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Tuesday, 10 December 2002
Page: 7614

Senator FAULKNER (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (8:29 PM) —If I hear you correctly in answer to my question, Minister, you say that the Attorney-General's Department does not have records.

Senator Ellison —Not for state and territory judges; these numbers are for Commonwealth judges.

Senator FAULKNER —It does have records in relation to Commonwealth judges?

Senator Ellison —I have just read them out.

Senator FAULKNER —I thought you indicated that they did not have records in the broad. I appreciate that you do not have records for those from the state jurisdictions and I am sure you also appreciate that, as far as the proposal that the opposition is putting forward is concerned, we are suggesting that the judges be drawn not only from the High Court, the Federal Court and the Family Court but also from the Supreme Court and District Court, or however judges might be described in state jurisdictions, as well. You say you do not have the statistics available. The reason I press you on this is that you confidently say that the pool is small but you seem unable to quantify it.

I wonder if you have been able to give consideration to whether the use of existing judges is constitutionally sound. I ask the minister whether the Attorney-General's Department has sought advice on that issue of constitutionality. If so, is the minister able to share with this committee what that advice might be? If the minister was so minded and was generous enough, he might even consider tabling such advice or advices in the committee.