Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3006 ..

The Assembly voted-

Ayes 3         		Noes 10

Mrs Cross    	Mr Berry    	Mr Quinlan
Ms Dundas    	Mr Corbell    	Mr Smyth
Ms Tucker    	Mr Cornwell    	Mr Stanhope
       		Ms Gallagher    Mr Stefaniak
       		Mr Pratt    	Mr Wood

Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendments negatived.

Clause 13 agreed to.

Clause 14.

MS TUCKER (11.43): I move amendment No 6 circulated in my name [see schedule 3 at page 3092]. This amendment reinstates the rights of plaintiffs and defendants to bring an expert of their choice to court. The idea of limiting expert witnesses to one appointed by the court would certainly speed up the legal process. The trouble is that the selected expert, in many cases, would de facto become the judge. That is not why we have courts and judges. We might as well have a compensation tribunal with some full-time experts making the decisions. It would be quick but it might not be fair.

The trouble is that there are legitimately different views on illnesses and injuries. RSI springs to mind. Clearly, your case could stand or fall on who the expert was on the day. Furthermore, the bill, as it is written, would stop you calling treating specialists who would have a better idea of the history of the injury or illness.

MS DUNDAS (11.44): I will be supporting this amendment and was quite horrified at the original part of the amendment bill put forward by the government in relation to this. The limitation to one medical expert for each medical condition could do a great injustice to a plaintiff or a defendant, as one expert can take a very different view to another expert, and that view may be strongly favourable or not to another party. It is true that the appointed expert also may not be the person with the most information about the plaintiff's injury.

We cannot limit a court process to just one person, who may not have all the information, making these decisions, especially in terms of medical cases where there are quite varying opinions on people's injury, illness or ongoing physical wellbeing.

Some people will put the argument that we need to do this because there will be savings by reducing the number of expert witnesses. As I have said before, justice is often expensive, but expense is not a reason to dispense with justice.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .