Many common words like ‘business day’, ‘document’, ‘individual’, ‘land’, ‘person’ or ‘writing’ are defined in AIA s 2B.  This dictionary should always be your starting point, though it is just a drafting convenience and, like the rest of the AIA, it is displaced by contrary intention in the Act it is applied to (s 2(2))1.

AIA s 18A contains another definition rule.  If an Act defines a word or phrase, grammatical variations or derivatives normally take the same definition2.  For example, ‘supplies’ and ‘supplied’ in the GST Act are the same as the defined term ‘supply’.  However, the word must actually be a part of speech of the defined word.  ‘Employment’ has been held to be a separate noun, not a derivative of ‘employer’ or ‘employee’3.

This case is from Episode 17 of interpretationNOW!


Pfeiffer v Stevens [2001] HCA 71 (at [56-58]).

Graovac [1999] FCA 537 (at [10-11]); Pearce & Geddes (at [6.66]).

Australasian Meat [1988] FCA 429 (at [22]).