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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 455 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

for example, as meriting enforcement according to their terms as part of a continuing system to promote the accessibility of the law.

At the same time, it is recognised that a later Assembly may repeal or exclude these provisions either generally or in a particular case. Accordingly, a provision should also be seen as an expression of intention. The system they establish should not be set aside by a too readily found contrary intention in other law.

Turning to another topic dealt with by the bill, some of the current provisions about statutory interpretation were included in the Interpretation Act almost 20 years ago and are well overdue for review. Therefore, the opportunity has been taken to restate the provisions in a simplified, updated and, where necessary, enhanced form.

The restated provisions do not represent a dramatic change in the rules of statutory interpretation but reflect significant common law development of statutory interpretation in recent years. The effect of common law developments has been to establish the purposive approach to the interpretation of legislation; to stress the importance of legislation being read in context, including in the context of all its provisions; and to make obsolete many of the statutory restrictions applying to the use of extrinsic materials, such as Hansard, explanatory memoranda and committee reports. The provisions of the bill reflect these developments.

I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge at this point the significant assistance the Parliamentary Counsel's Office has received from Mr Jeffrey Barnes of La Trobe University in the development of the revised statutory interpretation provisions. Mr Barnes is a noted scholar in the field of statutory interpretation.

The bill also includes new provisions confirming the application of the common law privilege against self-incrimination and legal professional privilege. These provisions, which are stated to be determinative provisions, will remove any doubt about the continuing application of the privileges to ACT laws that do not expressly deal with that issue.

The provisions will also ensure that, if the important principles represented by the privileges are displaced by legislation, the law doing so must make an express statement displacing the privileges or demonstrate a manifest intention to do so. They will also help to ensure that the privileges are not inadvertently displaced and that cases in which they are sought to be displaced will be subject to Legislative Assembly scrutiny.

Finally, the bill provides amendments for minor technical changes to improve the operation of both the Legislation Act and the legislation register. The bill also makes minor, consequential amendments to a number of other acts.

Before concluding I should indicate that, whilst the provisions of this act can, and would by many, be regarded as dry and perhaps not particularly significant, some of the provisions in this piece of legislation are very significant indeed to the way in which the parliament operates and the way in which we interpret legislation.

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