Extent of policy

APRA v TMeffect Pty Ltd [2018] FCA 508

We know that legislation rarely pursues some singular policy at all costs8.  It follows that the duty generally to align meaning with legislative purpose9 may be of little help when provisions strike a subtle balance between competing policy objectives. 

Perry J (at [30]) says that the question is often not about identifying some general object.  It is about how far particular provisions go in pursuit of that object.  When bedrock tax law pursues a range of economic and social objectives, the answer can never simply be to tie your answer to the notion that tax laws are there to raise revenue10iTip – not only is this wrong in principle; it can also mask bias.

This case is from Episode 38 of interpretationNOW!


8 Nicholls [2005] HCA 1 (at [8]), Palgo [2005] HCA 28 (at [28]).

9 s 15AA of Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

10 Carr [2007] HCA 47 (at [6]), Alcan [2009] HCA 41 (at [11]), cf Episode 6.