Page 2317 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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personnel in the Supreme Court through members of the current bench reaching retirement age. With the new court in place next year and with a number of the measures I have just described having time to actually take effect, we will have a better picture of whether or not we are making progress and whether or not the Supreme Court is able to manage its workload in a way the community would expect.

In conclusion, I reiterate that this matter is not closed for me. It is a very serious issue that impacts on people’s lives and the administration of justice in the territory, but we are in the middle of a tranche of ACT court reforms that should have an impact in addressing the delays. If these reforms do not work I remain open to appointing a fifth Supreme Court judge, but today is not the time. On that basis I will not be able to support Mr Seselja’s bill.

MR SESELJA (Brindabella) (4.37), in reply: I will comment briefly on the contributions from Mr Corbell and Mr Rattenbury. Mr Rattenbury again seeks to question motivations for bringing forward legislation when what we are doing is bringing forward the concerns of virtually the entire legal community. What you are doing right now is not working, and I will get to that in a minute. Talking about anecdotes versus the feedback from all areas of the legal community is not evidence based; it is based on hope, and hope is not a strategy, Mr Rattenbury.

We know additional resources are backed by every aspect of the legal profession. I do not think their motivations are simply to get publicity, as Mr Rattenbury implies. What we are talking about here is an important way of ensuring we get better access to justice in the territory. In yesterday’s budget I think we saw just how badly this Labor-Greens government is doing on these measures. The budget showed that since last year the percentage of criminal cases waiting in the Supreme Court for more than 24 months has increased from five to 10 per cent and that the percentage of criminal cases waiting in the Magistrates Court for more than 12 months has also increased from five to 10 per cent. The civil backlog is just as concerning, with the average number of days to finalise civil cases from time of lodgement in the Supreme Court increasing from 550 to 617. Possibly even more worrying was that there was no new initiative and no new spending to address these delays. Disappointingly, it seems that it is only the Canberra Liberals who are fighting for justice in this area.

I make the point again that what you are doing right now is not working. You can talk about anecdotes, but we are seeing the stats year after year, and they are not pretty. These are real people involved and this is a real solution. It is not the only solution, but it is one significant improvement. That is why all areas of the legal profession believe it is right. What Mr Corbell and Mr Rattenbury are saying is that everyone else is wrong and this government is right. Everyone else who deals with it on a day-to-day basis is wrong but Simon Corbell is right. Well, I do not think this government has a record where it can show that it is actually making progress on this and that it actually has the policy solutions.

The Supreme Court (Appointment of Resident Judges) Amendment Bill would make a simple but effective amendment to the Supreme Court Act. It would provide that the executive must by commission appoint as resident judges a Chief Justice of the court and at least four other judges of the court. I have already spoken during the introduction of this bill about the reluctance with which I introduced this bill—it

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