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ARCHIVES ACT 1983 - SECT 3

Interpretation

             (1)  In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:

"Archives " means the National Archives of Australia mentioned in subsection 5(1).

"authority of the Commonwealth " means:

                     (a)  an authority, body, tribunal or organization, whether incorporated or unincorporated, established for a public purpose:

                              (i)  by, or in accordance with the provisions of, an Act, regulations made under an Act or a law of a Territory other than the Northern Territory;

                             (ii)  by the Governor-General; or

                            (iii)  by, or with the approval of, a Minister;

                     (b)  the holder of a prescribed office under the Commonwealth; or

                     (c)  a Commonwealth-controlled company or a Commonwealth-controlled association;

but does not include:

                     (d)  a court;

                     (e)  the Australian Capital Territory;

                      (f)  a body established by or under an enactment within the meaning of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 ;

                     (g)  the Northern Territory; or

                     (h)  the Administration of an external Territory.

"Cabinet notebook " means a notebook or other like record that contains notes of discussions or deliberations taking place in a meeting of the Cabinet or of a committee of the Cabinet, being notes made in the course of those discussions or deliberations by, or under the authority of, the Secretary to the Cabinet.

"care " : a record is in the care of the Archives if:

                     (a)  the record is in the custody of the Archives; or

                     (b)  the record is in the custody of a person in accordance with arrangements referred to in section 64.

"Census day " has the meaning given by section 22B.

"Census information " means information transferred to the custody of the Archives under section 8A of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 .

"Chair " means the Chair of the Council.

"Commission of inquiry " means:

                     (a)  the Commission of inquiry within the meaning of the Quarantine Act 1908 (as in force immediately before its repeal); or

                     (b)  a Commission of inquiry within the meaning of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 .

"Commonwealth-controlled association " means an association over which the Commonwealth is in a position to exercise control, but does not include an association that is declared by the regulations not to be a Commonwealth-controlled association.

"Commonwealth-controlled company " means an incorporated company over which the Commonwealth is in a position to exercise control, but does not include a company that is declared by the regulations not to be a Commonwealth-controlled company.

"Commonwealth institution " means:

                     (a)  the official establishment of the Governor-General;

                     (b)  the Executive Council;

                     (c)  the Senate;

                     (d)  the House of Representatives;

                     (e)  a Department;

                      (f)  a Federal court or a court of a Territory other than the Northern Territory or Norfolk Island;

                     (g)  an authority of the Commonwealth; or

                     (h)  the Administration of an external Territory.

"Commonwealth record " means:

                     (a)  a record that is the property of the Commonwealth or of a Commonwealth institution; or

                     (b)  a record that is to be deemed to be a Commonwealth record by virtue of a regulation under subsection (6) or by virtue of section 22;

but does not include a record that is exempt material or is a register or guide maintained in accordance with Part VIII.

"Council " means the National Archives of Australia Advisory Council mentioned in subsection 10(1).

"current Commonwealth record " means a Commonwealth record that is required to be readily available for the purposes of a Commonwealth institution, other than purposes under this Act.

"Department " means:

                     (a)  a Department of the Australian Public Service that corresponds to a Department of State of the Commonwealth; or

                     (b)  a Parliamentary Department.

"Deputy Chair " means the Deputy Chair of the Council.

"Director-General " means the person for the time being occupying the office, or performing the duties of the office, of Director-General of the National Archives of Australia under the Public Service Act 1999 .

"engage in conduct " means:

                     (a)  do an act; or

                     (b)  omit to perform an act.

"exempt material " means:

                     (a)  material included in the memorial collection within the meaning of the Australian War Memorial Act 1980 , other than material to which a regulation under subsection (6) applies; or

                     (b)  material included in the collection of library material maintained by the National Library of Australia; or

                     (c)  material included in the collection of works of art maintained by the National Gallery of Australia; or

                    (ca)  material included in the national collection maintained by the National Portrait Gallery of Australia; or

                     (d)  material included in the historical material in the possession of the National Museum of Australia; or

                     (e)  material included in a collection maintained by an institution declared by the regulations to be a custodial institution for the purposes of this definition;

other than material (if any) that came to be so included by reason of a contravention of section 24.

"material " means records and other objects.

"material of the Archives " means records in the care of the Archives (other than current Commonwealth records relating to the administration of the Archives).

"National Witness Protection Program " means the Program by that name established by the Witness Protection Act 1994 .

"object " does not include a building or other structure or a vessel, aircraft or vehicle, other than a prescribed vessel, aircraft or vehicle.

