the Statute Law Revision Bill 1981 the then Attorney-General, Senator Durack, said:

The Government has decided to introduce Statute Law Revision Bills into the Parliament on a regular basis, at least once in each year and, if required, once in each sitting. This will enable the prompt correction of mistakes and errors and removal from the statute book of expired laws. In the absence of the regular passage of Bills of this kind, the correction of an error in an Act can only be achieved by having a special Bill passed for that purpose or waiting until the Act need to be amended for some other more important purpose.(1)

The then Opposition supported the introduction of the Statute Law Revision Bill process. In the Second Reading debate to the Statute Law Revision Bill 1981, Senator Evans, has he then was, said:

The Statute Law Revision Bill is a fascinating Bill, for the contents of which the Government is to be much congratulated. ... The first innovation is the very existence of the Bill as a vehicle-a compendious vehicle-for tidying up oversights, errors and oddities that creep into even the best laid drafting plans and also to accommodate minor changes that become necessary because of changing circumstances. The Opposition notes that it is the Government's intention to introduce housekeeping Bills of this kind at least once each year, and perhaps every sitting. I, for one, certainly applaud that as a rational legislative measure aiding in the avoidance of the unnecessary cluttering of the parliamentary process with what are on any view small issues most of the time.(2)

While the Statute Law Revision Bill process can be said to have received bi-partisan support, it may be criticised on a number of grounds, including:

  • the debate for the Bill may be brought on shortly after its introduction without giving the Opposition, minor parties, independents and commentators an opportunity to make a detailed analysis of the myriad provisions to ensure that the Bill does what the Government says it does.


Schedule 1 - Repeal of Acts

Item 1 of Schedule 1 of the Bill repeals 16 Acts. The specified Acts have no current operation.

Schedule 2 - Amendment of Principal Acts

Schedule 2 of the Bill amends 60 Acts. The proposed amendments correct misspellings, punctuation errors, numbering errors and make terminology consistent throughout the relevant Act.

Schedule 3 - Amendment of Amending Acts

Schedule 3 of the Bill amends 67 amendment Acts. The proposed amendments have two main effects. First, to correct text which incorrectly describes the text to be amended. Secondly, to correct textual errors which prevent amendments operating.

Schedule 4 - Correct References to Remuneration Tribunal Act

Schedule 4 of the Bill amends 95 Acts. The proposed amendments bring up to date references in 95 Acts to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973. In 1988 the Remuneration Tribunals Act 1973 was changed to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.

Schedule 5 - Gender Neutral Language

Schedule 5 of the Bill amends 58 Acts. The proposed amendments replace gender specific language with gender neutral language.

Main Provisions

Due to the nature of the amendments proposed by this Bill, this Bills Digest does not provide an item by item analysis. However, Bills Digests clients who wish an analysis of specific provisions should contact the relevant subject specialist in the Parliamentary Research Service or Ian Ireland on 06 2772438.


  1. Extract from the Historic Senate Hansard Parliamentary Database, Statute Law Revision Bill 1981, 27 May 1981, p. 2167.
  2. Ibid., 28 May 1981, p. 2311.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Ian Ireland Ph. 06 277 2438
26 August 1996
Bills Digest Service
Parliamentary Research Service

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further amendments.

PRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1323-9032
© Commonwealth of Australia 1996

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1996.

This page was prepared by the Parliamentary Library, Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated: 23 August 1996

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