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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3057 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

request simply on the basis that they request it. The maximum award in the ACT for non-economic loss is no more than this in any event, so we are not looking at an evidence-based approach to the decisions we are making.

When this debate was going on this morning, the speaker before me was Mr Stanhope, and he was defending the government's performance in this area. Even though I am unhappy with what is happening here today, I want to acknowledge that up to this point Mr Stanhope had been resisting the corporate thuggery of the insurance companies. I believe he sincerely and genuinely resisted that for very good reasons: he understands that to do anything else is to undermine the fundamental rights of people in our community who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

I see that he has now joined us and probably did not hear that. I was acknowledging, Mr Stanhope, that you have been struggling with the corporate thuggery of insurance companies. Even though I am disappointed with what is happening today, I think you are as offended by this as others of us in this place.

On the question of capping, every business limits its costs in terms of returns to shareholders, which, if you like, is the underlying goal of all business. That makes sense. Tort law, however, has not evolved simply to facilitate profitable business. There are real issues of justice and equity that ought to be at the forefront of our thinking.

Insurance companies are enjoying good business, and to limit entitlements for people who have a fair and justifiable claim to them, without any proof that the costs are impacting on premiums and in a context where slashing people's rights and entitlements is clearly not delivering lower premiums, is unacceptable. We will not be supporting this civil law amendment.

Question put:

That Mr Stefaniak's amendment No 2 be agreed to.

The Assembly voted-

 Ayes 4  			Noes 9

 Mrs Burke    		Mr Berry  	Ms MacDonald
 Mr Cornwell    	Mrs Cross  	Mr Stanhope
 Mr Pratt    		Ms Dundas  	Ms Tucker
 Mr Stefaniak    	Ms Gallagher  	Mr Wood  
     			Mr Hargreaves      
Question so resolved in the negative.

Clauses 18 to 21, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 22.

MS DUNDAS (4.52): I am seeking to remove clauses 22 and 23 from this amendment bill. I move amendment No 1 standing in my name (see schedule 4 at page ). I have a

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