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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 918


Mr LIONEL BOWEN (Attorney-General)(4.58) —That is the nicest thing the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Spender) has ever said about me, so I must be careful on this occasion. Really the issue relates to the question of appeals from supreme courts in proceedings involving certain Federal matters. These matters are listed in the Schedule. I can tell the honourable gentlemen that I have had a lot of discussions with judges, particularly the Chief Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, and they are very anxious to have some certainty about the areas. That is why a list of the relevant Acts is in the Schedule. If we did not do that and if we accepted the honourable gentleman's amendment, as well intentioned as it is, it would do away with the specialist Federal appellate jurisdiction. That concerns that court no end. It has developed a very good appellate jurisdiction, and it is anxious to retain it. Everybody has agreed with it. My eloquence, if any, has been to the point of clearly indicating to the State Attorneys-General that this is perfectly all right, and they have accepted that. I think I should say no more, seeing that they are in agreement. The honourable gentleman's amendment would destroy their hopes. This is something that they want to see introduced, and I would be the last to oppose all the Attorneys in toto. There are many things that I would love to do, with which they will not agree. On this occasion, as we have agreement and it is particularly of interest to the Federal Court, it is important that we proceed as drafted. Accordingly, I cannot accept the amendment to clause 7, as outlined.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 8 agreed to.

Clause 9 (Exercise of jurisdiction pursuant to cross-vesting laws).