Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2562 ..
made on it. It could no longer function as a medical defence organisation because it did not have the resources to meet its commitments. UMP was, of course, a medical defence organisation, an insurance fund for doctors, established by doctors, run by doctors, for the benefit of doctors, and it collapsed. It was no longer able to function.
This is at the base, then, of the issue we are pursuing. We are pursuing a range of reforms designed to ensure that there is some decent regulation of the insurance industry in the first place. That is followed by a range of reforms to tort law, effectively to the way the law operates in relation to claims in negligence, to see whether there are reforms that will facilitate the capacity for a much damaged and bruised insurance industry to hold down the price of insurance and to ensure that public liability insurance is again affordable.
To that extent, through tort law reform, states and territories are bailing out the insurance industry. We are bailing them out. They failed to provide a product at a reasonable price and now the states and territories, through tort law reform, through reforms to the laws of negligence and a range of other reforms, particularly very important reforms to the way the legal process and the courts operate to ensure that we can truncate actions, speed up litigation times, reduce litigation and encourage people to settle, we will have a significant impact on the cost of litigation, the extent of litigation and, we hope, as a result of all that, the cost of premiums.
The ACT has to a large extent mirrored provisions from around the states and territories. There has been an awful lot of collaboration among the jurisdictions in relation to the packages that have been developed and all of the states are in that position now. Not all the packages from around the states have been implemented. As I understand it, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania are in the same position as the ACT. They have bills on the table yet to be passed. Another furphy that has been spread around is that it is only the ACT that has not nailed these issues down in legislation.
Mr Smyth: We are only responsible for the ACT.
Mrs Burke: We are not responsible for anyone else.
Mr Quinlan: You asked why they are different.
MR STANHOPE: The point is you asked why they are different and why we have not done it. Of course, we are in the same situation, the same circumstance, as many of the other states and territories. Indeed, the legislation-
Mr Smyth: No, they are far in advance of you.
MR STANHOPE: No, they are not. They are in exactly the same position as us, except for the most important-
Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I am particularly interested in the Chief Minister's response and I am having a dreadful time trying to hear it.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Members of the opposition will maintain order and cease interjecting. Members of the government will not bait them, Mr Quinlan. Order members! The Chief Minister has the floor.