Proctor : November 2017
8 PROCTOR | November 2017 Advocacy highlights Queensland Law Society’s (QLS) 25 standing policy committees and over 350 committee members represent a foundational aspect of the Society, contributing their expertise to good law in the state. This year, committees were extremely active, with 146 submissions over the 2016-17 financial year. Committee members attended 178 meetings and had 91 mentions in Hansard. Each volunteer committee member is a subject-matter expert in their chosen field, and during this past financial year, they contributed their knowledge to 132 articles and publications. Their assistance in fulfilling the Society’s purpose of being the profession’s trusted advisor has been greatly appreciated by all at the Society. This year, QLS has once again had numerous successes across multiple areas of law. Our advocacy team is appreciative of the efforts of all committee members, as well as the leadership of committee chairs and deputy chairs who consistently rally their committees. One key area we have highlighted this year is for the benefit of seniors in the community, focusing on raising the awareness of elder abuse across the nation. On 15 June, an awareness campaign was launched with the Australian Medical Association Queensland, with the aim of raising awareness of elder abuse and supporting seniors in reporting abuse. The Society also worked hard to reinstate funding for community legal centres by the Federal Attorney-General, and it was pleasing to see a reversal of the funding cuts announced earlier this year. In the space of access to justice for Queenslanders, the 2016 Access to Justice Scorecard report was released to members, and the 2017 scorecard was launched and completed by the profession. The Society also welcomed State Budget funding on justice initiatives, including the return of the Drug Courts, the permanency of Southport’s Domestic Violence Specialist Court and two new specialist courts to roll out in Townsville and Beenleigh. More appointments to the courts were also welcomed, and the Society will continue to advocate for further resources. There has been extensive work on key pieces of legislation by our committees, including: • Moves to expunge historical gay convictions • Launch of the Search Warrant Guidelines in collaboration with the Queensland Police Service • Highlighting issues with the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 • Participation in the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Stakeholder Reference Group. QLS was successful in ensuring that a decision to accept or reject an application for a medical assessment was subject to review by the regulator and in requiring the insurer to pay for the worker’s travel expenses to this assessment.