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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4290 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (3.48 am): Mr Stanhope, he is not upbraiding. He is operating as a talking clock. That is all he is doing. If you want to go into bat for lawyers getting more money, then be my guest. Mr Speaker, this figure was chosen simply on the basis of the scale that different States charge. I suggest we resolve this matter by me saying to you that if the Assembly passes this figure tonight I will write to the Law Society and ask for representations from them about what ought to be a reasonable figure. If they persuade me that we should increase it to $750, as Mr Stanhope appears to want, or something more than that, then I - - -

Mr Stanhope: I simply asked the question.

MR HUMPHRIES: You suggested that poor people will not get access to these services if their lawyers are not prepared to do the work for $650. In most States in Australia apparently they will do it for $650 or less. Why they would not be able to do it in the ACT for that amount I do not know. Mr Speaker, I am quite prepared to live with that figure, but, if people want me to, I am happy to write to the Law Society and ask them to make representations about what a reasonable figure should be. If they convince me that it should be higher than $650, I am happy to increase it on the basis that this is a regulation.

Mr Stanhope: They might suggest $500, Attorney.

MR HUMPHRIES: Well, what do you want to do, Mr Stanhope?


Mr Stanhope: They might suggest $500.

MR HUMPHRIES: It is 10 to 4 in the morning. What do you want to do about it? Do you want to vote it down? The committee recommended that we have a figure in there.

Mr Stanhope: Yes, I would be happy to vote it down.

MR HUMPHRIES: Okay. Well, do so. I do not care. That is fine.

Question put:

That the amendment (Mr Humphries' ) be agreed to.

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