Opinion Number. 1061

Subject

PUBLIC SERVICE ARBITRATION WHETHER AN INTERPRETATION OF A DETERMINATION IS A DETERMINATION: NATURE OF AN INTERPRETATION

Key Legislation

ARBITRATION (PUBLIC SERVICE) ACT 1920. ss. 11 (4), 12. 21, 22

Date
Client
The Secretary, Prime Minister's Department

The Acting Secretary to the Prime Minister's Department has requested advice as to whether the interpretation by the Public Service Arbitrator of a determination made by the Arbitrator is a determination within the meaning of section 21 of the Arbitration (Public Service) Act 1920.

By sub-section (4) of section 11 of the Arbitration (Public Service) Act 1920 all awards and orders made under the Arbitration (Public Service) Act 1911 are deemed to be determinations made by the Arbitrator under the Arbitration (Public Service) Act 1920.

In my opinion the word 'determination' in section 21 of the Act means the determination of a claim or application made in pursuance of section 12 of the Act.

The object of the provision in sections 21 and 22 that a determination should not come into force until after the expiration of thirty days after it had been laid before both Houses of the Parliament was no doubt for the purpose of giving Parliament an opportunity to decide whether the determination, if inconsistent with existing law, should or should not be allowed to come into operation. But an interpretation is not a variation of a determination, but is merely an explanation of it, and, therefore, the reason which exists for the postponement of the operation of a determination does not obtain in the case of an interpretation of a determination, the determination having already presumably been before Parliament.

In my opinion, therefore, the interpretation by the Arbitrator of a determination made by himself, or of an award which under the Act is deemed to be a determination, is not a determination within the meaning of section 21 of the Act.

[Vol. 17, p. 292]