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Wednesday, 6 June 1984
Page: 2673

Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(8.25) —My argument may have been a pale and sickly thing, but 'twas my own and 'twas offered sincerely. I am sorry that Senator Crichton-Browne thinks that the arguments the other way are irrefutable. I did my humble best to refute them in my last contribution to this debate and I do not think any useful purpose would be served by repeating them now. I take seriously the points that have been made about the desirability of legal expertise on this body, but whether it needs to be the precise kind of legal expertise that has reflected itself in five years practice at the Bar or appointment to the Bench is something about which I think reasonable men and women-

Senator Durack —You might conceivably have a lecturer, might you not?

Senator GARETH EVANS —It might indeed conceivably be a lecturer. I am glad for that graceful tribute to a much neglected profession falling at last from Senator Durack's lips. It is a profession I abandoned myself sometime before I went into practice in politics so I take it that the gesture is not directed at me, but I take the point nonetheless. It is a point very well made. Familiarity with legal concepts and the capacity to apply them in a hearing situation is not an attribute that is necessarily confined to people who have either been judges or been enrolled at the Bar or as solicitors for five years. It is essentially for that reason and in the hope and expectation that commonsense will prevail in practice that we take the position that we have.