Law reform requires reboot according to UNSW roundtable

Wednesday, 3 August 2016  @Business School

​​Law reform in Australia needs a reboot according to business, government and academic experts at a UNSW Australia roundtable this week.

Expert speakers and panellists from professional firms and from business, government and academia presented key reform ideas about business taxation, corporate law, competition law, financial sector regulation and facilitation and regulation of the new economy.

Professor Pamela Hanrahan, Director of Research at the School of Taxation and Business Law at UNSW Business School, said “The issue we identified was that there’s a lot of policy thinking that goes on but many proposals that make it to the white paper stage then falter in the last step. A lot of foundation work is done but we don’t seem to be able to deliver the last step in a way that’s cost effective and meaningful for the community.”

Head of School for Social Sciences, Dr. Christopher Walker discussed issues around reform culture and fatigue. “There's an ongoing decline of trust with governing agencies, politicians are risk averse, and this has created an 'environment of silence on big ideas'. We require stronger voices from academia to bring about reform."

Renowned academic and expert in corporate and taxation law, Professor Robert Baxt stated, “We have to genuinely try to achieve a national approach to dealing with these issues. We should try to work towards a common goal and that is to allow the business community to operate under a clear set of rules that are going to be administered fairly and consistently. We don’t give enough time in this country to debate important law reform issues, they are rushed and as a result, we often get poor law reform.”

The round table attracted speakers from abroad, including the UK. Professor Judith Freedman from the University of Oxford explained, “This is a brilliant collection of people from different agencies who have a lot of issues in common and if they can exchange their experiences then it will make for a more thoughtful policy making.”