Language – Precursor
The Macquarie Online Dictionary defines “precursor” – outside biochemistry – as “someone or something that precedes: a predecessor” and “someone or something that indicates an approach of another or something else”.
The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines the term as “something that happened or existed before another thing, especially if it either developed into or had an influence on it”.
The latter meaning in the Macquarie Dictionary, and that in the Cambridge Dictionary, is the most common usage of the term in ordinary language, and more importantly in the law.
The usage in the case law is as follows:
In Plaintiff M 150 of 2013 v Minister of Immigration and Border Protection (2014) 255 CLR 199,  HCA 25, the court wrote:
 Mechanisms for regulating the number of visas of specific classes being processed and granted are to be found in three sections of the Migration Act, which, in chronological order of their first appearances in the legislation, are ss 84, 39 and 85. Section 84 entered the Migration Act before s 39 and its precursors, and before s 85 and its precursor. It empowers the Minister, by notice in the Gazette, to “determine that dealing with applications for visas of a specified class is to stop until a day specified in the notice”. Its first precursors were ss 11J and 11W, introduced into the Migration Act by the Migration Legislation Amendment Act 1989 (Cth). They were renumbered as ss 28 and 40 by the same Act and further renumbered as s 84 by the Migration Legislation Amendment Act 1994. When the precursors to ss 85 and 86 were enacted the Minister, in the Second Reading Speech, observed that the suspension power had not been exercised and said that while it was “a powerful administrative tool in ensuring that program levels are not exceeded”, it was also “a very blunt one.”
 There was a mechanism in place for the capping of visa numbers before the enactment of ss 85 and 86. That was s 39. Its legislative precursors predated ss 85 and 86 and their precursors. Section 39 authorises the imposition by regulation of a criterion limiting, to a maximum fixed by the Minister, the number of visas of a class that may be granted in a particular financial year. It provides:
(1) In spite of section 14 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003, a prescribed criterion for visas of a class, other than protection visas, may be the criterion that the grant of the visa would not cause the number of visas of that class granted in a particular financial year to exceed whatever number is fixed by the Minister, by legislative instrument, as the maximum number of such visas that may be granted in that year (however the criterion is expressed).
(2) For the purposes of this Act, when a criterion allowed by subsection (1) prevents the grant in a financial year of any more visas of a particular class, any outstanding applications for the grant in that year of visas of that class are taken not to have been made. (emphasis added)
In R v Campbell; R v Smith  NSWCCA 1, the court wrote:
 In relation to the drug matters, it was submitted that there was distinct criminality between the manufacturing offence, the supply offence and the two precursor offences and so there was a need for significant accumulation, albeit perhaps less between the sentences for the two precursor offences.