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Wednesday, 20 February 1980
Page: 153

Mr VINER (Stirling) (Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The amendment of the Acts Interpretation Act made by this Bill is designed to facilitate the computerised phototypesetting of Commonwealth legislation by enabling legislation to be printed with section headings in place of the present marginal notes, and with endnotes in place of the present footnotes. I understand that, for technical reasons, the computer-controlled printing system operates most efficiently if extraneous interruptions to the flow of type-setting like marginal notes and footnotes are eliminated.

The Bill amends sub-section 13 (3) so that section headings and endnotes shall not be taken to be part of an Act in exactly the same way as marginal notes and footnotes are now not taken to be part of an Act.

In two cognate Bills- the Amendments Incorporation Amendment Bill 1980 and the Statutory Rules Publication Amendment Bill 1980- provision will be made to enable endnotes to be used in reprints of Acts and statutory rules to refer to the enactment by which each amendment incorporated in a reprint is made.

At present all Bills and Acts when first passed are printed in pamphlet form using the hot metal printing process. The metal-printed pamphlet then has to be re-keyed onto the computer system for printing the annual volume of Acts. All annual volumes of the Acts have been so printed since 1974. New Commonwealth statutory rules and ordinances and regulations of the Territories are also printed from metal type. The annual volumes of statutory rules and laws of the Australian Capital Territory are being re-keyed for computerised phototypesetting commencing with the 1979 volume.

The computerised phototypesetting of all legislation, including Bills, from the initial drafting stage is expected to be introduced gradually over the next 12 months. This will mean a reduction in re-keying and proof-reading operations. If Bills and other legislation are originally set up by the computerised phototypesetting process all subsequent printing can be done by this process. Where particular legislation has been subject to significant amendment, reprinting from computer tapes of that legislation, as amended, can be expected to be less costly. A further advantage of complete computerisation of the typesetting of legislation is that the publication of annual volumes and of pamphlet reprints can be expected to be more expeditious because of the more efficient use of staff resources which will be possible.

The Joint Committee on Publications, in its report dated 8 June 1978, stated that the Committee was convinced that the use of the computerised phototypesetting process for the production of Commonwealth legislation would be a most worthwhile innovation. The Committee supported the rapid and total application of the process to all Bills, statutory rules, et cetera and recommended-

That all necessary assistance be given to the Government Printer to ensure that, as soon as possible, all production stages of all Commonwealth legislation be undertaken by the computerised phototypesetting process.

The software development necessary to enable new legislation to be processed through the computerised phototypesetting system in the Printing Office has proceeded to the point where the new processing methods can now be introduced. I commend the Bill to the House.

By arrangement with the Opposition I would wish to continue the debate on this Bill. Therefore, I seek the leave of the House to do so.

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