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Thursday, 5 February 2009
Page: 574


Mr OAKESHOTT (1:47 PM) —I rise also to support the Federal Justice System Amendment (Efficiency Measures) Bill (No. 1) 2008 and, with the Attorney-General now in the chamber, I can assume I will be brief. My reason for speaking is that, in an electorate like the mid-North Coast of New South Wales and in a country like Australia with the rule of law in place, one of the critical components of the delivery of public policy and the delivery of law is that fundamental human right called ‘access to justice’. These efficiency measures fundamentally allowing single judges to put in place interlocutory orders and allowing for the appointment of referees are all welcome efficiency measures in the delivery of timely justice. I do place a watching brief, however, on the difficult balancing act that comes with access to justice, and that is to make sure that this is about better judicial outcomes for members of the broader community of Australia and, in my particular case, the mid-North Coast. That is the very meaning of the word ‘efficiency’ in the title of the bill, rather than some sort of resource efficiency from government in a roundabout way denying full access to the law by saving on pennies from a government point of view.

It is on the first definition of efficiency that I support this bill. It is important legislation for communities such as mine. The Federal Court does visit the mid-North Coast and there is a significant backlog at times, so anything that can improve that and provide a more timely delivery of justice is certainly welcome within my region and will hopefully deliver better outcomes for the nation.

Debate (on motion by Mr Albanese) adjourned.