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Wednesday, 10 November 1976
Page: 2542


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I am always amused when I hear the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Antony Whitlam) speak about 1 1 November 1975 because all members of this Parliament and his electors know that at that time last year he was walking along the Strand and as he passed Australia House he wondered why the crowds were clamouring around that building chanting out: 'Hurrah, hooray, hooray'. He learnt much to his horror that his father had just been dismissed by the Governor-General and home he came running. So much for that. We are talking of other matters here today.

I direct my remarks principally to the Remuneration and Allowances Amendment Bill (No. 2). I suggest that a myth surrounds this nation's judiciary. The myth is that there are but a handful of judges, commissioners and stipendiary magistrates. Because of that myth they are able to receive a salary which is rarely scrutinised or compared with salaries for other callings. Because of that myth they are able to deliver a work performance- whether it be excellent or poorthat is never commented upon or scrutinised. Indeed our own Standing Orders- I refer to standing order 75- grants them particular protection. I am not for a moment breaking that standing order.

I make it quite clear that I am not opposing the new Federal Court of Australia but rather I am endeavouring to tear away the wraps of mystery which surround our judiciary and facilitate the payment of salaries far in excess of the salaries of the nation's parliamentarians and more significantly way ahead of the nation's Ministers. I see that the nation's top lawman, the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Ellicott), is seated at the table. Even the Attorney-General's salary is $10,000 behind the salary paid to many members of the nation's judiciary. Australia is often referred to as the over-governed country of the world where there is a politician on almost every corner. I have done some work on the numbers in the nation's judiciary. It indicates that if politicians are 2-bob a dozen judicial officers are only 25c a dozen.


Mr Ellicott - It is about time you did some work.


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) -Well, you are probably being paid in accordance with your value. Mr Deputy Speaker, I would like to drop that little comment. I do not feel that at all about the Minister at the table.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order!I do not think that we can delete something that was said. I will leave it to the discretion of Hansard.


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I hope it is understood that I was retaliating to what was only a very friendly remark. We will call it quits at that.

I have had some figures taken out by the Legislative Reference Service of the Parliamentary Library. I seek the permission of the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen), the Opposition spokesman, to have the documents incorporated in Hansard.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

The documents read as follows-

PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA

DEPARTMENT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

PRIVATE

Legislative Reference Service

Date 22 July 1976

Member: Don M. Cameron

Question: The number of judges and magistrates in each court in each state, and their salaries.

Dateof request 19 July 1 976. Required by 23 July 1976.

New South Wales has 78 judges and 91 Stipendiary magistrates.

Supreme Court 34 judges

Chief Justice: $50,660 + $2,700 expense allowance

President, Court of Appeal: $47,710 + $2, 100 expenses

Judges: $46,350 + $2, 100 expenses 3 Masters: $38,260 + $510 expenses

Industrial Commission 8 judges

President: $47,710 + $2, 100 expenses

Members: $46,350 + $2,100 expenses

Workers Compensation Commission 8 judges

Chairman: $41,750 + $2, 100 expenses

Members: $38,260 + $2, 100 expenses

New South Wales District Courts 28 judges

Chief Judge: $41,750 + $2, 100 expenses

Judges: $38,260 + $2, 100 expenses

There is the possibility of the appointment of one further Workers Compensation Commission Judge.

Stipendiary Magistrates in New South Wales 91 magistrates

Chairman of the Bench: $32,180 + $480 expenses

Deputy Chairman of the Bench: $30,460 + $336 expenses

Stipendiary Magistrate Grade 1: $28,700 + $228 expenses

Stipendiary Magistrate Grade 2: $26,399 + $228 expenses

Stipendiary Magistrate Grade 3: $23,721 + $228 expenses

Queensland has 33 judges and 61 magistrates.

Supreme Court 14judges

Chief Justice: $50,370 including expenses

Judges: $42,940 including expenses

District Court 19 judges

Chairman: $40,460 including expenses

Judges: $36,330 including expenses

Stipendiary Magistrates 61 Senior Magistrates

Salary ranges 114: $20,752

117: $22,372

121 : $25,239

123 : $26,836

There are no projected increases in numbers known.

Tasmania has 5 judges and 1 acting judge and 14 state magistrates.

Supreme Court 5 judges and 1 acting judge

Chief Justice: $44,150

Judges and Acting Judge: $39,735

Magistrates 1 4 Magistrates 1 1 Magistrates: $25,189 3 Senior Magistrates: $25,577

There may be an appointment of one further judge next year when the acting judge retires.

South Australia has 24 judges and 30 stipendiary magistrates.

Supreme Court l0judges

Chief Justice: $43,500 including expenses

Judges: $39,000 including expenses

Local and District Criminal Courts 14 judges

Senior Judge: $36,000 including expenses

Judges: $32,000 including expenses

Stipendiary Magistrates 30 magistrates. In addition several positions for Senior

Magistrate have just been advertised but it is not known exactly how many will be appointed.

