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Chronological history of legislative drafting and publishing in Queensland

     
15 October 2018   Tony Keyes was appointed Queensland Parliamentary Counsel.
     
25 September 2017   The new, and current, Queensland Legislation website went live. This website streamlines the publication of Queensland legislation, publishes legislation in different formats (HTML, PDF and XML) and provides users with extra features, including hyperlinking between legislative documents and legislative history notes that can be switched on and off.
     
8 February 2016   A legislation drafting and publishing system (QuILLS—the Queensland Integrated Legislation Lifecycle System) was implemented as a tool to manage the office's legislation work from the opening of new drafting projects through to the publication of new and updated legislation on the Queensland Legislation website.
     
2 January 2016   Annette O'Callaghan was appointed Queensland Parliamentary Counsel. Annette held this role until July 2018 before taking up the position of the Parliamentary Counsel of New South Wales.
     
2013   Electronic legislation published on the Queensland legislation website was authorised by the Parliamentary Counsel for the first time.
     
25 February 2010   Theresa Johnson was appointed Queensland Parliamentary Counsel. Theresa held this role until 2015 before taking up the position of Law Draftsman for Hong Kong.
     
May 1998  

The first Queensland legislation website was launched, providing free electronic access to Queensland legislation, including Acts passed and subordinate legislation made from July 1991. 

Also in 1998, Queensland's electronic reprints of legislation were made available through the Australian Government's SCALEplus website and the Australian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website.

     
6 November 1997   Peter Drew PSM was appointed Queensland Parliamentary Counsel. Peter was awarded the Public Service Medal on 26 January 2011 for outstanding public service as the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel.
     
1 June 1992  

The Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel was established as a statutory office with commencement of the Legislative Standards Act 1992. This substantively and symbolically reinforced the office's independence.

John Leahy SC PSM, who was the Parliamentary Counsel when the office was established, became the first person appointed to the new statutory position of Queensland Parliamentary Counsel. John held this role until 31 July 1996. He was awarded the Public Service Medal in January 2004 for outstanding public service, including in the area of legislative drafting services.

The fundamental legislative principles (FLPs) came into effect. 

     
May 1991   The Electoral and Administrative Review Commission's (EARC's) Report on Review of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel was published. EARC recommended the establishment of the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel as an independent  statutory office and included a draft of what is now the Legislative Standards Act 1992.
     
1991  

The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel officially adopted a policy of plain English drafting and the office embarked on a program of reviewing and modernising the Queensland statute book.

The computerisation of the office significantly reduced production time for Queensland legislation.

     
25 September 1990   John Leahy SC PSM was appointed Parliamentary Counsel of the Parliamentary Counsel's Office attached to the Department of the Premier, Economic and Trade Development.
     
July 1989   The Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (the Fitzgerald Inquiry) was published. The report recommended "a review of the role and functions of the Parliamentary Counsel", implying that appropriate independence is required for the office to undertake its role of advising on the appropriateness of legislative proposals.
     
2 March 1989   Kevin Martin was appointed Parliamentary Counsel of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel attached to the Premier's Department.
     
9 June 1975   Leo Murray was appointed Parliamentary Counsel.
     
1968   James O'Callaghan was appointed with the title of Parliamentary Counsel and Draftsman, Office of the Parliamentary Draftsman attached to the Chief Secretary's Department.
     
26 June 1947   John Seymour was appointed Acting Parliamentary Counsel and Draftsman in the Chief Secretary's Department. He was subsequently appointed Parliamentary Counsel and Draftsman of the Chief Secretary's Department on 13 January 1949.
     
10 February 1927  

Joseph Broadbent was appointed as the Acting Parliamentary Draftsman in the Department of Justice. He was subsequently appointed as the first full-time Parliamentary Draftsman on 8 March 1928.

Read the biography of Joseph Edward Broadbent (1883–1948) in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. (Bannenberg 1979)

     
1911   The Queensland Statutes, a six-volume consolidation of Queensland's legislation, was published. The consolidation was compiled by then Parliamentary Draftsman, John Woolcock, with Marcus Hertzberg.
     
1899  

John Laskey Woolcock was appointed Parliamentary Draftsman in the Department of Justice. He also had the right of private practice.

Read the biography of John Laskey Woolcock (1861–1929) in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. (Johnston 1990)

The Queensland Statutes, a five-volume consolidation of Queensland's legislation complied by John Woolcock and Alfred Pain, was published.

     
1870–1899  

There is no record of a Parliamentary Draftsman being appointed during the period 1870 to 1899. During this period, legislation was drafted by various people, including members of Parliament, barristers and public servants. A memorandum of the Department of Justice dated 7 April 1899 showed the amounts paid to barristers for drafting Bills for the period 1895 to February 1899 inclusive (Lack 1962, p. 777).

Notably, Sir Samuel Griffith was an active drafter of legislation during this period (McKenna 2014). While Premier of Queensland (1883–1888 and 1890–1893), Sir Samuel drafted the Offenders Probation Act of 1886, which introduced the first offender probation scheme in Australia, and the Justices Act of 1886, which is still on the Queensland statute book and governs criminal practice in Queensland's Magistrates Courts.

Sir Samuel Griffith is undoubtedly better known for drafting the Queensland Criminal Code of 1899, a task he started in 1886 while holding the office of Chief Justice of Queensland. The Criminal Code Act 1899 remains on the Queensland statute book and continues to state the criminal law of Queensland.

Read the biography of Sir Samuel Walker Griffith (1845–1920) in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. (Joyce 1983)

     
1860  

Barrister Sir John Bramston was appointed as Queensland's first temporary Parliamentary Draftsman in the Colonial Secretary's Office. The appointment was part-time and Sir John was also the Clerk of the Executive Council.

Read the biography of Sir John Bramston (1832–1921) in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. (Joyce 1969)

 

   

 

References

Bannenberg, R. J. N., 'Broadbent, Joseph Edward (1883–1948)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/broadbent-joseph-edward-5363/text9071, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 27 January 2021.

Johnston, W. Ross, 'Woolcock, John Laskey (1861–1929)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/woolcock-john-laskey-9186/text16223, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 27 January 2021.

Joyce, R. B., 'Bramston, Sir John (1832–1921)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/bramston-sir-john-3044/text4475, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 27 January 2021.

Joyce, R. B., 'Griffith, Sir Samuel Walker (1845–1920)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/griffith-sir-samuel-walker-445/text11119, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 27 January 2021.

Lack, C. (compiler and editor), Three Decades of Queensland Political History 1929–1960, Brisbane, Government Printer, 1962.

McKenna, J. D., ‘The Griffith Opinion Books’, in J McKenna and H Jeffcoat (eds), Queensland Legal Yearbook 2013, Supreme Court Library Queensland, Brisbane, 2014, pp. 329–344, https://legalheritage.sclqld.org.au/publications/yearbook-2013, accessed online 27 January 2021.