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Monday, 13 February 2012
Page: 813

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (12:02): by leave—On Thursday, 24 November 2011 the Selection Committee referred to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs for inquiry and report the Access to Justice (Federal Jurisdiction) Amendment Bill 2011. The bill amends the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976, the Family Law Act 1975, the Federal Magistrates Act 1999, and the Judiciary Act 1903. It also makes consequential amendments to the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002.

The bill contains provisions to: enhance the Federal Court's powers concerning discovery; in all four federal courts, clarify the circumstances in which suppression and non-publications orders can be made, what information they can cover and what details they should contain; in all four federal courts, clarify the circumstances in which vexatious proceedings orders can be made and the kinds of orders that can be made; align the jurisdictional limit for matters heard by family law magistrates in Western Australia with that of the Federal Magistrates Court in other states and territories; and give the Administrative Appeals Tribunal more flexibility when dealing with the payment of fees.

The committee met on Thursday, 9 February to discuss the referral. The committee noted that the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee is currently conducting a public inquiry into this bill and is receiving submissions. The Senate committee is due to report on 22 March 2012. The committee notes that seven submissions have already been received by the Senate committee. The committee supports the public consultation process that is being undertaken by the Senate. The committee does not consider that it could add significantly to the work already being undertaken and notes that duplication is likely from a further inquiry. In light of this, the committee has agreed not to further inquire into this bill.