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 Report 35

Rule-making by Commonwealth Agencies, 1992

Summary of the report

The report was transmitted to the Government on 26 March 1992, and was tabled in the Parliament on 6 May 1992.

The report contains 31 recommendations concerning procedures that could be applied in respect of instruments that are of a legislative character. The principal elements of the recommendations relate to:

  • better guidance on matters that are appropriate for inclusion in Acts, and on matters that should be included in delegated legislation;
  • improved practices to ensure quality drafting for all Commonwealth rules, and mandatory consultation with the community prior to the making of important rules;
  • improved procedures for parliamentary scrutiny and control which apply to all rules, and the sun-setting of rules on a ten-year, rotating basis;
  • the establishment of a Legislative Instruments Register in which all rules should be published, with rules being unenforceable if not published in this way; and
  • special adaptations of those general procedures for rules of court and rules made under inter-governmental schemes for nationally uniform regulations.

Response to the report

Although the policy approaches of the recommendations have been substantially accepted by the Government, the parliamentary progress of the legislation embodying that response was lengthy.

The first Legislative Instruments Bill was introduced into the Parliament in 1994. It was not passed during the life of that Parliament, and a new Bill was introduced in June 1996 by the current Government. That Bill was subject to a large number of amendments in the Senate, about one-third of which were not accepted by the Government. A third Bill was introduced in 1998, but lapsed when the Parliament was prorogued for the October 1998 election.

After substantial revisions, the Legislative Instruments Bill 2003 was introduced into the Parliament on 26 June 2003 and passed on 2 December 2003.

The Legislative Instruments Act 2003 commenced on 1 January 2005.