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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1199 ..

Wednesday, 2 April 2003

The Assembly met at 10.30 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Sub judice convention-ruling by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: I wish to make a statement concerning the application of the sub judice convention to a notice of motion lodged by Mrs Cross. The sub judice convention is, as described in the fourth edition of House of Representatives Practice:

... subject to the right of the house to legislate on any matter, matters awaiting adjudication in a court of law should not be brought forward in debate, motions or questions.

Mrs Dunne has written to me, asking me to rule whether the notice contravenes the sub judice convention. In her letter, Mrs Dunne makes the point that all of the persons who are subject to the motion to be discussed have had their primary applications to reside in Australia rejected and have taken their cases to the Refugee Review Tribunal. Mrs Dunne has further advised that, should they not be successful, they may take further action through the courts.

In deciding whether to invoke the convention, I intend to follow the same principles that are set out in the 10th edition of Odgers' Australian Senate Practice, namely: there should be an assessment of whether there is a real danger of prejudice, in the sense that it would cause real prejudice to the outcome of a case before a court. The danger of the prejudice must be weighed against the public interest in the matters under discussion. The danger of prejudice is greater when a matter is before a magistrate or jury. It should be noted that the Refugee Review Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body which does not rely on a jury.

Having considered the matter, I do not believe that there is a risk of the Assembly prejudicing the issue whilst it is being considered by the Refugee Review Tribunal. I therefore rule that the notice of motion be allowed to proceed.


The following petitions were lodged for presentation.

Adoption of children

by Mrs Burke , from 304 residents:

The petition of certain residents of the Australian Capital Territory draws to the attention of the Assembly that the undersigned wish to register our dismay and opposition to the ACT governments proposal, contained in the Issues Paper dated

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