Page 4504 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 14 October 2009

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appointments are too important for them to be politicised, to see potential appointments dragged through a public committee process. As Mrs Dunne confirms in her own explanatory statement, she is relying solely on convention and practice. We know that those things can change, and there is no guarantee in the bill that they will not change for the worse.

The amendments I propose instead put in place a different procedure. It is the procedure that is currently in place for the Civil and Administrative Tribunal. It requires me, or the attorney of the day, to outline, by notifiable instrument, the criteria that the government will use in assessing the selection of a person for appointment to the vacancy in judicial office and it will also require me to outline the process for selecting that person. Whom will I consult? How will assessment occur?

These are the very important safeguards that I think have been put in place through the existing protocols. They are the protocols that apply also to appointments to commonwealth judicial office, to the High Court, the Federal Court and so on, and this will bring our judicial appointments process into line in a statutory way with that jurisdiction and indeed with a number of other jurisdictions around the country.

This is not a black box. It has not been a black box for some time. There has been a clear process and my amendments formalise that process and give it statutory effect. I think it is the appropriate way to go whilst maintaining the caution and the conservative approach we must adopt in ensuring that there is no risk of politicising the appointment of judicial officers, a risk which is all too evident in Mrs Dunne’s proposal.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.47): As I earlier indicated, the Greens will be supporting Mr Corbell’s amendments. I would like to take the opportunity to just briefly comment on some of the earlier discussion. Mrs Dunne has expressed strongly how she feels about the Greens position and I did speak to that point earlier.

I would, however, in light of Mrs Dunne’s comments, invite her to ponder the question: what is the difference between an outrageous backflip and simply giving a matter further consideration? I invite Mrs Dunne to ponder that question by recalling the debate earlier in the year around the potential amendment of the definition of murder in the ACT. Mrs Dunne expressed extremely strong concerns about that possible amendment. She then sat on a committee which recommended a series of amendments to the government’s bill.

We then saw the government drop a detailed legal opinion in the Assembly on Tuesday, yet Mrs Dunne and her Liberal Party colleagues suddenly decided to support the government’s original text—the original text—despite a Greens request for an adjournment to have just four weeks to consider the actual depth of the government’s very interesting analysis. So I think it is an interesting question to ponder: what is an outrageous backflip and what is simply giving something further consideration and changing your mind?

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.48): The Liberal opposition will be opposing these amendments. Perhaps, on reflection, these amendments should have been moved serially. It may not have been a good idea to give leave for them to be moved together.

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