Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3219 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
somebody who may consider themselves more appropriate or more representative of the views of the Ngunnawal people. I am sure I do not need to tell Mr Hargreaves that there are a range of family groupings within the ACT that have different views about the claims of other family groupings to represent the Ngunnawal people. It is a very sensitive matter and I think the Government must be careful not to attempt to play on or exploit those differences as it sets about establishing representative bodies. We have succeeded in the past in being able to tread through that minefield and will attempt to do so again in this case, even if it takes a little bit of time to do that properly.
MR WOOD: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, in recent court actions concerning scavenging at Mugga Lane tip the Government - or is it the Department of Urban Services? - has suffered a number of significant failures. Whatever the merits or otherwise of the department trying to impose a policy to keep scavengers out of the tip, I ask: First, is the Minister aware of the possibly exaggerated claims behind several questionable interim restraining orders against one person which will have the effect of denying him access to the tip until the matter of the restraining orders is heard in May? Secondly and particularly, bearing in mind the implications behind restraining orders and their ramifications, is this not a most unsatisfactory way of defending the department's position?
MR SMYTH: Many areas of this are still sub judice. There have been several decisions. On 8 July Mr Justice Higgins confirmed the Territory's right to impose conditions on access to the tip and activities therein. Since then other actions have been taken. I thank Mr Wood for raising this matter with me before so that I could try to garner as much knowledge as I could, but I do not believe I am in a position to say much more than that I am aware and that my understanding is that the review is to be held on 12 January. If that is acceptable to Mr Wood, he might prefer to leave it at that.
Mr Stanhope: I rise on a point of order. The Minister raises the sub judice rule, as I understand it, to not answer that question. I would be interested in a ruling on whether or not matters relating to restraining orders fall within the sub judice rule. Perhaps that is an unnecessarily broad expansion of the sub judice rule.
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I can assist the Assembly in that regard. I understand that in this case a restraining order has been issued on an interim basis and the substance of the matters behind the restraining orders is to be heard by the Magistrates Court in May next year. In the sense that the order has been issued on an interim basis, then I would say to the Assembly that it is a matter that is sub judice.
Mr Stanhope: Yes, I am prepared to concede on that basis.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you.