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Sir Terence O'Rort
9 November, 2007  
MacGillivray v QLS

Senior Brisneyland solicitor Lex MacGillivray wants the Queensland Law Society to better explain some mysteries in its latest accounts. But, it’s a bit like drawing teeth from a frozen cadaver


imageThis year’s accounting high-wire act from the Queensland Law Society is shaping up to be even more spellbinding than last year’s thrills.

In October 2006 legal blue-bloods Martin Conroy and Lex MacGillivray demanded to know more details of where the money went and why some of the numbers didn’t stack up.

After much shouting and recrimination they were howled down and out-voted by force of proxies held by the QLS Old Guard.

This year the QLS has published the draft minutes of last year’s annual general meeting on its web-site, but ostensibly only for private viewing by members. See 2006 QLS draft AGM minutes.

The minutes are sanitised, but you’ll still get the general sense of fun that pervaded the event.

The QLS senior common room has adopted the Howard strategy and delayed the AGM until November 15 in the hope that everyone will be distracted by the cricket or induced into a comatose state by the federal election campaign.

imageHowever, the intrepid MacGillivray (pic) is not to be denied and has filed a cunning motion.

Instead of levelling direct allegations against the establishment toads Lex has analysed the QLS 2006-2007 annual report and found a variety of “transactions” that he says require further and better particulars.

His motion seeks the adjournment of the AGM for at least 21 days until “adequate information” has been provided to members.

Among other things MacGillivray wants explanations for the following:

  • a 47 percent increase in “catering and functions” to $129,974;
  • a 100 percent increase in a category called “staff and other costs” to $80,378;
  • a 20 percent increase in “honoraria” to $266,444.
  • a 43 percent increase in “other offices:salaries, etc.” to $1,228,951;
  • a 100 percent rise in “doubtful debts” to $157,500;

    There was also an item called “tax consulting” costing $53,706. Apparently it has to do with an ATO private ruling in relation to PAYG on honoraria. As a consequence, former presidents Robert Davis and Joe Pinder have paid back to the QLS a total of $44,537.

    Word is that this AGM will be spicier than ever because members are livid about the QLS “captive” Singapore registered insurer Lexon. From June 2008 insurance premiums will double.

    The problem is that the annual report discloses that Lexon made $16 million profit last year.

    Why isn’t the profit from the insurance subsidiary being used to lower member premiums? – is the cry from the ranks.

    Between now and next Thursday (Nov. 15) the old guard’s proxy harvest will take place along with various plots to head old Lex off at the pass.

    Wouldn’t it be simpler to just give him the information he wants?

    Sir Terence O’Rort reporting