"open access period " , in relation to a record, has the meaning given by the following provisions:

                     (a)  for a Cabinet notebook--section 22A;

                     (b)  for a record containing Census information--section 22B;

                     (c)  for any other record--subsection (7) of this section.

"Parliamentary Department " means a Department of the Parliament established under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 .

"person " includes a Commonwealth institution or an organization.

"record " means a document, or an object, in any form (including any electronic form) that is, or has been, kept by reason of:

                     (a)  any information or matter that it contains or that can be obtained from it; or

                     (b)  its connection with any event, person, circumstance or thing.

Note:          For the definition of document , see section 2B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .

"responsible Minister " , in relation to a Commonwealth record, means the Minister to whose ministerial responsibilities the record is most closely related.

"Royal Commission " means a Commissioner or Commissioners appointed by the Governor-General in the name of the Queen to make inquiry and report upon any matter.

"Tribunal " means the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

             (2)  For the purposes of this Act, the archival resources of the Commonwealth consist of such Commonwealth records and other material as are of national significance or public interest and relate to:

                     (a)  the history or government of Australia;

                     (b)  the legal basis, origin, development, organization or activities of the Commonwealth or of a Commonwealth institution;

                     (c)  a person who is, or has at any time been, associated with a Commonwealth institution;

                     (d)  the history or government of a Territory; or

                     (e)  an international or other organization the membership of which includes, or has included, the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth institution;

but do not include:

                      (f)  material that, in the opinion of the Minister, ought to be in the archives of another country or in the archives of an international organization;

                     (g)  material that relates only or principally to the history or government of a State or the Northern Territory or of a Colony that became part of the Commonwealth, not being:

                              (i)  Commonwealth records;

                             (ii)  property referred to in section 85 of the Constitution; or

                            (iii)  material transferred to the Commonwealth by a State or the Northern Territory under a law or agreement;

                     (h)  material, other than Commonwealth records, relating only to a place that has been, but has ceased to be, a Territory; or

                      (j)  exempt material.

             (3)  For the purposes of this Act, the Department of Defence shall be deemed to include:

                     (a)  the Defence Force; and

                     (b)  the Australian Defence Force Cadets.

          (3A)  In this Act, a reference to the provision of a discretionary service for a person is a reference to the doing of an act by the Archives, being an act that the Archives has power to do and that it does at the person's request, other than an act that:

                     (a)  this Act requires the Archives to do; or

                     (b)  it is necessary for the Archives to do for the proper performance of its functions.

             (4)  For the purposes of this Act, the Australian Federal Police shall be deemed to be an authority of the Commonwealth.

             (5)  For the purposes of this Act, a record held by or on behalf of the Parliament or a House of the Parliament shall be taken to be the property of the Commonwealth.

             (6)  The regulations may make provision under which, in specified cases or circumstances, records of which the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth institution has, or is entitled to have, possession are to be deemed to be Commonwealth records for the purposes of the provisions, or specified provisions, of this Act.

             (7)  For the purposes of this Act, subject to sections 22A and 22B, work out when a record is in the open access period in accordance with the following table:

 

Open access period for records

Item

If the record came into existence in any of the following years (ending on 31 December):

the record is in the open access period on and after the following day:

1

a year (the creation year ) before 1980

1 January in the year that is 31 years after the creation year.

Example:  A record that came into existence in the year 1979 is in the open access period on and after 1 January 2010.

2

1980 or 1981

1 January 2011.

3

1982 or 1983

1 January 2012.

4

1984 or 1985

1 January 2013.

5

1986 or 1987

1 January 2014.

6

1988 or 1989

1 January 2015.

7

1990 or 1991

1 January 2016.

8

1992 or 1993

1 January 2017.

9

1994 or 1995

1 January 2018.

10

1996 or 1997

1 January 2019.

11

1998 or 1999

1 January 2020.

12

2000

1 January 2021.

13

a year (the creation year ) after 2000

1 January in the year that is 21 years after the creation year.

Example:  A record that came into existence in the year 2001 is in the open access period on and after 1 January 2022.

Note:          Cabinet notebooks and records containing Census information have different open access periods (see sections 22A and 22B).

             (8)  Nothing in this Act shall be taken to confer power on the Archives to affect the custody of:

                     (a)  material, being Commonwealth records, that was held at the commencement of Part II by a State, the Northern Territory or Norfolk Island or by an authority of a State, of the Northern Territory or of Norfolk Island and has continued since that time to be so held by that State, that Territory or that authority; or

                     (b)  material, other than Commonwealth records, that is held at any time by a State or by a Territory or authority referred to in paragraph (a);

except with the consent of the State, Territory or authority by which the material is held.



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