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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3502 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

The outrageous proposal is that which says that we will take steps if we can to refuse applicants access to the courts if they are vexatious litigants, and will give the Attorney-General the right to make an application to the court to deny someone that process. I am not convinced by Mr Humphries' argument, which is only that the ACT and the Northern Territory are the only jurisdictions where this provision does not apply. I do not find that a convincing argument at all. He indicates that courts are slow to accede to any such applications in other jurisdictions. I would expect that they would be. If they are slow and they are cautious, why do we need these measures? I will say shortly why we need them, or why Mr Humphries thinks we need them.

It is ironic that this morning we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and this afternoon the Government is seeking to curtail the rights of people. It is seeking to reduce their rights; to take away the measure of protection that people may be afforded by the courts. I think it is a disgrace that the chief law officer, charged with protection of the law and all the rights that people have, should be bringing this in. As Mr Stanhope said, there is no justification given by the Minister for this Bill. There is no substantiation. What is the problem? Tell me what the problem is, Mr Humphries, in Canberra.

Mr Humphries: Vexatious litigants. They do occur.

MR WOOD: Well, you did not tell me that.

Mr Humphries: It is in the Bill.

Mr Kaine: Well, Mr Wood, it is not Tuesday or Wednesday.

MR WOOD: That is exactly right, Mr Kaine.

Debate interrupted.


MR SPEAKER: Order! It being 5.00 pm, I propose the question:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Mr Humphries: I require the question to be put forthwith without debate.

Question resolved in the negative.

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