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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3214 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Is your legislation consistent with that recommended by the Ipp report, as you implied when presenting your legislation, or did the Ipp report have little bearing on it, as Mr Quinlan's letter implies? If it is inconsistent with the approach recommended by Justice Ipp's committee, what are the major points of difference?

MR SPEAKER: In your response, Chief Minister, you might bear in mind that the standing orders prevent any discussion on a matter already before this place.

MR STANHOPE: I understand that. However, I can give some outline of the process we have agreed on in the ACT within the government. There is no inconsistency in the statements I made or the statement Mr Quinlan made. The Civil Law (Wrongs) Bill 2002, as I have indicated on a number of occasions, is a template piece of legislation that brings together in a single significant piece of legislation, essentially a building block, the range of laws in the ACT which deal with wrongs, otherwise known as torts. We have said consistently that we would bring together into a single consolidated platform the law in the ACT as it relates to torts, actionable wrongs, negligence and the processes that apply when one wishes to sue for a wrong. That is what the Civil Law (Wrongs) Bill does. It is a very significant piece of legislation. It is a trendsetting piece of legislation.

We have some natural advantages here in the ACT in that we are a small jurisdiction. We are confined in our public service to a small number of departments. It is easier for us to respond in a cogent and all-of-government way on some issues. That is what we are doing through the Civil Law (Wrongs) Bill.

I will not go into the detail of the bill. As the Speaker indicated, it is on the notice paper for tomorrow. But you need to understand that our position always was that we would use it as a building block and build on it in our responses, when finally determined, to the Ipp report and to the Neave report. The ACT government has not yet given any formal or final consideration to either the Ipp report or the Neave report. Both of those pieces of work are substantial.

Mr Smyth: You have made some comments on them publicly, though.

MR STANHOPE: We have made some comments on them, certainly, as one would. We can give an impression of our views. I did that yesterday in this place. I drew attention to some of the differences between the Neave approach and the Ipp approach. I drew attention to the fact that there is some difference of opinion between the Ipp committee and the Neave committee on how best to proceed in relation to some issues around medical indemnity insurance. I have not expressed a formal or final position on any aspect of either the Ipp report or the Neave report. These matters have not yet come to the government in a formal sense. We will prepare detailed responses to each of them. We will do it in a measured way. We will do it in a coherent way. We will legislate our response to those issues.

We will deal substantially and substantively with each of the issues raised by both Ipp and Neave. They contradict each other on the way forward. The recommendations of Ipp and Neave are not consistent. As I said yesterday, they each recommend a completely different approach to establishing a standard for the duty of care. On medical indemnity insurance, the two reports differ absolutely on determining whether or not negligence has occurred. Ipp recommends that a body of medical practitioners, medical specialists or

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