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Monday, 23 June 2008
Page: 5554


Mr PYNE (1:43 PM) —The Judiciary Amendment Bill 2008 amends the Judiciary Act 1903 to permit the states and territories to provide for time limitations and notice requirements in respect of actions for the recovery of constitutionally invalid taxes in the federal jurisdiction. It is a bill that the opposition regards as uncontroversial, and as a consequence the bill will be supported. The bill is in response to the High Court decision in British American Tobacco v Western Australia (2003), which involved proceedings in the federal jurisdiction for the recovery of invalid taxes paid under Western Australian law. The court held that provisions in Western Australian law containing a special notice requirement and limitation period for actions against the Crown in right of Western Australia were not applied by section 79 of the Judiciary Act. The matter of bringing remedial legislation was agreed between the former government and the states through the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General and a bill in the same terms as this bill was drafted. However, it was never presented, due to disagreements between the former government and the states in respect to other issues.

This bill amends the act to allow the states and territories to apply time and notice limitations on actions to recover amounts paid under an invalid tax and to bar suits on the grounds that the person bringing the suit has charged someone else for the amount of the tax. Its objective is to protect the revenue of the states and, as I said before, it is an uncontroversial bill which the opposition supports.