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Thursday, 30 November 2000
Page: 20256


Senator PATTERSON (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs) (12:48 PM) —I thank Senator Bolkus for his contribution to the debate. The Jurisdiction of Courts (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2000 deals with some specific areas of jurisdiction of the Federal Court and the Federal Magistrates Service. While this bill is merely clarificatory in nature, issues concerning the federal magistrates are very important to the government. The Federal Magistrates Service is an initiative of which the government believes it can be justifiably proud. It is a service which is delivering real results to the community. In just a few months of operation, the service is becoming an increasingly important part of the justice system. To date in the family law area, over 7,000 applications have been filed with the service. In non-family law areas, over 500 applications have been filed. Importantly, the Federal Magistrates Service has introduced into the Australian judicial system an element of flexibility and variety for the resolution of disputes under Commonwealth law. I commend the bill to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.