The Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) (the Act) is an act governing the interpretation of Commonwealth legislation and all instruments created under Commonwealth Acts (s 1A), and aims to make legislation "less complex and more consistent" in its operation (s 1A).
Parts 3 and 4 of the Act provide rules for the commencement, amendment, repeal, and expiry of Commonwealth legislation.
Part 2 defines terms commonly used within Commonwealth legislation.
General Interpretation Rules are set out in Part 5 and include requiring legislation to be interpreted:
- consistent with the Constitution (s 15A);
- consistent with its object and purposes (s 15AA); and
- using extrinsic material such as second reading speeches (s 15AB). A second reading speech is delivered by the relevant Minister introducing the Bill to the house, explaining its object and purposes.