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Legal Studies Units 3 & 4 > Initiating Legislation > Flashcards

Flashcards in Initiating Legislation Deck (10):

Parliamentary counsel or draftsperson

A lawyer who has the responsibility for drafting legislation and who is given instructions from the cabinet about the purpose and the extent of the proposed legislation.


Drafting legislation procedure step 1

The parliamentary counsel analyses the instructions given by cabinet. They investigate the implications of the legislation including constitutional implications. They discuss the proposals with the relevant government department ascertain the intention and clarify issues. They decide how the policies can be implemented and put into a comprehensive and clear Bill.


2 problems of drafting legislation

Wording issues: The meaning of words changes over time and there could be inconsistencies in the way words or terms are used within the Bill.

Time issues: It is difficult to cover all situations that might arise, especially because the draftsperson is under time constraints to draft the Bill.


Role of government departments in initiating legislation

Government departments constantly review the laws in operation and the need for changes in the law. For example, the Department of the Environment is responsible for investigating changes in the law to protect the environment.


The role of the cabinet in initiating legislation

The cabinet decide on which laws need to be changed. Cabinet decides what Bills need to be introduced to parliament and is therefore very influential on Bills that are passed through parliament. This is particularly the case when the government holds a majority in both houses, as Bills that are proposed by cabinet will receive the support of the majority of members in both houses.


The Role of other ministers in initiating legislation

If a minister who wants to propose a change in the law is not a member of cabinet he or she will contact a member of cabinet to have the proposal brought to the notice of cabinet. The relevant minister will usually introduce the Bill (proposed law) to parliament (that is, the minister whose department was responsible for initiating the Bill).


Role of parliamentary committee in initiating legislation

Parliamentary committees investigate a variety of matters and report back to parliament. They consist of members of parliament and are established because parliament does not have the time to carry out its own enquiries into particular aspects of society and the possible needs for changes to the law. Committees may be asked to investigate the need for change in the law and make recommendations to parliament.



The office of parliamentary counsel (OPC) is responsible for drafting legislation. Its principal function is drafting Bills for introduction into either house of the parliament and drafting amendments of Bills. In Victoria, the office responsible for drafting Bills is called the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (OCPC).


What happens when the draft bill has been considered by the relevant department PROCEDURE STEP 3

When's the draft Bill has been considered by the relevant department and has been agreed to, it is then submitted to the relevant minister for approval. After approval, copies are sent to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Bill is then ready to be considered by the relevant legislation committee.



They prepare a draft Bill and check the draft Bill for compatibility with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. They send it to relevant departments for consideration. They ensure that the legislation is effective.

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