Chief Senior Magistrate: $28,523 + $198 expenses

Supervising Senior Magistrate: $27,558 + $ 1 98 expenses

Senior Special Magistrate: $26,387 + $198 expenses

Senior Magistrate: $25,536 + $198 expenses

Victoria has 49 judges and 65 stipendiary magistrates.

Supreme Court 21 judges

Chief Justice: $48,370 + $2,500 expenses

Judges: $43,290 + $2,000 expenses

County Court 28 judges

Chief Judge: $43,350 + $2,500 expenses

Judges: $36,960 + $2,000 expenses

Stipendiary Magistrates 65 Senior Magistrates

Senior Magistrate 1: $25,257

Senior Magistrate 2: $27,208

Senior Magistrate 1 usually becomes Senior Magistrate 2 after 5 years.

Victoria may increase its staff in the future by 1 or 2 Senior Magistrates 1 further Country Court Judge and 1 further Supreme Court Judge.

Western Australia has 1 8 state judges and 29 magistrates.

Supreme Court 7 judges 1 Chief Justice: $44,799 1 Senior Puisne Judge: $4 1 , 08 1 5 Judges: $39,843

District Court 6 judges

Chairman of Judges: $39,843

Judges: $32,299

Licensing Court

Chairman: $32,299

Stipendiary Magistrates 29 Senior Magistrates plus 1 vacant position. Usually there are 30. It is expected that this vacancy will be filled soon.

Chief Senior Magistrate: $26,438

Deputy Chief Senior Magistrate: $25,298 3 Magistrates: $24,613 22 Magistrates: $23,803 2 Magistrates: $2 1,783

In addition 4 Magistrates are entitled to district allowances ranging from $89 p.a. to $ 1 , 305 p.a. for work in remote areas.

State Family Court: 4 judges

Chief Judge: $40,041

Judges: $32,497

Compiled by: Sylvia Gleeson.

 


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - In summary I refer to New South Wales where there are some 78 judges and 91 stipendiary magistrates. In Queensland there are 33 judges and 6 1 magistrates. In Tasmania there are 6 judges and 14 state magistrates. In South Australia there are some 24 judges and 30 stipendiary magistrates. In Victoria there are 49 judges and 65 stipendiary magistrates. In Western Australia there are 18 State judges, 29 stipendiary magistrates and in addition 4 State Family Court judges. On the Federal scene which includes the High Court, the Australian Industrial Court, the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, the Federal Court of Bankruptcy, the Family Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, the Law Reform Commission, the Royal Commission into Australian Government Administration, the Royal Commission into Human Relationships, the Grants Commission, the Prices Justification Tribunal, the Trade Practices Commission and the Trade Practices Tribunal, there are a total of some 56 judges and 52 commissioners. We are all aware that the Federal Court of Australia Bill will add to the number of Federal judges and commissioners. The grand total of the State judges, Federal judges, commissioners and stipendiary magistrates is 607 with more to come because of the Federal Court of Australia Bill.

I said before that if politicians are 2-bob a dozen the judiciary could be sold at 25c a dozen. To balance my mathematics it must be pointed out that the total of State and Federal parliamentariansthat includes of course both upper Houses and lower Houses- comes to some 756. There we are with 756 politicians and 607 judicial officers throughout Australia. Yet when we look at the salaries paid to the judiciary and compare them with the salaries paid to parliamentarians the figures are not so close. The judicial

 

officers on average would probably be receiving $38,000 to $39,000 a year. That is more than the salary of the nation's highest law officer, the Attorney-General. If one were to believe that the judicial officers were always hard-working one might be able to live with the knowledge of their high salaries. I wish to incorporate in Hansard information which was gathered by an honourable senator on the performances of the judges of the Australian Industrial Court between 1971 and 1975. 1 seek the permission of the House to incorporate the document in Hansard.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

The document read as follows-

SENATE ESTIMATES COMMITTEE 'F*

Attorney-General's Department

QUESTION BY SENATOR WRIGHT: DIVISION 172

At the meeting of the Committee on 9 October 1975, Senator Wright asked:

(i)   the names of the present Judges of the Industrial Court, and

(ii)   details of their judicial and extra-judicial work over the last four years.

The names of the present Judges of the Industrial Court have been furnished and were notified in Hansard of 10 October 1975.* The following information is now furnished in answer to the second part of Senator Wright 's question.

 

Other Matters

1.   Chief Judge Mr Justice Spicer-

(a)   Court of Marine Enquiry: MV Bass Trader, 1972-7 days MV Joseph Banks, 1974-4 days MV Straitsman, 1974-8 days SS Lake Illawara 1975-20 days

(b)   Airlines Agreement 1974-10 days.

