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Thursday, 4 October 1984
Page: 1197


Senator DURACK(12.36) —I refer to clause 9 of the Bill which deals with the possible appointment of Mr Justice Stewart to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The clause provides that when he ceases to be Chairman of the National Crime Authority, he may, if he so elects, continue in employment in a Commonwealth office, as he would be entitled to do as a deputy president of the Tribunal, until he reaches the age of 70 which, of course, would be his ultimate retiring age if he continued as a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. This, of course, has nothing to do with the continuance of his title or anything like that. He ceases to hold the title of judge, now to be conferred upon him, during the period he is Chairman of the National Crime Authority.

I raise a matter which is of some concern to me. It is not clear whether it is intended to appoint Mr Justice Stewart as a deputy president of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal from the time he resigns as a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales or whether this is simply an enabling provision and he will be appointed to that position, if he so desires, at the end of his term as Chairman of the National Crime Authority. I believe that for appearances sake it would be better if Mr Justice Stewart was in fact appointed as a deputy president of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. I understand that it would not be necessary for him to perform any function as a deputy president during the period that he is Chairman of the National Crime Authority. It is a question of what is the policy. Is it intended to appoint Mr Justice Stewart or is it intended only to keep open that possibility? I am concerned that if it is only intended to keep open that possibility it is really not in principle a desirable situation for a person performing the role of Chairman of the National Crime Authority to be in a sense the subject of possible favour of the Government at a subsequent date.