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Tuesday, 25 November 2003
Page: 22863

Mr Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 18 September 2003:

Further to the answers to questions Nos 1620 to 1635 and 1637 (Hansard, 12 August 2003, page 18283) what are the Chief Executive Officers of the Minister's departments and agencies doing to ensure that they do not retain the services of any barrister or solicitor who has previously been made bankrupt.

Dr Kemp (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

With the exception of the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO), agencies in the Environment Portfolio normally use the services of solicitors employed by, and engage counsel through, the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) which has policies and procedures in place in respect of the engagement of suitable counsel. These policies and procedures accord with Commonwealth policy which is directed toward ensuring that Departments and agencies do not engage counsel who use insolvency as a means of avoiding tax.

The AGO has a panel of legal service providers comprising the AGS and three private law firms. The AGO and its panel of legal service providers are also cognizant of the Commonwealth policy mentioned above.