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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 February 2008) . . Page.. 128 ..

The purpose of this bill is to ensure that the public have the fullest confidence possible in the appointment of judges and magistrates and that the process is as open and as transparent as possible. By taking on board the advice from the legal affairs committee, it will provide another check and balance in the process and will allow greater public involvement in the procedure. By adding another layer of scrutiny, it provides another avenue of information to be provided to the government so that when it makes its decisions it is in the full knowledge that it has all the relevant information available and that no detail has been overlooked.

The bill also involves the legal affairs committee in the decision-making process in an advisory capacity. Once again, this will improve scrutiny and add to the advice which is provided to the government. The government still has the final decision regarding the appointment but must consider the advice provided to it. The committee process would give the Law Society, the Bar Association and other interested groups the opportunity to make submissions.

While I do not favour a judicial appointments commission, because I believe that elected representatives should make decisions on judicial appointments, it is clear that the process would be enhanced by clearly allowing the profession to make its position known to the executive prior to appointments being made. This bill would allow that to happen. It is a simple change which would improve the process of judicial appointments, and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell) adjourned to the next sitting.

International Year of Languages

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (10.50): I move:

That this Assembly recognises the important role languages play in maintaining the diverse cultures that enrich our multicultural way of life, in this the International Year of Languages.

I have moved this motion today to recognise the important role languages play in maintaining the diverse cultures that enrich our multicultural way of life in this, the International Year of Languages. Last year, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2008 the International Year of Languages, in recognition of the fact that the capacity for people to be genuinely multilingual promotes unity and diversity in international understanding.

It was a move to ensure the preservation of the diversity of languages and cultures globally, while emphasising the importance of the equality of the UN’s six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The slogan for the year is “languages matter”. In practical terms in respect of these new measures, the UN has undertaken tasks such as ensuring that its documents are available in the six official languages, while also making use of official languages in all activities involving its department of public information.

Throughout history, human beings have found many and varied ways to communicate, from body language and music, to painting, carving and dance, through the flying of

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