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Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Page: 5409

Mr DREYFUS (IsaacsCabinet Secretary, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation) (16:11): I thank the honourable members who have spoken on this bill for their contribution to the debate. The Parliamentary Counsel and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 enables the functions of the Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing to be transferred to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel thereby increasing the flexible and efficient use of the Commonwealth's drafting resources. The proposed transfer of functions was recommended to the government as a means of enhancing the quality and effectiveness of the Commonwealth statute book and optimising its drafting resources. The government has accepted this recommendation and this bill gives effect to the reform.

I take this opportunity to thank all those from the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and the Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing who have assisted in the development of this bill and who are working to implement the transfer within a short time frame. As the Attorney-General noted when introducing this bill, the Office of Parliamentary Counsel has a long, distinguished and central role in giving effect to government policy. I would like to commend both drafting offices for their excellent work behind the scenes to enable the government to efficiently and effectively carry out its legislative program time and time again. These two offices have operated side by side over many years to draft high-quality acts and subordinate legislation and to ensure that our laws are continually advancing, accurately reflecting government policies and are easy to understand.

By pooling the Commonwealth's specialist drafting functions into the one office the government will ensure that it makes the most effective use of both our highly skilled drafters and the specialist IT systems that support the drafting and publishing of Commonwealth legislation. This will improve drafting capacity, raise consistency across all forms of legislation and make our laws clearer and easier to understanding.

I am aware that both offices have already begun working together to streamline drafting styles and practices and to work more closely on particular projects. I am confident that the transfer of functions will progress this work and ensure that all legislation, whether bills, regulations or other subordinate instruments, will be drafted at a high and consistent standard in the future. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.