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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 453..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Members will be aware that the public access to legislation project has made ACT legislation and related notifications, instruments and information available on an approved Internet website. The key element from the framework of the project is the consolidation of provisions dealing with the life cycle of ACT legislation into a single act, the Legislation Act.

These provisions were previously scattered across various acts and were not easy to find or use. This bill completes the process of consolidation by relocating into the Legislation Act the remaining provisions of the Interpretation Act and also incorporating the provisions of the Administration Act and the Statutory Appointments Act. The bill also provides for the repeal of these acts. The bill deals with the status of Legislation Act provisions, especially their application and displacement.

Mr Speaker, when I refer to the displacement of a provision of the Legislation Act, I am referring to the fact that the act lays down various rules that will apply to all other acts and statutory instruments unless the other act or instrument indicates that the provision of the Legislation Act is not to apply in a particular case. Some examples of these rules may be seen in section 74, which presumes that laws commencing on a day commence at the beginning of that day, and section 236, which provides that a person with a power of delegation may not delegate that power.

The notion of displacement means that rules like these may not necessarily apply in relation to a particular act or statutory instrument. This then raises the question of the sort of indication that is needed to effectively exclude or displace the operation of the Legislation Act in a particular case. The bill provides that more must be done to displace some provisions than others.

Before considering the mechanics of this displacement, we might ask why this should be so. Why should some of the provisions of the Legislation Act be more difficult to displace than others? The answer is that the operation of some provisions seems to be more important to our system of government and law than others-remembering that all the provisions of the Legislation Act are part of the law.

Consider, for example, section 61. This section requires certain instruments to be notified on the register. However, if section 61 does not apply in a particular case, for example, because the law-maker makes some other provision, there is a risk that the instrument may not come to public notice. For this reason the bill designates a number of Legislation Act provisions as determinative provisions. For the significance of this kind of provision we must turn to the new section 6 that the bill proposes to insert into the act.

Subsection (2) of the new section 6 provides that a determinative provision may be displaced in two ways. The first of these is by express words. This implies the provision in another act or statutory instrument that specifically refers to section 61 and says that it does not apply. The second way section 61 can be displaced is if another act or instrument, while not specifically referring to section 61, clearly contradicts the rule of section 61. This kind of displacement is known as manifest contrary intention.


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