Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2758..
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (9.26): I thank the opposition for their support of this amendment. This amendment simply cleans up redundant clauses that are an effect of the amendment of the government's bill earlier this year.
Amendment agreed to.
Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Postponement of orders of the day
Motion (by Mr Moore ) agreed to:
That orders of the day Nos 4 to 9, Executive business, be postponed until a later hour this day.
Supreme Court Amendment Bill 2001
Debate resumed from 21 June 2001, on motion by Mr Stefaniak:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (9.27): This bill establishes the Court of Appeal as a division of the Supreme Court to replace the Federal Court as the ACT's intermediate appeal court. The bill provides for a president of the Court of Appeal. The president may be the Chief Justice, a current resident judge or a new appointee. The Chief Justice remains the most senior judge, and the president is second in seniority.
The need for a separate court of appeal has arisen through the refusal of the Commonwealth to appoint new resident judges, most specifically Justices Crispin and Gray, to the Federal Court. The ACT Law Reform Commission recommended in a report signed by Justice Crispin that the ACT establish a separate court of appeal.
As a digression, I continue to regret, as I think we all do, that the Commonwealth has taken the attitude it has in relation to the Federal Court. I still struggle to understand why the Commonwealth felt the need to take that action, given the impact it has on the administration of justice in the ACT.
There should be no need for new judges to be appointed to the ACT Supreme Court, apart from the president, if that role is not to be performed by a current judge. I do not know what the Attorney's views on that are, but if he wishes to express a view on it in this debate I would be quite interested.
The bill is straightforward. However, there is some minor new policy in the bill which I do not think has been discussed. There is a provision in the bill permitting reference appeals for a person who has been tried on indictment and acquitted. At any time up to 60 days after the trial, the Attorney or the DPP may appeal any question of law arising