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Monday, 12 October 2015
Page: 7346

Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources) (17:29): I move:

That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speeches read as follows—

The Amending Acts 1980 to 1989 Repeal Bill 2015 is part of the Government's 2015 Autumn Repeal Day package.

This bill continues the Government's efforts to streamline the statute book by removing over 850 amending or repealing acts enacted between 1980 and 1989. This builds on the two previous Amending Acts Repeal Bills the Government introduced over the previous Repeal Days which together repealed over 1700 amending acts made between 1901 and 1979.

The bill repeals each act mentioned in its Schedule. In all cases, the repeal of these acts will not impact on existing arrangements or make any change to the substance of the law.

These acts are no longer required as the amendments and repeals that they provide for have already occurred.

If any application, saving or transitional provision is included in one of those acts, any ongoing operation of the provision will be preserved. The acts do not contain any other substantive provisions that are not already spent.

Repealing these acts will reduce the regulatory burden and make accessing the law simpler and faster for businesses and individuals. It will make the statute book easier to use by reducing the time it takes to locate current laws.

At present, the acts proposed to be repealed in this bill form part of the current law and it is not clear to everyone whether the acts have force in and of themselves.

Repealing these acts will remove confusion about the status of these laws. It will also facilitate the publication of consolidated versions of acts by the Commonwealth and by private publishers of legislation.

People with a specific interest in the legislation can continue to access these acts as they will remain publically available on ComLaw as historical records.

The Weights and Measures (National Standards) Amendment Act 1984 is an example of an act that is clearly out of date but is still on the statute book. This act repealed the Metric Conversion Act 1970, which brought the metric system of measurement into use across Australia. It also established the Metric Conversion Board to oversee this change. By the mid-1970s, most Australian industries were using metric units and by the 1980s the transition away from the old imperial units was complete. The Weights and Measures (National Standards) Amendment Act 1984 has done its work and can be removed from the statute book.

Other acts being repealed by this bill amend principal acts which have already been repealed. For instance, over 60 Sales Tax Amendment Acts were enacted between 1980 and 1989. These acts amended principal sales tax acts which were repealed in 2006, as they had become inoperative following the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax in 2000.

There are numerous other items contained in schedule 1 of the bill which amend a principal act multiple times over the decade and are no longer necessary.

Amending acts enacted after 1989 will be repealed at the Spring Repeal Day.

The Statute Law Revision Bill (No. 2) 2015 is part of the Government's 2015 Autumn Repeal Day package.

The bill continues the work of repealing spent or redundant legislation and correcting minor errors in the Commonwealth statute book. By removing obsolete provisions and correcting outdated terminology, the bill makes improvements to the acts it amends without making substantive changes to the law.

The bill improves accuracy and useability of Commonwealth legislation, thereby reducing the burden of regulatory compliance for individuals and businesses.

Schedules 1 and 2 to the bill correct technical errors, remove redundant text and renumber text within principle acts, as well as amending acts and regulations.

Correcting these legislative provisions helps to make the law easier to understand and use.

Schedule 3 to the bill makes amendments to make clear, on the face of Commonwealth acts, that the Crown in right of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory is bound by those acts. It also modernises the form of associated provisions about whether the Crown is liable to be prosecuted for an offence.

These changes clarify the intended operation of Commonwealth legislation.

Schedule 4 to the bill updates indexation provisions by replacing the term "reference base" with the term "index preference period". This is in accordance with current terminology preferences of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The Schedule also removes gender specific language. These changes improve the relevance and inclusiveness of the provisions amended.

Schedules 5 and 6 of the bill repeal spent or obsolete provisions and acts. For example:

The Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 contains references to the Australian Honey Board, Australian Meat and Live-stock Corporation, Australian Wheat Board and Australian Wool Corporation. As these bodies have ceased, references to them are redundant and can be repealed.

The G20 (Safety and Security) Complementary Act 2014 provides it ceases to have effect at the end of 18 November 2014, at the latest. As that date has now passed, this act is spent and can be removed from the statute book.

Debate adjourned.