Page 3901 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 9 November 1994

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   Wednesday, 9 November 1994


MADAM SPEAKER (Ms McRae) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MR HUMPHRIES (10.31): Madam Speaker, I present the Limitation (Amendment) Bill 1994.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES: Madam Speaker, I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The Bill is designed to remedy a presumably unintended consequence of the passage of the Limitation (Amendment) Bill of 1993. Members will recall that there were two Bills introduced into the Assembly on 23 November last year - the Taxation (Administration) (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) and the Limitation (Amendment) Bill. Both were introduced on a very urgent basis, and they were passed by the Assembly two days later, on 25 November. The reason for that urgency was the imminent decision of the High Court of Australia in the Capital Duplicators case. Members will recall that at the time there was a perceived threat to the capacity of the Territory, and, indeed, all jurisdictions at the second tier of government, to collect business franchise and other franchise fees in the Territory and elsewhere.

The Bill was introduced to do a number of things that would flow from a possible adverse decision by the High Court, including the reduction of limitation periods and reducing the exposure of governments to claims for the return of revenue, and things of that kind. One measure which was included in that package was a provision that required the application of limitation periods of other jurisdictions to procedures before ACT courts in certain circumstances. Members should be aware that it is possible to sue in the ACT Supreme Court or even the Magistrates Court for events that have occurred outside the ACT. In those circumstances the substantive law that applies in those other places is applied by the court in the ACT; but, in general, up until recently, the procedural law of the ACT has applied in those cases.

One of the effects of the Bill brought forward by, I think, the Attorney-General at that time was to reverse that rule and say that, where a person is suing on a cause of action that arose in, say, South Australia, it is the limitation periods that apply in the South Australian courts that in turn apply in the ACT. It is not entirely clear to me why that was the case in a Bill dealing with revenue from government; but, as I have indicated, this matter was dealt with in great haste and there was not the time to ask those questions.

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