Page 3634 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 23 August 2011

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This amendment is not necessary to facilitate the changes proposed under Mrs Dunne’s amendments 1 to 3 and is therefore, in the government’s view, misguided. The government will not be supporting amendment No 4.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.30): As I flagged in my earlier remarks, the Greens will be supporting the amendment to clarify the annual reporting requirements that relate to the directions, and we are very happy to support that. As members may be aware, currently model litigant guidelines exist which apply to lawyers working on the territory’s behalf. Currently, the government is required to report annually on the operation of the guidelines and any breaches that have arisen during the previous 12 months. This is a simple but appropriate reporting mechanism.

The amendment put forward by Mrs Dunne will extend the same reporting requirements to the legal services directions. It is appropriate that, if the attorney issues such a direction, the lawyers working under the direction be required to show how they are performing against it. The amendment adds further transparency and accountability for the lawyers who are representing the territory in court. So, on that basis, we will be supporting amendments Nos 1 to 3.

We will not, however, be supporting amendment No 4, so I will be supporting the attorney’s move to divide the question. Amendment No 4 deletes the definition of the model litigant guidelines. Certainly, in discussions between my office and that of the Attorney-General, they have indicated to us that the definition needs to be retained. I would say on this issue that if there is any doubt—and it appears there is—we believe it would be safer to retain the definition. We certainly see no danger in retaining it, and, on that basis, we will not be supporting amendment No 4.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.32): I thank members for their support for the general thrust of the amendments—the capacity to report on legal services directions of any sort. I take the attorney’s point about amendment 4. It was raised with me this morning. My office sought advice again from the office of parliamentary counsel, who drafted the amendments, and it is their view that the amendment is appropriate. However, it is not the sort of thing that I am going to die in a ditch over. The more important elements are amendments 1 to 3, and I will be quite happy to support the dividing of the question. I thank members for their support for the general thrust.

Ordered that the question be divided.

Amendments Nos 1 to 3 agreed to.

Amendment No 4 negatived.

Bill as a whole, as amended, agreed to

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

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