Legislature – Statute

Why we have laws- The law is a legal set of rules that the government and courts have made for everyone to follow. Without laws, confusion and chaos would occur. In extreme cases of conflict, a state of anarchy would develop. The person with the most strength will start to dominate and the weak and helpless would suffer. However, when laws are enforced, a sense of order is created resulting in a society where everyone can live peacefully. Why laws change-? Societies’ perceptions have changed over time, as the composition of society and the moral and ethical values held by the community have evolved.

Thus the legal system has been required to implement law reform to uphold the ever-changing values of society. For example, increasing health research evidence and the substantial numbers of legal cases associated with exposure to second-hand smoking have motivated the Australian government to pass smoke-free outdoor environments legislation. In 2012, amendments were made to the Smoke-free environment act 2000 to prohibit smoking in a number of particular outdoor public settings.

The requirements of the amending legislation- The Tobacco Legislation Amendment Act 2012- came into force in January 2013. Legislating for smoke-free outdoor areas is an important advance in reducing society’s entanglement with tobacco. As we have come to understand more about cancer, tobacco and the effects of second-hand smoke, there’s been a gradual shift in how society has viewed smoking. We have gone from a cigarette love affair in the 20th century, to viewing it as a potentially deadly habit with no benefits.

Public settings to which the new law applies to are children’s playgrounds, swimming pools, entertainment venues, educational institutions, public transport stops and stations and entrances and exits from public buildings. While these changes are unpopular with some, the NSW government is committed to ensuring the exposure of the public – particularly children – to second-hand smoke is as limited as possible. Creating smoke-free outdoor areas creates a society that provides a supportive environment for those who have quit and make smoking less visible to children and young people.

The impact on society when laws are changed Law change brings about social change to society and it may change an individual’s beliefs and attitude and the culture of a country. From law changes, we develop a sense of what is right and wrong in today’s society. When a law is changed for the better it results in a community where everyone can live peacefully. How laws are created- There are two ways of making laws. Those laws that are written down beforehand are called statute law, or Acts of Parliament.

Alternatively, they can be developed piece by piece by judges as they come across new problems in the cases they hear. These laws are referred to as common (judge-made or case) law. How are laws changed- Most laws in Australia are made by the federal and state parliaments. There are very definite procedures for how laws are made or changed. Before any proposed laws can become Acts of Parliament, they have to be debated and passed by parliament, and then approved by the Executive Council. During the debate, the government explains why the law is needed and why it will be good for Australia.

The Opposition tries to argue why this is not the case. Living in a democratic society, Australians have the rights to pressure for change in the laws through a variety of methods. Citizens will pressure the government to amend an existing law or introduce a new one. If the government is convinced of the citizens’ argument, it will do this. Sometimes laws can be changed due to the actions of one person who gains popular support for his or her cause. Why do laws change and how do they impact on society.