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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

magistrates again condemned

Media Release

Her Majesty’s Shadow Attorney General
Thursday January 19, 2006

Appointment of temporary judges and magistrates again condemned by State Liberals

The State Liberals have consistently opposed in Parliament the appointment of temporary judges and magistrates.

Shadow Attorney General Michael Hodgman said that the Australian Judicial Conference had also opposed the appointment of acting and temporary judges and he completely agreed with the comments of His Honour Chief Justice Peter Underwood, who said that “the appointment of temporary judges strikes at the independence of the judiciary”.

“Chief Justice Underwood is completely correct and that is why the State Liberals have consistently argued against the actions of the outgoing Attorney General Judy Jackson in appointing an Acting Supreme Court Judge, and Acting Magistrates last year,” Mr Hodgman said.

“The problem with temporary appointments is that they are made at the whim of the Attorney General and it is clear that perceptions of bias can arise.

“While I am not in any way suggesting that there is any issue with any of the temporary magistrates or the acting judge appointed by the Attorney General, Ms Jackson, there is the clear potential for a problem to arise especially because, as Chief Justice Underwood has correctly pointed out, she is a “loose cannon”.

Mr Hodgman said that in relation to the appointment of temporary magistrates, he was concerned that on the one hand, it acknowledged the need for more judicial resources without doing anything on a long term basis to provide them.

“They are a stop-gap measure designed to cover leave only, when the Magistrates Court is crying out for additional permanent magistrates, particularly on the North West Coast.”

Mr Hodgman called on the Lennon Labor Government to appoint two additional permanent Magistrates to alleviate delays in the courts.

“The administration of justice has suffered badly under the Lennon Labor Government, and this has been proven time and time again.

“And things will only deteriorate now that Ms Jackson has made it clear she is just waiting for the election to be called so she can make her extended holiday official.”

For more information, please contact:
Georgia Warner (03) 6233 2370 or 0418 564 073


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