Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations

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  • Review of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006

    On 19 April 2011 the Committee received a reference to review the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 and the first four years of the Charter's operation. See pdf Victorian Government Gazette S128 36.19 Kb

    The Committee is calling for submissions, and has prepared Guidelines which are availalble here rtfRTF 84 Kbpdf PDF 174 Kb

    For further information. please contact the Committee Secretariat.

  • Scrutiny of Bills

    The Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee examines all Bills presented to the Parliament and publishes its findings in a report called the Alert Digest.

    The Terms of Reference of the Committee contain principles of scrutiny that enable it to operate in the best traditions of non-partisan legislative scrutiny. These traditions have developed since the first Australian scrutiny of bills committee of the Australian Senate commenced scrutiny of bills in 1981. They are precedents and traditions followed by all Australian scrutiny committees.

    The Committee does not make comments on the policy aspects of legislation. Non-policy scrutiny principles within its terms of reference allow the Committee to alert the Parliament to the use of certain legislative practices and allows the Parliament to consider whether the use of these practices is necessary, appropriate or desirable in all the circumstances.

    The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 provides that the Committee must consider any Bill introduced into Parliament and must report to the Parliament whether the Bill is incompatible with Human Rights.

    Where the Committee seeks further information concerning a bill from a Minister or member, it will include any correspondence on the bill in a subsequent (Alert Digest) report to Parliament.

    To see which Bills are currently before the Committee please note the following links

    • Bills this week lists all Bills Parliament is working on during a sitting week
    • Bills Status List provides the status of all bills introduced into the Parliament during the year

    Alert Digest reports prior to the 57th Parliament are available through the Publications Archive.

  • Scrutiny of Regulations

    The Committee is responsible for examining regulations and legislative instruments to ensure that they do not exceed the powers conferred by an Act and do not unduly trespass on rights and freedoms.

    The Committee checks regulations against the heads of review contained in section 21 of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 (the Act) and legislative instruments against those contained in section 25A of the Act.

    While the Committee focuses on the principles contained in sections 21 and 25A, it also ensures that there has been compliance with the practical or procedural requirements of the Act.

    Substantial contravention of the practical requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 in fact constitutes a head of review in sections 21 or 25A of the Act. Where a regulations or legislative instrument do not comply with the procedures or the principles in sections 21 and 25A of the Act, the Committee may report to Parliament and recommend that the regulations or legislative instrument be disallowed in whole or part.

    The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 provides that the Committee must also review all regulations and legislative instruments and report to Parliament if it considers the regulations or legislative instrument to be incompatible with human rights.

    Legal Adviser Regulations - Lauren Cook

    Phone: 03 8682 2951

    Further information


  • Statute Law Revision

    The role of the Committee in considering a Bill is to ensure that the amendments sought to be made are not of a substantive policy nature, rather that they are strictly confined to the correction of minor errors or omissions such as cross-references, spelling, drafting or grammatical errors. Other acceptable statute law revision amendments update nomenclature such as the names of government agencies, successor Act names or repeal spent sections, divisions or parts of Acts. In other instances amendments correct ineffective legislative instructions that have failed to make the amendment originally proposed. The Committee accepts that such house keeping amendments are intended to clarify the original intent of the Act or update provisions in those Acts.

    Where statute law revision amendments are intended to apply retrospectively the Committee seeks to ensure that there is a rationale and legitimate reason for applying the amendment to the particular retrospective date required.

    Where Acts are to be repealed the objective of the Committee is to ensure that the Acts sought to be repealed are spent or no longer necessary to remain on the Victorian Statute books and that necessary transitional or savings provisions are preserved appropriately.

    In considering statute law revision Bills the Committee is mindful of the accepted principles of statutory interpretation regarding such Bills. In this respect the Committee notes the following extract from a leading Australian authority on statutory interpretation– 

    This case* is illustrative of the approach that has usually been followed by the courts assuming that statute law revision Acts are not intended to change the substance of the law. They are used to tidy up the statute book, often before consolidation or reprinting occurs. The result of this approach has been to make the courts slow to infer that a change of substance has been made to an Act where an interpretation not changing the previous operation of the Act is tenable.

    D. C. Pearce and R. S. Geddes, Statutory Interpretation in Australia (Butterworths, 6th Edition (2006), at p. 262).
    *Laird v Portland Municipality [1958] Tas SR 90

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  • Summary Offences Act 1966

    The Summary Offences Act 1966 contains provisions relating to a wide variety of areas, including everything from pigeons, to kite-flying to harassing witnesses. As such, the Act contains sections which deal with very serious matters that demand criminal punishment, such as assault, trespass and property damage, harassing witnesses, assaulting and resisting police and making false reports to police.

    The Act also contains other sections that deal with less serious matters, behaviours of which do not even appear to warrant constituting an offence at all. Examples of this include kite-flying and playing games in a public place to the annoyance of any person.

    This report reviews the Summary Offences Act 1966 and makes recommendations for its improvement.

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