The Acts Interpretation Act: it’s got what you need!

July 23, 2012 - 12:08pm

One of most useful tools in the decision maker’s toolbox is the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (AIA) (PDF, 674KB).  Below you’ll find just a taste of what the AIA has to offer.

What words mean

When reading different Acts you’ll see the same words used over and over again without being defined in the Act.  So where do you go to find out what they mean?

You head to section 36 of the AIA, all twenty pages of it.

Section 36 is a lexicon of words and expressions which are commonly used in Queensland legislation.  This is the place to go to find out what local government means and what the difference is between property and land.  It tells us what a document is (which lets us know just how much the Right to Information Act actually covers) and it’s where we find out the difference between an Act and a law. 

Section 36 is a must for all decision makers and anyone else who needs to understand, interpret and/or apply legislation.

Snap out of your daze

Working out how long an Act actually gives you do something–is it calendar days, business days, what about public holidays?–can be a confusing headache…unless you have the AIA by your side.  Part 9 tells you everything you need to know about calculating time which is important to ensure timeframes are met by agencies and people applying for access or an amendment, or making a privacy complaint.

So remember to ensure you keep the current reprint of the AIA (PDF, 674KB) bookmarked for easy reference when using other legislation such as the RTI Act and the IP Act.