One week to consider 50,000 pages of laws

The Abbott Government yesterday tabled regulations and introduced bills to the House of Representatives to “repeal  more than 10,000 pieces and more than 50,000 pages of legislation and regulations”. Political commentator Lenore Taylor has questioned the government’s approach: “regulations dubbed ‘red tape’ can be useless or outdated rules worthy of extermination, or really important rules that people want and demand… By all means do a legislative stocktake and toss out the unnecessary ones. But please make sure they really are unnecessary.” While many of the changes will fix grammatical errors and update drafting style (replacing “facsmile transmission” with “fax”) or repeal obsolete laws (like rules for the Snowy Mountains Scheme that finished in 1974), other changes are more significant. Victims of financial collapses have urged the government to keep rules designed to protect them; fifty-four charities wrote an open letter asking for the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission to be retained. MPs will have just one week to review the 50,000 pages of proposed changes before a vote.