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Wednesday, 13 May 1981
Page: 2323


Mr JOHN BROWN(5.29) — We are still dealing with inspections. The part of the second reading amendment which we moved called upon the Government to reform this area. We were talking of:

the amendment of any provision which enables questionable practices to be hidden by means of legal professional privilege.

I have no doubt that the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Spender) will take umbrage at what accusations we may or may not level against the legal profession. But it seems to us that this is the first of a number of protections given to legal professional privilege. We feel that the clout of the legal profession has led to the insertion of these protections. We also feel that it is an invitation for evasion of the legislations because under this provision questionable transactions need simply be channelled through an unethical lawyer. I must say that the Commission can require the name and address of the person to whom or by whom a supposedly privileged communication is made. But we still feel that it is an invitation to evade the provisions of this part of the legislation which calls for proper accountability. Under those circumstances we question it quite severely. We call on the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs to remove that clause and to revert to the exposure draft in 1980 which did not include it.