Page 3477 - Week 11 - Thursday, 19 September 2013

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

MADAM SPEAKER: On the point of order, I uphold Mr Corbell’s point of order. The issue in relation to police numbers does not relate to AD(JR) and I ask you to come to the point, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Thanks, Madam Speaker. I will get back to the point. We will support the amendments because they do clean this up, but I reiterate the point that this is not a good way to do business. This is not a good way to be making laws in this place. We do not support the bill, but I support the amendments that go some way to fixing it up.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.27): There are some issues I would like to refer to when it comes to the amendments, and I will just talk through them briefly before we finalise the discussion.

The first is the threshold for denying standing to a person whose interests are not affected. The bill proposes that only in circumstances where review of a decision will impact prejudicially on an individual should there be a limitation on a person’s ability to seek review of a decision. The amendment increases this limitation by requiring that in all circumstances where the applicant interests are not affected, the matter must raise a significant issue of public importance.

On the one hand, a concern could be raised that this will potentially shift the argument to what is and is not a matter of public importance rather than allowing the parties to simply litigate the issues. On the other, it is reasonable to say that if the matter does not raise an issue of public importance there is no point to the review.

The difficulty, of course, will be articulating the level of importance required to satisfy the test. Guidance can be found in other instances where similar tests are used. For example, the Judiciary Act requires that matters must involve a question of law that is of public importance in order to be given special leave to appeal to the High Court. How the test will be applied is, of course, a matter for the courts to determine to best give effect to the object and purpose of the AD(JR) Act. I would argue that it includes matters that are of consequence to a group or groups within the community, involve the expenditure of a significant amount of public money, concern the integrity of public officials or provide an important legal precedent likely to be relevant to other decisions.

This amendment is a step away from the recommendation of the ALRC which canvasses restricting review rights only where it would involve an unreasonable interference with the rights of someone else. Nevertheless, the compromise position appears workable; and so, whilst I do not believe it is necessary, it certainly is not unreasonable.

The second issue is the exclusion of the Heritage Act decisions and some decisions under the Planning and Development Act. This amendment is directly contradictory to the premise of the bill and to all the available evidence. What is it about the Heritage

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video