The High Court position is that legislative intention is an output of the interpretative process – that is, what parliament is objectively taken to have intended by the words used13. 2 judges in this case now add their names to others who doubt this14.
Johnson J said that to reduce intention to a label for the outcome of constructional choice is to miss the point15. This continues a mood against exclusion of ‘intention’ as a meaningful input into the process of interpretation. 3 things can be noted – (1) a purpose analysis would produce the same result, (2) the wider debate is largely of semantic interest, and (3) the comment by Johnson J does not change the law.
This principle is from Episode 61 of interpretation NOW!
14 Ekins & Goldsworthy (2014) 36 Sydney Law Review 39, for example.