Copyright © Government of South Australia 2002
All legislation herein is reproduced by permission but does not purport to be the official or authorised version. It is subject to Copyright. The Copyright Act, 1968 (Cth) permits certain reproduction and publication of South Australian legislation. In particular s. 182A of the Act enables a complete copy to be made by or on behalf of a particular person. For the reproduction or publication beyond that permitted by the Act, permission should be sought in writing from the South Australian Attorney-General's Department. Requests in the first instance should be addressed to the Attorney-General.


Speech: The Hon. M.J. ATKINSON (Attorney-General) obtained leave and introduced a bill for an act to provide for the revision and publication of South Australian legislation; to repeal the Acts Republication Act 1967; to amend the Evidence Act 1929 and the Subordinate Legislation Act 1978; and for other purposes. Read a first time.

The Hon. M.J. ATKINSON: I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

South Australia can be proud of its program for the consoli­dation of public general acts and regulations.

Mr Meier: We all are capable of reading it; everyone in this chamber is capable of reading it.

The Hon. M.J. ATKINSON: I am very disappointed that the Opposition Whip takes that attitude. I am reading this bill out of courtesy to the chamber. This is a point of order or an objection that has been taken by the Liberal Party before. For eight years as an opposition member of this chamber—

#36 An honourable member interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. M.J. ATKINSON: —I would come in here and government members would slap on the desks here speeches or reports which they had never read or edited and which were not their own work. They would not even do the house the courtesy of telling members briefly what the bill was about. Since I have been a minister it has been my practice at least to summarise the effect of the bill as an act of courtesy to those who are in the chamber.

Mr Meier interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Goyder will come to order. It is the prerogative of any member or minister to explain the proposition they have moved. The Attorney-General.

The Hon. M.J. ATKINSON: It is a practice I have followed since I have been a minister and, to the immense frustration of the member for Goyder, I will continue the practice out of courtesy to the chamber. Since early 1992 all public general acts and since 1995 all public general regula­tions have been continuously kept up to date in consolidated form. All acts and certain often used regulations are reprinted in hard copy on a regular basis as amendments come into operation, and all are available in electronic form. The bill replaces the Acts Republication Act and those parts of the Subordinate Legislation Act relating to the consolida­tion of regulations—the acts under which the program is conducted.

The measure will provide further support for the ongoing legislation consolidation program and facilitate improvements in consistency and presentation of the legislative data. The bill continues to provide for the appointment of a commis­sioner to oversee the program. The name of the office is altered from Commissioner of Statute Revision to Commis­sioner for Legislation Revision and Publication to emphasise the role of publishing legislation in printed or electronic form as well as revising legislation. The bill provides more extensive revision powers to ensure that South Australian legislation can be maintained appropriately, while ensuring that nothing is done—and I emphasise this—in the exercise of those powers that could alter the substantive effect of legislation.

In addition, the bill provides the groundwork for giving electronic versions of legislation, when accessed at a prescribed web site or kept in a prescribed format, the same legal status as the printed version of legislation. This reflects the approach taken in authorising electronic versions of legislation in Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. The necessary regulations will not be prescribed until completion of a project for the conversion of legislative data to extensible markup language designed to protect the longevity of the data, capture all graphics in legislation and establish appropriate infrastructure for the ongoing support of the web site. The project is complex and should be completed before the end of 2003. I commend the bill to honourable members, and I seek leave to have the explanation of the clauses inserted in Hansard without my reading it.

Leave granted.


legislation revision and publication bill 2002 Explanation of clauses

Clause 1: Short title

This clause is formal.

Clause 2: Commencement

This clause provides for commencement of the measure by proclamation.

Clause 3: Interpretation

This clause defines terms for the purposes of the measure.

Clause 4: Commissioner for Legislation Revision and Publi­cation

This clause provides for the Governor to appoint the Par­liamen­tary Counsel or a legal practitioner employed in the Office of Parliamen­tary Counsel as Commissioner for Legislation Revision and Publication and for the Attorney-General to appoint a legal practitioner employed in the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to act in the position if there is no Commissioner or if the Commis­sioner is not able to act.

The transitional provisions provide for the existing Com­mis­sioner of Statute Revision to continue as Commis­sion­er for Legis­lation Revision and Publication.

