What is National Uniform Legislation and what are some examples?

National Uniform legislation is a type of legislation brought about by agreement between the Commonwealth and state and territory executive governments in intergovernmental agreements.

National Uniform legislation is important because it achieves consistency and harmonisation in common functional areas in which the Commonwealth constitutionally has very little power. It also avoids duplication of services or functions.

National Uniform legislation is composed of  three types of legislation:

  1. National Applied laws (or template legislation) - legislation enacted in one jurisdiction and applied (as in force from time to time) by other participating jurisdictions as a law of those other jurisdictions; and
  2. National Model Legislation - legislation that is drafted as model legislation and that is enacted in participating jurisdictions as a mirror act (with any local variations that are necessary to achieve the agreed uniform national policy when the legislation forms part of the local law);
  3. Legislation of the States referring legislative power to the Commonwealth.

Some of the most common examples of this type of legislation include:

  • Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 (Cth) - powers for Australian Crime covered by mirror model legislation enacted in the States and applied;
  • Business Names Registration Act 2011 (Cth) - powers for business names referred by the States to the Commonwealth;
  • Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) - powers in relations to competition policy reform were enacted at State level through national application laws;
  • National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) - uses both referral of power and application laws to give authority to the Commonwealth;
  •  Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) - powers relating to governance of corporations referred by the States to the Commonwealth;
  • Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) - mirror legislation enacted by all States and Territories to reflect Commonwealth law;
  • Personal Properties Securities Act 2009 (Cth) - powers for personal property securities referred by States to the Commonwealth;
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) - mirror legislation enacted throughout most States and Territories reflecting the Commonwealth model provisions.

 More information is available at Australasian Parliamentary Counsel's Committee and also the QLD Parliamentary Briefing Paper.

For a view on other Nation's implemenation of National Uniform Laws, see WA Parliament Briefing Paper.

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