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Wednesday, 9 February 2005
Page: 26


Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (11:18 AM) —It really does depend on the severity of the situation, and Senator Murray alluded to that in his remarks. He stated that, if someone is a few months late with their tax return, that is not a hanging offence. If a criminal offence were involved—for example, tax avoidance or another offence under the taxation laws of this country—that would be a very serious matter indeed. I think it is fair to say that, across the country, the removal of a judge is dealt with by parliament. It normally requires consideration by both houses. Queensland has a unicameral system; I am not sure what the detail is in each state and territory. But, in a general sense, I think it is accurate to say that the removal of a judge is dealt with by parliament. That question would have to be for parliament. But, if criminal conduct is involved, that is extremely serious. I would find it extremely difficult to think of a situation where a judge would be justified in continuing in his or her office if they were guilty of such a crime.