Under the Acts Republication Act, the Governor ap­points a person to hold or act in the office of Commission­er of Statute Revision and the Attorney-General may authorise a legal practi­tioner to supervise the reprint pro­gram if there is no person hold­ing or acting in the office of Commis­sioner. Under the Subordi­nate Legislation Act, the Attor­ney-General authorises a legal practitioner to consoli­date regulations. In practice, the same person performs both functions.

Clause 5: Program for revision and publication of legis­lation

The Subordinate Legislation Act takes a slightly different ap­proach in relation to the preparation of reprints to the Acts Repub­lication Act. It is proposed that a standard approach should apply to the revision and publication of Acts and Regulations and that both reprints and electronic versions should be contemplated as a means of making up-to-date legislation accessible on an ongoing basis.

This clause requires there to be a program for the revi­sion and publication of legislation focussing on making up-to-date public general Acts and regulations accessible in printed and electronic form.

The Acts Republication Act contains separate provi­sions authorising the 1975 consolidation of Acts and the ongo­ing re­printing program for Acts. The Subordinate Legisla­tion Act covers the consolidation of regulations. Currently, under both the Acts Republication Act and the Subordinate Legislation Act the Attor­ney-General is re­sponsible for the preparation of the reprints, reflecting the expense involved in setting up the initial consolida­tion program. The ongo­ing consolidation program is now fully estab­lished in this State. All public general Acts are re­printed and kept up-to-date on a fortnightly basis. All public general regula­tions are consolidated. Some of the consolidated regulations are reprinted and some made available only as electronic versions. It is a matter of continuing that program. In jurisdictions where the reprint­ing powers have been re­visited in recent years (notably Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT) the reprinting role is con­ferred on an office holder.

Scope of consolidation program

Legislation is proposed to be defined as

×an Act

×a regulation made under an Act

×an instrument of a prescribed kind.

This reflects the current program. It is intended that poli­cies under the Environment Protection Act would be pre­scribed.

Subclause (3) excludes certain types of legislation from the scope of the consolidation program. These are the same types of legislation as were excluded from the 1975 consolidation of Acts–see section 4(1) Acts Republication Act.

Clause 6: Supervision by Commissioner

This clause requires the Commissioner to supervise the revision and publication of legislation and is similar to section 6 of the Acts Republication Act.

Clause 7: Alterations that may be made in revising legisla­tion

Subclause (1) provides the following powers that may be exer­cised in the course of revising legislation:

(a)The following types of provisions may be omit­ted:

×arrangement provisions (The summary of provi­sions now performs the purpose of old arrange­ment provi­sions.)

×amending provisions

×repealing provisions

×saving, transitional or validation provisions

×other provisions that are spent or have expired or other­wise ceased to have effect.

The idea is that the republication should reflect the legisla­tion as it is in force and not include material that has served its pur­pose. In each case, the omission will be noted in the legislative history (see clause 5(5)(d)).

Section 4(5) of the Acts Republication Act allows amend­ing provisions to be left out of the 1975 consolida­tion. This does not (but should) carry through to the ongo­ing reprinting program.

Currently, these types of provisions are removed by Stat­ute Law Revision amendments and the Act then re­printed. The propo­sal avoids using drafter's time and Parliamentary time on the very substantial Statute Law Revision exercis­es that would be involved in removing these provisions by legislative means.

(b)The long title and any relevant headings may be altered so as to take account of the omis­sion of provisions.

This power is consequential to that in paragraph (a). Refer­ences to repeals and amendments will need to be removed from the long title. Schedule headings will re­quire adjustment where, for example, the heading refers to amendments and transitional provisions and the amending provisions are removed pursuant to the powers in (a).

(c)Obsolete headings may be omitted.

There are some cases where a heading remains in legisla­tion but the substantive provisions under that head­ing have been repealed or revoked. It is proposed that the removal of the obsolete heading be authorised.

(d)If the legislation contains a minor error or would con­tain a minor error if consolidated in a particu­lar way, the legisla­tion may be ex­pressed in a different way so as to correct or avoid the error.

A minor error is defined to mean a typographical or cleri­cal error, a grammatical error, spelling error or error of punctuation, an error in numbering or designation, cross-referencing or alpha­betical ordering.

Currently section 7(1)(f) of the Acts Republication Act enables errors of a grammatical or clerical nature to be corrected and (h) errors in numbering or designation. Section 14(3)(d) of the Subor­dinate Legislation Act allows printing errors and errors in spelling and numbering to be corrected. The proposed definition has been formulated following examination of what is allowed to be cor­rected as an error in the legislation of other Australian jurisdic­tions.

