This section explains how laws are changed and new ones are made.
The state and federal parliaments have the power to amend existing laws and make new ones. Before a law is amended or a new one made, considerable consultation, research and planning takes places to ensure that the laws are needed and will work.
There are a number of bodies within the legal sector that undertake this work.
The Victorian Law Reform Commission is an independent, government-funded organisation that develops, monitors and coordinates law reform in Victoria. The commission has a charter to consult the community and to advise the Attorney-General on ways to improve and update Victorian laws. The commission’s major responsibility is to research issues referred to it by the Attorney-General (these are called references), but it also has the power to recommend small changes to the law without a reference through its Community Law Reform program.
The Victorian Law Reform Commission was established in 2001.
Established in 2013, the Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee of the Parliament of Victoria is an investigatory committee made up of members from both houses of parliament. It investigates and reports to the parliament on the administration of justice, law reform, the use of drugs, the crime rate, and the causes of crime and violent behaviour. On 21 April 2015, the Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee merged with the Road Safety Committee and became the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee.
The Sentencing Advisory Council was set up to bridge the gaps between the community, the courts and government by informing, educating and advising on sentencing issues.
The council’s functions include providing statistical information on sentencing, such as information on current sentencing practices; conducting research and disseminating information on sentencing matters; gauging public opinion on sentencing; consulting on sentencing matters; and advising the Attorney-General on sentencing issues.
The Australian Law Reform Commission is an independent federal agency that reviews Australia’s laws to ensure they provide improved access to justice for all Australians by making laws and related processes more equitable, modern, fair and efficient.
The commission cannot change the law, but rather makes recommendations to the government on how the law can be improved.
The Australian Law Reform Commission was established in 1975.