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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1395 ..

Planning and Environment-Standing Committee

Report No 1

Debate resumed from 9 April 2002, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That the report be noted.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Executive business

Ordered that executive business be called on.

Legislation Amendment Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 21 February 2002, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (11.08): Mr Speaker, as the Attorney-General said, this bill marks an important stage in the evolution of the Legislation Act and completes the establishment of the legislative framework for the public access to legislation project, which I think most people would agree is a very desirable thing. Secondly, it provides more fully for the stages of the Legislation Act provisions. Thirdly, it restates, in updated form, some of the basic principles of statute interpretation, something about which the scrutiny of bills committee has raised serious concerns and members of the profession have expressed concern to me. I will deal with them later.

The bill contains a large number of things that are readily supportable, and the opposition will be supporting it in principle. I will mention some of the commonsense things contained in the bill. I refer to the general rules about commencement in clauses 12, 13 and 14 on page 13, because there have recently been problems in the courts as to just when instruments and acts commence.

Commencement will now be at the beginning of the day after an instrument is notified. That might seem fairly trite and basic, but that was not clear before. I can recall the Chief Justice having some concerns in April of last year as to when a particular instrument and a particular section of an act commenced.

There are some significant problems with the bill and some reasons why the opposition feels that it should be best looked at by the Legal Affairs Committee so that we can get it right. There are specific problems with proposed section 142, in relation to key principles of interpretation. It is worth referring to the very learned dissertation by the scrutiny of bills committee.

There was a bit of toing and froing between the committee and the Attorney's office. In report 4 of 2002 the committee pointed to two kinds of rights concerns arising from clause 19 of the bill, specifically proposed new section 142, which states:

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