What is a commencement provision and how does it affect legislation?

An Act or Regulation does not carry legal force until it has commenced.

A commencement provision is usually the second or third section of an Act or Regulation and gives a date of commencement. Generally, the naming and commencement provisions commence upon assent or notification.

Acts frequently commence on assent or proclamation (this will usually be specified in the Act itself). A proclamation is the publication of the commencement date of an Act in the Government Gazette. The date is published with the consent of the Governor-General (CTH) or the Governor (in the States).

Regulations commence on a specified date (usually specified in the Regulation itself), or else on the date of gazettal (notification in the gazette).

Commencements can also be conditional eg. A consequential amendments Act may commence upon the commencement of the primary principal Act in that area.

They may also commence after a set period of time has lapsed. Each State, Terroritory or Federal Parliament have different rules for the amount of time which needs to pass before an automatic commencement of this nature. This is usually reflected in the commencement table provisions.

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