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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1483..


Dr Foskey (continuing):

or the commonwealth's Mutual Recognition Act 1992 and its state counterparts. The New South Wales Greens received advice that neither section 92 of the constitution nor the Mutual Recognition Act would automatically invalidate the scheme. I look forward to discussion and debate on this bill and I hope that the bill, and later the act, will play a leading role in implementing a container deposit scheme. I commend my bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hargreaves) adjourned to the next sitting.

Protection of Public Participation Bill 2008

Explanatory statement

Dr Foskey (Molonglo): I seek leave to table an explanatory statement to the Protection of Public Participation Bill 2008 and make a brief statement.

Leave granted.

DR FOSKEY: I present the following paper:

Protection of Public Participation Bill 2008—Explanatory statement.

In discussion with the minister's advisers an amendment was suggested that I agree would improve the bill that I tabled in the last sitting of the Assembly. Given the concerns expressed by the minister and his department on some of the provisions of my bill, I see that it would make sense to change the wording to make it clear that a proceeding is brought for an improper purpose if a primary or dominant purpose is to stymie public participation.

By amending the bill to make it clear that the primary or dominant purpose of a legal action is what is being evaluated much unnecessary technical legal argument could be avoided. I invite the government to make such an amendment if they are minded to support the intent of this bill, and I believe the government is so minded. In retrospect I recognise that the Attorney-General may have had a valid point when he originally raised the issue of sub judice in respect of my presentation speech. But I was a little bemused by the subsequent developments, which meant that my attempts to quote in this Assembly from a published newspaper article were considered to constitute a breach of the sub judice rule.

While I appreciate that you err on the side of caution in these matters, I know that the opposition agrees with me in thinking that this is an issue that requires some formal clarification at a future date. Perhaps the appropriate committee could hold hearings and commission an opinion from parliamentary counsel on the proper scope of the sub judice rule. It was ironic because one of the perverse intentions of a SLAPP action is to stymie debate on what should be a matter for public debate.

Gas-fired power station

Dr Foskey (Molonglo) (11.39): I move:


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