BC argued they were not liable for redundancy payments because dismissal of their employees was within ‘the ordinary and customary turnover of labour’9. Rejecting this, the court held (at ) that the legislative motivation in re-enacting the words in question was that they play the ‘same role as they did under the pre-existing law’.
Both legislative history and decided cases provided a ‘historical context in which to read the words’10. This case shows how caselaw experience, as part of the wider context, may be a valuable guide to meaning. iTip – legislation is not approached like a goldfish seeing everything as new each and every time.
This principle is from Episode 65 of interpretation NOW!
9 s 119(1)(a) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
10 cf Gageler (2011) 37(2) Monash ULR 1 (at 1), Mason 90 ALJ 324 (at 328).