Episode 24

iNOW! has aimed at building capacity on interpretation for 2 years – let’s all get better at this!  Two disrupting ideas still lurk in the shadows, however.  The first is that ‘anything goes’, with every position being equally tenable.  This is misconceived.  Determining what parliament meant and selecting between constructional choices both involve key interpretation skills1.  Second is the notion that interpretation is a ‘fashion industry’ – that is, in constant flux driven by judicial whim.  Yes, the principles are flexible, judges may express them in different ways, and there are sometimes small breaks with the past.  But, nearly 4 decades ago, the courts then parliament entrenched the purposive approach.  It remains coherent, robust and ‘established’2.

Gordon Brysland – Tax Counsel Network

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In this episode:


Writer – Gordon Brysland, Producer – Michelle Janczarski.

Episode 2, Momcilovic [2011] HCA 34 (at [50]).

Talacko v Bennett [2017] HCA 15 (at [82]).