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Mr justice staples



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NEWS RELEASE Neil Brown QC, M P Shadow Attorney-General

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

MR JUSTICE STApT.HM ---------- -

Members of Parliament have now received a copy of a letter from Judge PT Allan of the South Australian Industrial Court to the Prime Minister.

The letter argues that the failure of the Government to appoint Mr Justice Staples to the new Australian Industrial Relations Commission is, in the absence of the Judge's consent, or any other lawful reason, an attack on the independence of the

judiciary.

In support of this view, Judge Allan cites a declaration on the independence of the judiciary passed unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly.

The fact that Judges have now started to engage in public controversy about this issue has been caused by the Government's stubborn refusal to give any explanation of its failure to appoint Mr Justice Staples to the new tribunal.

The controversy will continue until the Government gives a satisfactory explanation of its conduct.

There are two other consequences of the Government's conduct. First, the public will now have grave doubts about whether the Government supports the independence of the judiciary.

Secondly, Australia will be open to international criticism for not acting in keeping with this principle and not complying with the law.

The law is clear. The Conciliation and Arbitration Act provides that Deputy Presidents of the Commission shall not be removed in the absence of "proved misbehaviour or incapacity."

The Government has abolished the old Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, set up a new Industrial Relations Commission and removed Mr Justice Staples from office by not appointing him to the new body.

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ENQUIRIES: (062) 77 4028 (03) 842 1700

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The Government cannot continue to stand mute in the face of an apparent breach of the law in this fundamental area of judicial independence.

It must either appoint Mr Justice Staples to the new body, make out a case of proved misbehaviour or incapacity, or give some other satisfactory explanation of its conduct.

If it does not follow one or other of these courses, the Government deserves the strongest censure.

N A RROWN

14 February 1989

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: (062) 77 4028