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CONDUCT OF A JUDGE-SELECT COMMITTEE REPORT-GOVERNMENT RESPONSE- MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

The Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans), by leave, made a statement on the Government's Response to the Report of the Select Committee on the Conduct of a Judge.

Paper: Senator Gareth Evans laid upon the Table the following Paper: Conduct of a Judge-Select Committee Report-Section 72 of the Constitution, Supplemental Opinion by the Commonwealth Solicitor-General, Dr G. Griffith, Q.C., dated 3 September 1984.

Notice of Motion: Senator Gareth Evans, by leave, gave a Notice of Motion, as follows-To move on the next day of sitting-That the Senate- (a) refer- (i) all evidence given before the Senate Select Committee on the Conduct of a Judge, and

(ii) all documentary or other material furnished to the committee, relevant to the Briese allegation, to the Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration by him whether a prosecution should be brought against the Judge; and

(b) request the Director of Public Prosecutions, should he conclude that a prosecution not be brought, to furnish a report to it on the reasons for reaching that conclusion.

Paper: Senator Gareth Evans laid upon the Table the following Paper: Conduct of a Judge-Select Committee Report-Government Response- Statement by the Attorney-General.

Senator Gareth Evans, by leave, moved-That the Senate take note of the Statement.

Debate ensued.

Notice of Motion: Senator Durack, by leave, gave a Notice of Motion, as follows-To move on the next day of sitting- (1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Allegations Concerning a Judge, be appointed:

(a) to inquire into the allegations made by Mr C. R. Briese, the Chairman of the Bench of Stipendiary Magistrates of New South Wales, concerning Mr Justice Murphy of the High Court of Australia, which are outlined in Appendix 5 of the Report of the Select Committee on the Conduct of a Judge; and

(b) after conducting such inquiry, to report to the Senate its finding of fact upon those allegations.

(2) That the Committee consist of 3 Senators, as follows: (a) one to be nominated by the Leader of the Government;

(b) one to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate; and

(c) one to be nominated by the Leader of the Australian Democrats.

(3) That the Committee proceed to the despatch of business notwithstanding that all members have not been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(4) That the Chairman of the Committee be the member nominated by the Leader of the Government.

(5) That the Chairman of the Committee may, from time to time, appoint another member of the Committee to be the Deputy-Chairman of the Committee, and that the member so appointed act as Chairman of the Committee at any time when there is no Chairman or the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the Committee.

(6) That, in the event of an equality of voting, the Chairman, or the Deputy-Chairman when acting as Chairman, have a casting vote.

(7) That the quorum of the Committee be one member.

(8) That the Committee have power to send for and examine persons, papers and records, and to meet notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives.

(9) That the Committee appoint a commissioner, upon terms and conditions agreed to by the President, the Committee and the commissioner, who shall be present at all meetings of the Committee, and who may participate in the Committee's deliberations and examine witnesses before the Committee.

(10) That the Committee appoint counsel to assist it, subject to the approval by the President of the terms and conditions of the appointment.

(11) That witnesses before the Committee may be examined by counsel assisting the Committee, by counsel for Mr Justice Murphy, and by counsel for witnesses.

(12) That the President be authorized to reimburse witnesses for reasonable costs of legal advice and representation by counsel in respect of the Committee's inquiry.

(13) That the examination of witnesses before the Committee and any submissions made to the Committee by counsel be heard in public session.

(14) That witnesses before the Committee be summoned by the Committee at the request of the commissioner.

(15) That the commissioner report to the Committee and make findings upon the matters into which the Committee is to inquire, and the Committee include in its report the report and findings of the commissioner.

(16) That the Committee, the commissioner, witnesses and counsel appearing before the Committee have access to the records of, transcripts of evidence taken by, and documents submitted to the Select Committee on the Conduct of a Judge and relating to the Committee's inquiry, and may refer to those records, transcripts and documents in the course of the Committee's proceedings.

(17) That the Committee report as soon as possible.

(18) That, if the Senate be not sitting when the Committee has completed its report, the Committee may send the report to the President, or, if the President is unable to act, to the Deputy-President, and, in that event:

(a) the report shall be deemed to have been presented to the Senate;

(b) the publication of the report is authorized by this resolution;

(c) the President or the Deputy-President, as the case may be, may give directions for the printing and circulation of the report; and

(d) the President or the Deputy-President, as the case may be, shall lay the report upon the Table at the next sitting of the Senate.

(19) That the foregoing provisions of this resolution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing Orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders.

Debate continued.

Notice of Motion: Senator Haines, by leave, gave a Notice of Motion, as follows-To move on the next day of sitting- (1) That a commission be appointed to inquire into the matters raised by the evidence of Mr C. R. Briese before the Select Committee on the Conduct of a Judge and relating to the conduct of Mr Justice Murphy of the High Court of Australia, and report to the Senate whether Mr Justice Murphy engaged in any conduct which would amount to misbehaviour providing sufficient grounds for an address to the Governor-General in Council by both Houses of the Parliament praying for his removal from office pursuant to section 72 of the Constitution.

(2) That the commission consist of 3 commissioners appointed by resolution of the Senate upon terms and conditions of appointment agreed to by the commissioners and specified by that resolution.

(3) That the commission have power to send for and examine persons, papers and records, and to meet notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives.

(4) That the commission appoint counsel to assist it, subject to the approval by the President of the terms and conditions of the appointment.

(5) That witnesses before the commission may be examined by counsel assisting the commission, by counsel for Mr Justice Murphy, and by counsel for witnesses.

(6) That the President be authorized to reimburse witnesses for reasonable costs of legal advice and representation by counsel in respect of the commission's inquiry.

(7) That the commission determine procedures and rules for the examination of witnesses before it, having regard to the procedures and rules followed by the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory.

(8) That the commission have access to the records of, transcripts of evidence taken by, and documents submitted to the Select Committee on the Conduct of a Judge, and may, for the purpose of the examination of witnesses, make those records, documents and transcripts available to witnesses and counsel and authorize witnesses and counsel to refer to them in the course of the commission's proceedings.

(9) That the examination of witnesses before the commission and any submissions made to the commission by counsel be heard in public session.

(10) That the commission report to the Senate on or before 30 October 1984.

(11) That, if the Senate be not sitting when the commission has completed its report, the commission may send the report to the President, or, if the President is unable to act, to the Deputy-President, and, in that event:

(a) the report shall be deemed to have been presented to the Senate;

(b) the publication of the report is authorized by this resolution;

(c) the President or the Deputy-President, as the case may be, may give directions for the printing and circulation of the report; and

(d) the President or the Deputy-President, as the case may be, shall lay the report upon the Table at the next sitting of the Senate.

(12) That the foregoing provisions of this resolution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing Orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders.

On the motion of Senator Kilgariff the debate was adjourned.

Ordered-That the resumption of the debate be an Order of the Day for the next day of sitting.