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25.5.2 Unreasonable


'Unreasonable' and 'reasonable' are defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary:

unreasonable 1. going beyond the limits of what is reasonable or equitable. 2. Not guided by or listening to reason.

reasonable 1. having sound judgement; moderate; ready to listen to reason 2. In accordance with reason; not absurd. .

Whether a member was unreasonable in his or her submission to the abnormal risk of injury must be decided on the facts of the particular case. Issues which would need to be considered in that context would be the member's capabilities and knowledge about the activity, precautions taken, etc.

If a member's ADF duties include exposure to activities which bear an inherent risk
(e.g. diving or parachuting), submission to that risk would always be considered 'reasonable' unless the member was in breach of discipline in undertaking the activity. Some Defence Force members may necessarily be required to undertake activities which have a high degree of inherent risk. While such activities may involve an abnormal risk, it is important to note that the exclusion also requires a 'voluntary and unreasonable' submission to the abnormal risk. As discussed below, actions in the course of ADF duty would not be 'unreasonable' in such circumstances, and thus the exclusion would not apply.

In relation to sporting activities, the nature of the member's ordinary duties, any pre-existing injuries, the use of suitable safety equipment (e.g. gym mats) and the availability of appropriate supervision and training could be relevant factors.

Note also in this regard, the comments made at part 19.5 of this Handbook in relation to ADF sponsored 'adventurous training' and other approved off-duty activities.