‘If a Minister purports to… perform a function… that is conferred or imposed on another Minister by an Act, the… performance of that function… is not invalid merely because the… function… is conferred or imposed on the other Minister.’
The Civil Law and Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (Cth) (the new Act) received Royal Assent and commenced on 25 October 2015. The new Act makes several changes to various pieces of legislation, one of which relates to powers conferred on Ministers under the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) (the AIA). Subsection 19D of the AIA previously read as follows:
19D Machinery of government changes—saving the validity of acts done by authorities
Saving the validity of acts done by authorities
(1) The purported exercise or performance of a power, function or duty by or on behalf of an authority (see subsection (5)) is not invalid merely because, following a machinery of government change, the power, function or duty:
(a) is conferred or imposed on another authority; or
(b) is conferred or imposed on the same authority under another name or title; or
(c) is no longer conferred or imposed on any authority.
(5) In this section:
authority means any of the following persons or bodies:
(a) a Minister;
(b) a Department of State of the Commonwealth;
(c) any other Agency within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999;
(d) an office (including an APS employee’s office and any other appointment or position), or the holder of an office.
The only change made to the above provisions is that the word ‘The’ under s 19D(1) was replaced with ‘Subject to section 19E, the’. Section 19E was was added as follows:
If a Minister purports to exercise a power or perform a function or duty that is conferred or imposed on another Minister by an Act, the exercise of that power or the performance of that function or duty is not invalid merely because the power, function or duty is conferred or imposed on the other Minister.
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