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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3011 ..

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.

Amendment negatived.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (12.02): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3088].

Mr Speaker, amendment 2 amends clause 14 of the bill by inserting a fourth subsection to section 31ZYA. The new provision imposes a requirement on an expert medical witness when giving evidence on the issue of whether particular medical treatment amounts to professional negligence. Under section 31ZYA (4) the expert witness must have regard to whether the treatment was in accordance with an opinion widely held by a significant number of respected Australian practitioners in that field. The amendment requires the court appointed expert to take note of peer practice.

I might say, and add, Mr Speaker, for the information of members, that this particular amendment was negotiated by the government with the AMA and is essentially akin to the modified Boland test which the medical profession were seeking as an alternative to the position that the government proposes. The government accepted this as a reasonable accommodation of the opposing views of the government and of the medical profession on essentially the definitions that should apply in relation to this particular area. I commend this particular amendment to the Assembly.

MR STEFANIAK (12.04): For the reasons given in my last comments on the last amendment, the opposition will be supporting this amendment. We think it's a very sensible one.

MS DUNDAS (12.04): It looks like this amendment is an attempt to patch up the problems of the main provisions of the bill before us, and we think that this attempt is actually unsuccessful. Although it may be helpful and obviously necessary for an expert witness to be required to have regard to generally held views in the relevant medical field, we are still left with the problem of only one medical opinion being given. I think this amendment deserves some support, but it doesn't make me satisfied that the amendment bill before us will actually make the situation better. So even if this amendment is successful, I will not be able to support the clause.

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