Alpha and omega

NW Melbourne Recycling v CSR [2017] VSC 647

In this land tax refund case, it was said (at 41]) that the provisions in question were the ‘alpha and omega of the judicial task of statutory construction’8.  The phrase ‘alpha and omega’ has biblical overtones9, but in this context means no more than ‘the beginning and the end’. 

Consistent with this general theme, the High Court has repeatedly stated that interpretation must start and finish with the text of the law10 – see Episodes 2, 5, 21, 23, and 25.  As was pointed out in SZTAL recently11, the statutory text ‘from beginning to end’ is construed in context, insofar as that context may assist in fixing the meaning of that text.

This case is from Episode 30 of interpretationNOW!


8 Kyren Nominees [2013] SASC 58 (at [11]), quoted.

9 Book of Revelation 1:8.

10 Consolidated Media Holdings [2012] HCA 55 (at [39]), for example.

11 SZTAL [2017] HCA 34 (at [37]).