The Interpretation Act 1957 explains when laws commence and what happens when a law is repealed.

Commencement of laws

If a day is not set for the coming into operation of a law, that day will be the day when the law was first published in the Gazette as a law.

If any act provides that it will come into operation on a date fixed by the President or a Premier by proclamation in the Gazette, different dates may be fixed in respect of different provisions of that act.

Exercise of conferred powers between passing and commencement of a law

Where a law confers a power to do anything required to bring the law into operation (for example, making appointments, actions of regulators, prescribing forms or making regulations) that power may be exercised at any time after the passing of the law so far as may be necessary for the purpose of bringing the law into operation. However, those acts (for instance the making of regulations) only come into operation when the law comes into operation.

Notification in Gazette of official acts under authority of law

When an act is by law to be done by the President, a Premier, a Minister, or any public officer, the notification of that act may be by notice in the Gazette unless a specified method is prescribed.

Certain enactments must be published in the Gazette but there are also other ways stated for the promulgation and commencement of laws and publication of notices when publication in the Gazette is impractical. It has become common in recent legislation to permit publication on an official website.

Repeal and substitution of laws

When a law repeals any law and substitutes new provisions for that law, the repealed law remains in force until the substituted provisions come into operation.

Where a law repeals and re-enacts any provision of a law (with or without modifications), references in any other law to the repealed law are construed as references to the re-enacted provision.

Repealing a law will not:

  • revive laws not in force at the time;
  • affect the previous operation of the repealed law; or
  • affect any rights or obligations already accrued under the repealed law.