(e)A reference to legislation or a legislative provi­sion for which some other legislation or provi­sion has been substi­tuted may be altered to a reference to the substi­tuted legis­lation or provi­sion.

This power is currently provided in section 7(1)(b) of the Acts Republication Act and section 14(3)(a) of the Subor­dinate Legisla­tion Act. The power is rarely exercised because of the potential to change the substantive effect of the law but is retained for cases where there is no doubt about the substituted law.

(f)A reference to a name, title or citation of any place, person, authority or legislation that has been changed by or under an Act or law may be altered to the name, title or citation as so changed.

This power is currently provided in section 7(1)(c) of the Acts Republication Act and section 14(3)(b) of the Subor­dinate Legisla­tion Act. Again, the power is rarely exer­cised because of the potential to change the substan­tive effect of the law but is retained for cases where there is no doubt about the substitution.

(g)Figures that indicate a year of the 20th centu­ry may be replaced with figures that indicate a year of the 21st centu­ry if the figures relate to an act to be performed in future.

This is similar to a provision included in the WA legis­la­tion and will apply mainly to forms in regulations.

(h)This paragraph sets our various alterations that may be undertaken to achieve consistency with current practice or uniformity in style.

Currently section 7(2) of the Acts Republication Act allows the Attorney-General to issue directions for the purpose of `achieving uniformity of style in respect of the numbering and designation of, and the use of capital letters and italics in, any of the provisions or the formal parts of Acts and in respect of the setting out of the provisions of Acts general­ly; and generally improving, and bring­ing into conformity with modern standards of draftsmanship, the form or manner in which the law contained in Acts is expressed'. The sorts of changes that might be undertaken for these purposes are encapsu­lated in the proposed new paragraph, negating the need for such directions. The matters listed are designed to ensure that the changes are changes in form only and not substance.

(h)(i)The enacting words in an Act may be altered and, where the enacting words are included in a pre­amble, they may be separated from the preamble.

Various styles of enacting words have been used over time and in older Acts a preamble included and combined with the enacting words. It is proposed to introduce consis­tency with the enacting words being `The Parliament of South Australia enacts as fol­lows:'

(h)(ii)A heading may be inserted above a pre­amble to indicate that it is a preamble.

This is for consistency in structure.

(h)(iii)The style of references to legislation or to non-legislative works may be altered.

Various styles have been used over time and this will allow for consistency. Non-legislative works would in­clude Australian Standards.

(h)(iv)Spelling may be altered.

This supports the current practice of updating spelling prac­tices for example by altering `iz' to `is' in authorise.

(h)(v)Numbering may be altered, deleted or added.

This allows for consistency in numbering to be intro­duced where appropriate (for example in older legislation roman numerals may be used for a second set of para­graphs in a subsec­tion) and for dashes or dots to be con­verted to numbering in appropriate cases (where numbers would be included as a matter of current drafting practice).

Currently, section 14(3)(f) of the Subordinate Legisla­tion Act authorises renumbering of all regulations.

The power in this paragraph would be used with great care because of the potential for confusion and the need to ensure cross references are corrected.

(h)(vi)Expressions of a number, year, date or time or of a quantity or measurement may be express­ed different­ly.

Section 7(1)(d) of the Acts Republication Act enables a refer­ence in an Act or enactment to a year of Our Lord, expressed in words, to be altered to a reference to that year expressed in Arabic numerals.

Again, this power is included to promote consistency. Older drafting practice was to refer to years in words rather than figures. The statute book is inconsistent in the way in which dates and times are presented and in the way in which measurements are presented.

(h)(vii)An amount of money that is not expressed as an amount in decimal currency may be ex­pressed as an amount in decimal currency if, according to the provisions of the Decimal Currency Act 1965, it is to be read as such.

Currently, section 8 of the Acts Republication Act and section 14(3)(c) of the Subordinate Legislation Act enable alterations to give effect to the Decimal Currency Act.

(h)(viii)A penalty at the foot of a provision may be stated to be a maximum penalty if it is so by virtue of the Acts Interpretation Act 1915.

This power would enable the references to penalty to be altered to maximum penalty in appropriate cases. Of course, this power will not be relevant to the few cases where minimum penalties apply.

(h)(ix)Formatting or any other matter related to presen­tation may be altered (including, for example, the setting out of provisions, the type, the use of symbols in place of words having the same meaning, the placement of conjunctives and disjunctives and the use of capital letters, punc­tuation, hyphens, italics, bolding and quotation marks).

