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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2223 ..

MR OSBORNE (9.15): Overall, I do not have a lot to say in relation to the justice budget. I have some concerns over one area in particular and that is the Magistrates Court. A number of issues have come up in the last 12 months which have caused me great concern. We are the only jurisdiction in the country which has all our magistrates in the same building, yet it appears from reports that we are probably not as efficient as we could be. It is an area that I intend to focus my attention on over the next 12 months. I can only reiterate, once again, my disappointment at the way the Chief Magistrate, in particular, handled the issue of the Children's Court magistrate and the deplorable situation we are in at the moment. I lay the blame solely at his feet. I will, as I said, focus my attention on ways of making the place operate better. We have some good magistrates over there, but that is a point that I wanted to make in relation to this area.

Mr Humphries: Whose feet do you lay the blame at?

MR OSBORNE: Just to clarify that, I said in relation to the Children's Court magistrate and the debacle of the situation at the moment that I lay the blame solely at the feet - - -

Mr Berry: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. Is it appropriate to be slagging off at the magistracy in this place? It seems to me - - -

Mr Humphries: Your leader was just doing it, so you can hardly complain.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: I cannot say that I can come down one way or the other at this time of night.

Mr Berry: Okay. I give up.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: But I do take exception at our colleague Mr Osborne receiving interjections from the gallery from other people, so-called travelling friends.

MR OSBORNE: Thank you, but I would use that word "friends" very loosely when talking about these three.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (9.18): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, there is a provision somewhere in the standing orders which requires us not to get stuck into members of the judiciary. I am not sure which section it is, but I will hastily pass over from that point. I will attempt to not be too critical of those on the courts. I am sure the Chief Magistrate will be quite relieved to only have the comments made by Mr Osborne laid at his feet tonight. Earlier today there was some suggestion around that he might get a motion of no confidence or a motion of censure because of breaches of the law. Simply having some criticism from Mr Osborne is relatively easier to cope with.

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