find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Qld senator warns of foreign outsourcing

Qld senator warns of foreign outsourcing

CONTROVERSIAL Queensland Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce last week attempted to turn the legal profession into a bargaining chip in his battle against free trade agreements. Citing the potential…

CONTROVERSIAL Queensland Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce last week attempted to turn the legal profession into a bargaining chip in his battle against free trade agreements.

Citing the potential availability of an avalanche of cheap Indian legal advice, the National Party senator said Australian lawyers could soon be on the employment scrap heap. While the Senator admits that his idea is fanciful, he sought to take a debate that is carried on about trade and farm produce, and couch it in terms that will mean something to the more influential legal and accounting professions.

“In light of the push to unencumbered free trade throughout the world, it has been noted that there are great financial advantages for Australian business in outsourcing legal and accountancy work,” Joyce said.

“This year India will have approximately 175,000 law graduates and there is the potential that a large cell of these could be trained specifically in the statutes of Australian law. This could bring a vast reduction in the cost of legal services by up to 70 or 80 per cent.”

It was an effort to attract the attention of people who “feel disassociated from it and therefore maybe a little bit ambivalent about it”, Joyce said in an exclusive interview with Lawyers Weekly. An accountant himself, Joyce wanted the professions to see the situation as he saw it, through their own eyes.

In a global market Australian consumers should be able to source the products and services that are most competitive, his argument began. “Free flow of information via the Internet and video streaming should reduce former barriers that existed to this international service trade taking place. The new world is: if it can be done on a computer it can be done somewhere else,” he said.

But the argument was only used as an “abhorrent” one. He suggested that those who supported free trade would accept that “this may involve the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in both these field, but our country will have placed this workforce in more internationally competitive fields”.

Australia must ask itself a question, he argued. “If this is not ok, if the above proposal in your mind is lunacy, how then is it fair for our rural operators?” he asked.

There are probably more accountants and solicitors in the world than there are farmers, he told Lawyers Weekly. He said that Australia would in the future probably be trading in services, “free trade in services”.

“If you believe in unencumbered free trade, you must have it in services, why wouldn’t you? Now obviously the reason you wouldn’t is because you want to protect your standard of living in Australia. If you think that it’s just to protect the standard of living in Australia in those fields then surely the argument stands that it’s just to protect it in other forms of income earning capacity as well,” he said.

If Australia did allow an outsourcing of legal and accountancy work, he said, “you’d have the displacement of possibly tens of thousands of people. It would be an absolute disaster”.

“The cost savings over their income earning potential, their income earning bodies, would put my own business out of business. Because we can’t say ‘our industry is [sacred], because we are holier than thou, but [we] are allowed to arbitrarily go around touch everyone else’s income earning potential’. If the argument stands that you should have free flow of goods unencumbered across borders because it gives you a good price of goods in your grocery shop or your supermarkets, what’s the difference saying you should have free flow of services across borders so I can get the best possible overheads for my business? And the answer is both, because I want the capacity to earn an income in Australia,” he said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Qld senator warns of foreign outsourcing
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Jackie Rhodes
Dec 12 2017
Report sheds light on LGBTQI inclusion in law firms
A recent report has revealed the varying perceptions on LGBTQI diversity and inclusion in the Austra...
Women in business
Dec 12 2017
Annabel Crabb headlines Women in Business Forum
Political journalist Annabel Crabb has appeared at the Coleman Greig Lawyers Women in Business Forum...
Dec 11 2017
Warm welcome for new district court judges
Three practitioners who were appointed as district court judges in WA have been congratulated by ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...