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

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2010-2011

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (SELF-GOVERNMENT) AMENDMENT (DISALLOWANCE AND AMENDMENT POWER OF THE COMMONWEALTH) BILL 2010

 

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

Amendments to be moved on behalf of the Government

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the

Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, the Honourable Simon Crean MP)

 

T able of contents

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

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

Notes on Amendments.................................................................................... 5

 

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

Abbreviation

Definition

Disallowance Bill

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

Government amendments

The amendments of the Disallowance Bill proposed by the Government

ACT Self-Government Act

The Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government ) Act 1988

NT Self-Government Act

Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978



Outline

The purpose of Senator Brown’s Private Senator’s Disallowance Bill is to make the ACT Legislative Assembly more independent, responsible and accountable by removing the power of the Governor-General to disallow enactments of the Assembly (and to recommend amendments to enactments).

The Government amendments would amend the Disallowance Bill to achieve the same result for the Northern Territory by removing analogous powers of the Governor-General in relation to the laws of that Territory. 

Enactment of the Disallowance Bill, as amended by the Government amendments, would implement the recommendations of the report by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee (‘the Committee’) of May 2011 into the Disallowance Bill. 

Enactment of the Disallowance 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’.

It is not proposed, in the Government amendments, to 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.

Also reflecting the recommendations in the Committee’s report:

a.      The Government amendments do not reproduce clause 4(b) of the Disallowance Bill, which purports 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.     In addition, the Government amendments correct the reference in clause 4 of the Disallowance Bill to the Governor-General’s powers in relation to amendments of ACT enactments (and makes an analogous corrected reference in relation to Northern Territory laws).

The Government amendments would also include in the Disallowance Bill some minor consequential amendments of the Northern Territory Self-Government Act 1978.

Date of effect :  The Disallowance Bill (as amended by the Government amendments) would commence on the day on which it receives Royal Assent.

Financial impact There are no financial impacts associated with the Government amendments.

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

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Amendment 1: Title

The title of the Disallowance Bill is amended to include a reference to the powers of the Governor-General in relation to Northern Territory laws.  

Amendment 2:  Short title

The short title of the Disallowance Bill (clause 1) is amended to reflect the fact that the Bill, as proposed to be amended, will amend the NT Self-Government Act as well as the ACT Self-Government Act .

Amendment 3:  Objects

The objects in clause 4 of the Disallowance Bill are extended to reflect the amendments to be made to the NT Self-Government Act , to remove the reference to the exclusive legislative authority and responsibility for making laws for the Australian Capital Territory, and to refer to the Governor-General’s powers to recommend amendments of Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory laws rather than powers to make such amendments.

Amendment 4:  NT Self-Government Act amendments

Schedule 2 is added to the Disallowance Bill.  The Schedule provides for the amendment of the NT Self-Government Act as follows.

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.