Episode 69

Gordon Brysland

Looking back over the span of iNOW! operations, one theme dominates – stability of our interpretation system.  Courts regularly proclaim that the basics are now well-established – a ‘settled approach of some clarity’1.  No longer is it right to talk about interpretation as a ‘fashion industry’, if indeed it ever really was.  The idea we are merely awaiting some High Court or legislative U-turn back to the badlands of literalism is a nostalgia2.  Reasons for this include the obligation to follow a purposive path3, the sticky coherence of our modern approach, the emphasis on context, and the pressure of precedent.  Stability, of course, does not mean application of the principles has become mechanistic or simple, or that they may not yield different outcomes4.  Stability, however, provides some assurance that an understanding of principle applied in the correct way will reduce rookie errors.

Gordon Brysland – Tax Counsel Network

See here for the official PDF of Episode 69 of interpretation NOW!

In this episode:

Credits – Gordon, Oliver, Amy, Veronica, Marcus P, Jacinta & Brett.


1 Bay Street [2020] FCAFC 192 (at [5]), Bob Brown [2021] FCAFC 5 (at [33]).

2 Australian [2007] HCA 57 (at [40]) ‘perceived simplicities of literalism’.

3 s 15AA, Lawson [2021] NSWCA 6 (at [25]), cf Uber [2021] UKSC 5 (at [70]).

4 Koka [2019] AATA 5289 (at [38]), Sharpcan [2018] FCAFC 163 illustrate.