Meaning of ‘Australia’

ACCC v P T Garuda Indonesia [2016] FCAFC 42

Geography is often important in the application of legislation, especially where ‘Australia’ is used.  This case was about whether an air cargo market existed ‘in Australia’.  There is a general definition of ‘Australia’ in s 2B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, but many federal statutes have their own definitions7.  The GST Act has forsaken ‘Australia’ as a jurisdictional indicator, and now uses the more generic ‘indirect tax zone’.  This modifies the ITAA97 ‘Australia’ definition by exclusion and inclusion. 

It is significant that ‘Australia’ has no singular or intuitive meaning that applies across the legislative spectrum.  iTip – don’t assume geography, and take special care in all offshore and maritime contexts8.

This case is from Episode 10 of interpretationNOW!


7  ITAA97 s 960-505, for example.

Pocomwell (No 2) [2013] FCA 1139 (at [25-30]), illustrates.