Again this promotes consistency and enables full ad­van­tage to be taken of the proposed new system where printing styles can easily be updated for particular ele­ments across the entire data­base.

(i)The regulations may authorise alterations of other kinds.

Equivalents of the following existing provisions are not includ­ed:

×Acts Republication Act section 7(1)(a)–allows alter­ation of short title by inclusion of end year. This does not accord with current practice. Sec­tion 7(6) is consequen­tial.

×Subordinate Legislation Act section 14(4)-If the principal legislation does not have a short title or citation, a short title or citation may be assigned. This related to older regulations and there are now no regulations without a citation.

×Subordinate Legislation Act section 15–This enables the Attorney-General to print the consolidated text in the pre­scribed form and manner. There are no regulations supporting this section.

×Acts Republication Act 1967 section 12–This relates to refer­ences to line numbers and pages in Acts and has no current application.


Subclause (2) provides that the section does not permit alterations to legislation that would change the effect of the legislation. This is a new provision and is a very im­portant constraint promoting a conservative approach to the exercise of revision powers by the Commissioner.

Changes to section headings etc and legislative history

Subclause (3) contemplates that material that does not form part of legislation for interpretation purposes may be included, altered or removed.

Section 7(1)(e) of the Acts Republication Act currently allows marginal notes to sections or parts of sections to be altered.

Subclause (4) requires a legislative history to be pre­pared setting out

×the instruments by which the legislation has been amended;

×a description of how the provisions of the legislation have been affected by those instruments;

×relevant assent and commencement dates for those instru­ments;

×a note of provisions omitted using the revision powers.

Section 5(2) of the Acts Republication Act and section 14(5)(a) of the Subordinate Legislation Act require the list of amending legislation to be presented. Section 5(2) of the Acts Republication Act and section 14(5)(b) of the Subordinate Legislation Act re­quire marginal notes indi­cating the reference to the amending legislation to be presented. The proposal expands on these require­ments and reflects current practice.

Clause 8: Publication of legislation

This clause contemplates publication under the Act of revised legislation in either hard copy or electronic copy and of legislation that has not been revised in electronic copy. (Acts as enacted will continue to be published by authority of the Government Printer and subordinate legis­lation will continue to be published in the Gazette.)

The authorised electronic copies will be provided in ac­cord­ance with the regulations. Provision is made for elec­tronic copies downloaded from a website in accordance with conditions pre­scribed by regulation, or prints pro­duced from such a copy in accordance with conditions prescribed by regulation, to have the same status as author­ised copies.

These regulations will not be made until the electronic versions include and properly display all maps, diagrams, equations and other graphics.

The authorisation of the electronic versions will accom­mo­date those regulations that are not currently reprinted and also the revisions that will be made across the data­base as it is converted to eXtensible Markup Language.

Reprinting in Parts

Subclause (2) expressly supports the practice of reprinting long, often amended, legislation in Parts, ie, substituting just the front pages, the Parts affected by the relevant amendments and the updated legislative history.

Effect of alterations

Under subclause (3) legislation revised and republished under the measure has effect as if the alterations made in revising the legis­lation had been made by amending legis­lation. This equates to sections 7(5) and 8(4) of the Acts Republication Act.

Clause 9: Evidence

This clause provides a presumption that legislation pub­lished under the measure correctly sets out the contents of the legislation. It is similar to section 9(1)(d) of the Acts Republication Act and section 16 of the Subordinate Legis­lation Act.

Clause 10: Regulations

This clause provides a general regulation making power.


Repeals, Amendments and Transitional Provisions

Clause 1: Repeal of Acts Republication Act

Clause 1 repeals the Acts Republication Act.

Clause 2: Amendment of Evidence Act

This Act extends the provision providing for judicial notice of legislative instruments to legislation published under the new measure or corresponding measures in other jurisdictions. In due course, this will include the electronic versions of legislation as well as the printed versions.

Clause 3: Amendment of Subordinate Legislation Act

Clause 3 amends the Subordinate Legislation Act to re­move references to the authorised legal practitioner and consolidation of regulations.

Clause 4: Transitional provision

Clause 4 continues the current Commissioner of Statute Revision in office as the Commissioner for Legislation Revision and Publi­cation.

One White

Mr HAMILTON-SMITH secured the adjournment of the debate.