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Thursday, 25 March 2004
Page: 27372

Mr Murphy asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 18 February 2004:

(1) Further to answer to question No. 2814 (Hansard, 11 February 2003, 24412), has he or his predecessors instructed any Government department or agency to change its lawyers since March 1996; if so, what are the details.

(2) In respect of the response to part (4) to the effect that changes to the law in relation to the engagement of barristers and solicitors are matters for his consideration, does he intend to give legislative force to the policy.

Mr Ruddock (Attorney-General) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) I have not done so and I am not aware of my predecessor having done so.

(2) The policy has legislative force in that the Legal Services Directions are made by the Attorney-General under the Judiciary Act 1903. In addition, regulation 9 of the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997 requires that public money must not be spent unless the person approving its expenditure is satisfied that the expenditure is in accordance with the policies of the Commonwealth.