Page 5080 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 17 November 2009

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Queensland Legal Profession Act, which ensures that a private regulator can require its investigators to act strictly in accordance with its directions.

The Law Society, having initially raised this issue with me, has been extensively consulted on the proposed changes. The Bar Association, which has a lesser interest as barristers do not hold trust money, has also been consulted. This bill will protect the Law Society and the Bar Association from exposure to a broad risk of unwarranted claims for the compensation of their own members in relation to the function of ensuring its standards and compliance are properly delivered to the ACT community. That risk cannot, in fact, be sustained by the finances of the legal practice regulators. A law practice should be entitled to compensation for losses or expenses arising only from an unlawful or unreasonable action by an investigator. I thank members for their support, and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 11.34 am to 2 pm.

Supplementary questions

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Before I call the Leader of the Opposition, I wish to make a brief statement concerning the new procedure involving questions without notice.

When I wrote to all members on 8 September 2009 about the new procedure, I acknowledged that there would inevitably be a period of adjustment to the new procedures, and I encouraged any members who had any questions, concerns or thoughts to approach me outside the chamber. To date I have had no approaches, but I have noted that last week some points of order were taken about whether certain supplementaries were in order. That is what I would like to comment on today.

Specifically, the points of order have been around the issue of whether the supplementaries were related to the original question. The approach that I have adopted, and will continue to use subject to any direction from the Assembly, is that where there is a fairly specific question about a matter, any supplementary question should relate to that matter and not be simply a broad supplementary about the general issue.

For example, last week there were three questions relating specifically to the comments in a consultant’s report about the target out-turn cost of the Cotter Dam. The supplementary question that I ruled out of order related not to that specific issue but, rather, to the broader issue of water security in the ACT. Had the original issue been framed broadly around the overall cost of the Cotter Dam and the issue of water security, I would have allowed the question.

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