Our last procedural blog post detailed the assent process, noting that a bill that has passed both Houses becomes an Act when the Governor gives assent. One might think that a new law comes into effect as soon as it is assented to, but this is not necessarily the case. Some Acts commence on the date of assent, while others may commence on a specified date or “on a day to be appointed by proclamation”.
So what does “proclamation” mean, and how does it occur? Proclamation itself is simply an announcement by the Governor that an Act has commenced. The proposed date for proclamation is set by the Minister who is responsible for administering the Act, and the details are published in the Government Gazette, available on the NSW Legislation website.
Commencement of Acts by proclamation allows time for the Government to address any administrative or resourcing issues before the implementation of an Act. However, while there may be good reasons for the Government to delay commencement, such delays may lead to uncertainty for stakeholders and others potentially affected by the legislation.
So if you are wondering: what happens when Acts set to commence by proclamation are not proclaimed, you’ll have to tune in for next week’s blog post to find out!