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Q&A

What is "Charter change bill" in English?

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I have read this headline in a news website which think is being primarily written in Australian English:

Government's charter change bill sails through 3rd reading

How should this be understood as a whole?
Charter and bill, are quite ambiguous aren't they? "sails through" didn't make it clearer for me.

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1 comment thread

Giving the context helps. A search immediately turned up several versions of the article in question.... (1 comment)

1 answer

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It's not 'Australian', just English.

Breaking it down:

'bill': A bill in a governmental context is a piece of proposed legislation. To become law (actual legislation), the elected members of a jurisdiction (paliament: government + (usually) opposition) will go through a process of reading the proposal, suggesting amendments, additions, deletions etc and sending it back to the legislation writers to make those amendments. This can happen a number of times.

'charter change': A charter is a constitution type document. Constitutions usually differ from normal legislation as they require a greater effort to alter. Changing the constitution of a jurisdiction is a significant and possibly controversial exercise and would be seen by most as relevant and newsworthy.

'third reading': As mentioned under 'bill', the parliament reads and amends the bill a number of times before making it law. The newspaper article is referring to the third time this bill went through the read/amendment process.

'sails through': 'Sails through' means 'easily successful. In context there were either no, or very few (and uncontroversial) amendments suggested during the reading process.

To understand as a whole:

"The government's proposal to change the constitution completed its third reading and amending process (recently). There was little to no opposition to the content of the (already twice-amended) proposed legislation during this reading."

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not necessarily “already twice-amended” (1 comment)

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