Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Territories Self-Government Legislation Amendment (Disallowance and Amendment of Laws) Bill 2011

Bill home page  


Download WordDownload Word


Download PDFDownload PDF

2010-2011

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

Territories Self-Government Legislation Amendment (Disallowance and Amendment of Laws) Bill 2011

 

 

REVISED EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Mr Adam Bandt MP, Member for Melbourne)

 

 

 

 

THIS MEMORANDUM TAKES ACCOUNT OF AMENDMENTS MADE BY

THE SENATE

TO THE BILL AS INTRODUCED



 

 

T able of contents

Glossary.............................................................................................................. 1

General outline and financial impact............................................................ 3

Notes on Clauses............................................................................................. 5

 

Do not remove section break.



The following abbreviations and acronyms are used throughout this explanatory memorandum.

Abbreviation

Definition

The Bill

Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Amendment (Disallowance and Amendment Power of the Commonwealth) Bill 2010

The Inquiry

Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry

ACT

Australian Capital Territory

NT

Northern Territory

ACT Self-government Act

The Australian Capital Territory (Self-government ) Act 1988

NT Self-government Act

Northern Territory (Self-government) Act 1978



Outline

On 29 September 2010, Senator Bob Brown introduced the Bill into the Senate.  The Bill was subsequently amended by Senator Brown to apply to the NT and Norfolk Island as well as the ACT.

The purpose of the Bill was to remove the power of the Governor-General in relation to the disallowance of enactments of the ACT, and subsequently the NT, Legislative Assemblies to enhance their independence and accountability.  The Bill retains this original objective.

The Bill was referred to the Senate Committee.  On 4 May 2011, the Senate Committee reported back that it supported the objectives of the Bill , but recommended amendments.

On 18 August 2011, the Government moved amendments to the Bill in the Senate. 

Reflecting the recommendations in the Senate Committee’s report, the Government amendments:

a.     did not reproduce clause 4(b) of the Bill , which purported to confer ‘exclusive legislative authority and responsibility for making laws’ on the Australian Capital Territory.  Such conferral would be beyond the powers of the Commonwealth Parliament under the Australian Constitution .

b.     corrected the reference in clause 4 of the Bill to the Governor-General’s powers in relation to amendments of ACT enactments (and makes an analogous corrected reference in relation to NT laws).

The Government amendments also included some minor consequential amendments of the NT Self-government Act.

The Bill , as amended, was passed by the Senate on 18 August 2011.

Enactment of the Bill does not remove the power of the Commonwealth legislature under s122 of the Australian Constitution to make laws ‘for the government of any territory’. 

As a Commonwealth law, the Marriage Act 1961 will override any inconsistent State or Territory law to the extent of the inconsistency.  The Bill will not enable the ACT or the NT to enact its own law to define ‘marriage’, or any law that would otherwise be inconsistent with the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 . The Bill, as amended, would not alter the existing legislative powers of the ACT or the NT to make civil union laws.

Similarly, enactment of the Bill, as amended, will not affect the operation of the Commonwealth Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, which prevents the territories from enacting euthanasia laws.

The Bill, as amended, does not make any changes to the Governor-General’s powers in relation to laws of Norfolk Island.  This is in conformity with the Committee’s recommendations, in recognition of the differences between Norfolk Island and the other self-governing Territories.  The passage of the Territories Law Reform Act 2010 provides the Commonwealth with increased oversight and scrutiny of Norfolk Island legislation to ensure it is consistent with the national interest.  It would therefore not be consistent to remove the Governor-General’s powers of disallowance (or recommendation of amendments) of Norfolk Island laws.

Date of effect :   The Bill would commence on the day on which it receives Royal Assent.

Financial impact There are no financial impacts associated with the Bill.  

Compliance cost impact No net increase in compliance costs are expected to flow from the Bill.   

Do not remove section break.



Notes on Clauses

Clause 1: Short Title

Clause 1 specifies that when the Bill is enacted, it is to be cited as the Territories Self-Government Legislation Amendment (Disallowance and Amendment of Laws) Act 2011.

Clause 2:  Commencement

The Act will commence on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Clause 3:  Schedules

Schedule 1 sets out the amendments that the Bill will make to the ACT Self-government Act.

Schedule 2 sets out the amendments that the Bill will make to the NT Self-government Act. 

Clause 4: Objects of Act

The objects in clause 4 refer to removing the Governor-General’s powers to disallow or recommend amendments to ACT enactments and to disallow or recommend amendments to NT laws.

Schedule 1: Amendment of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988

Schedule 1, item 1:  Section 35 is repealed to remove the power of the Governor-General to disallow, or to recommend the amendment of, enactments of the ACT under that section.

Schedule 2:  Amendment of the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978

Schedule 2, item 1:  Section 9 is repealed to remove the power of the Governor-General to disallow, or to recommend the amendment of, laws of the Northern Territory under that section.

Schedule 2, items 2, 3 and 4: Section 10 is amended to remove references in that section to the Governor-General’s disallowance of Northern Territory laws under section 9.