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Third reading At this stage, the Bill in its final form is reviewed. The debate is confined to verbal amendments only; the principles of the Bill must not be questioned. After its third reading in the House of Representatives, the Bill is sent to the Senate, where it goes through a procedure similar to that in the House of Representatives. The Senate is the second tier in the legislative process which allows for reflection on the merits or faults of the Bill and for criticism from different points of view.

Despite the great care taken to ensure that all statutes are clear and exact, it is nearly always the case that, in due time, legal actions arise on points of doubt and the courts will be called upon to interpret the meaning and to adjudicate. The rules adopted by the judges to discover the meaning of an Act may be classified as (a) statutory definitions, and (b) common law rules. Statutory definitions The Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) is a general federal statute which brings together legislation regarding the construction of Acts of Parliament and provides definitions and rules of construction.

25 ESSENTIAL AUSTRALIAN LAW In 1953, the Council of Law Reporting introduced a weekly series, known as the Weekly Law Reports. The Council has no monopoly in the field of law reporting. Certain commercial companies produce reports – the All England Reports, begun in 1936, are an important example in this field. Additionally, The Times newspaper in England publishes summary reports of important cases the day after judgment, and weekly journals such as The Solicitors’ Journal (established in 1857) and Justice of the Peace (established in 1837) contain summary reports of cases.

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