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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 4 Hansard (20 March) . . Page.. 1145..


However, having said that, this is not a static situation. There clearly are still concerns there. Various people today have cited various figures which speak to those concerns. I would like to put on record today that, whilst I will not be supporting Mr Seselja's call for the immediate appointment of a fifth judge today, my mind is far from closed on this matter. I think it is important that we continue to monitor the situation, and that we observe very closely whether the reforms have the desired effect and whether progress is made.

From a personal view, I spoke earlier about talking with a range of stakeholders on this matter. There is not a unanimous view out there that a fifth court judge is the answer. Some people clearly hold that view. Mr Smyth was able to cite a couple of letters that made that case and some academics—academics whose views I respect; I have, equally, had conversations with people who say that it is not the right answer—that these other reforms will make a significant difference.

At this point in time, I am not prepared to support the call for the immediate appointment of a fifth judge. I think it is a matter that all members of this Assembly should keep an open mind on. We should continue to monitor progress in the justice system. It is essential that we make progress in reducing the delays. I am pleased—and it is one of the reasons I will be supporting his amendment—that Mr Corbell has indicated that the government will both continue to work with the courts to facilitate timely delivery of justice and implement these various reforms and other ideas that are coming forward and report back on the issue in 12 months time. That is an appropriate time frame. We are looking at substantial changes in personnel in the court this year, particularly in the Supreme Court, through members of the current bench reaching retirement age. We will have a new court in place next year, and I think that in 12 months time we will have a very clear picture of whether we are making progress or not.

On that basis, I will be supporting the amendment that Mr Corbell has put forward today.

MR SESELJA (Brindabella) (3.58): The decision of Labor and the Greens member to oppose this will be very disappointing for many people who would like to see action on this now. It is interesting to compare the attitude of the Labor Party, in particular, to the issue of adequate resourcing of our Supreme Court versus their attitude to the size of the Assembly. They are desperate to see more members, more ministers, more resources for the Assembly, and that is a legitimate debate to have, but they seem to believe that somehow a 25 per cent increase in resources for the Supreme Court would not have a positive impact.

All of the arguments that have been put are saying that there are all sorts of other things that need to be done. None of those are arguments against an extra Supreme Court judge; they are arguments to go and do some of those things.

I highlighted in my earlier speech the fact that this government have not been very good when it comes to appointments. They have not followed good process. Perhaps we are seeing the results of some of that now, with some of the time that is taken by certain judges to deliver judgements. That is not a reason not to be appointing an extra


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