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Monday, 15 September 2003
Page: 20115

Mr Murphy asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 15 May 2003:

(1) Is he aware of the reported judgment in the NSW Legal Services Tribunal in the matter of Harrison which applied the following legal standard addressing the question of what amounts to professional misconduct: “Evidence that a person has deliberately flouted and avoided his legal and financial obligations, and has been convicted and sentenced for failing to comply with the order of a Court may, no doubt, demonstrate that a person is not of good character, particularly when that person is a legal practitioner and his character is being considered in the context of his fitness to practice as a legal practitioner”.

(2) Has the Commissioner of Taxation had any communication with the NSW Bar Association to clarify the issue of conduct in relation to taxation law that goes to the question of whether a person is of good character and hence liable to an action for professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct; if so, what was the outcome; if not, why not.

Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) The Commissioner of Taxation has had communications with the NSW Bar Association. However, determining whether an action or inaction amounts to professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct is a matter for the governing body of the professional association.