2.   Mr JusticeDunphy- Court of Marine Inquiry

MV Blythe Star 1973-19days MV Blythe Star, 1 974-20 days.

3.   Mr JusticeNimmo-

(a)   Lawful Subdivision of Freehold Land in the Darwin Area, September 1974- January 1975

(b)   Future Status of Norfolk Island and its Relationship to Australia, March 1 975 continuing

(c)   Leader of the Australian Delegation on ' Revision of the Geneva Convention ', June and July 1971

(d)   The Criminal Law Reform Commission on Behalf of the Attorney-General in Relation to the Criminal Law Code of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, July 1971.

4.   Mr JusticeWoodward-

(a)   Sittings of the Trade Practices Tribunal 1 975-2 1 days

(b)   The Aboriginal Land Rights Commission, February 1973-May 1974.

5.   Mr JusticeFranki-

(a)   The Chairman, Designs Law Review Committee During the Term 1970-June 1973-50 days

(b)   The Chairman, Copyright Law Committee on Reprographic Reproduction, 1974-11 days; 1975-32 days

(c)   The Sub-Committee on Reprographic Reproduction of Inter-Governmental Copyright Committee of the Universal Copyright Convention (Leader of the Australian Delegation), 1975-20 days.

6.   Mr JusticeSweeney-

(a)   Committee of Inquiry on Co-ordinated Industries Organisations, 1974-31 days

(b)   The Royal Commission on Alleged Payments to Maritime Unions, 1974-40 days; 1975-53 days.


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I thank the House. An examination of the number of sitting days which the judges of the Industrial Court put in during those years, with a couple of exceptions, will show a deplorable lack of dedication to duty. I recognise that the Chief Judge, Mr Justice Spicer, in 1972 had 7 days away from the

Industrial Court on a number of marine inquiries, that MrJustice Dunphy spent some 19 days in 1973 and 20 days in 1974 on a court of marine inquiry, that Mr Justice Nimmo had a number of inquiries to conduct and that Mr Justice Woodward spent most of 1973 and almost the first half of 1974 with the Aboriginal Land Rights Commission. He also spent a part of 1 975 at sittings of the Trade Practices Tribunal. Of course this indicates the extra work done by judges of the Australian Industrial Court. I suggest to the Attorney-General that he could use his good offices to ensure that Federal judges are in fact giving a fair return for their very high salaries.

I will not reflect on the judiciary because that is against Standing Orders. I am sure that if honourable members were to examine the figures of the actual sittings of the Australian Industrial Court there would be, to say the least, some raised eyebrows. I have not been able to get figures for all the other courts. Perhaps the incorporated material gives a general example of the whole system. If that be the case, rather than appointing more judges perhaps we should be considering retiring the present judges as quickly as we can in order to decrease the numbers and thereby to ensure that they are all contributing as we would like.

I wish to refer once more to salaries. I find it amusing that the nation's Prime Minister receives a salary that is $3,000 a year less than that of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia; that the nation's Deputy Prime Minister receives less money than the judge who is second in charge of the Family Court; and that the nation's Treasurer, the man who is supposed to come forward with all the answers to save the nation, receives a salary barely more than that of an ordinary Family Court judge. I ask you, Mr Deputy Speaker: Does this indicate to you that perhaps the Ministry- whether it be a Labor Ministry or a Liberal Ministry- is being grossly underpaid or that perhaps the nation's judiciary is being grossly overpaid? It is suggested that very high salaries have to be paid to entice these gentlemen and ladies away from fairly lucrative law practices. I concede that a successful lawyer in private practice could command a very high income if the practice were well conducted. But to be made a judge, even if judges are worth almost 25c a dozen compared to politicians who are worth about 2 bob a dozen, is surely a great honour. To be made a judge- a Federal judge particularly- is a way of ensuring a job for life. Only the other day Mr Justice McTiernan in his late eighties at last threw down the flag. If anyone suggested for a moment that a man in has late eighties was not quite as able as a much younger man to produce a judgment, that person would face a great deal of problems for having made such a suggestion against a member of the judiciary. I believe that to be appointed a judge of this nation is a great honour. I believe that to serve in this nation's Parliament is also a great honour.

I also believe that it is high time the Government of the day either reviewed the salary ranges of the Ministers to bring them up to the level of those of the judiciary or, alternatively, ensured that the judiciary has its salaries pegged until such time as the Ministry- the men in whose hands we have entrusted the future of this nation- are paid the same salaries. Either the nation's Ministers are being hopelessly and recklessly underpaid, or the judiciary is being recklessly overpaid. I leave you, Mr Deputy Speaker, to decide that, and I remind you that it is a judge who is in charge of the Remuneration Tribunal which sets salaries for both judges and members of this Parliament.







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