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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2752

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - I move:

Insert the following new clause: 17b. (1) A court, to be known as the Family Court of Australia, is created by this Act.

(2)   The Court is a superior court of record.

(3)   The Court consists of a Chief-Judge, the Senior Judges and the other Judges from time to time holding office in accordance with this Act.

I appreciate what is put by Senator Missen. However, one trouble is that the commencement of the court, for a start, would be in some difficulty. If, for example, the Bill were passed into law by the end of this year I suppose 15 sitting days, which would bring us to the middle of next year, would have to elapse before one could appoint even a chief judge of the court to start to organise, look into matters and so forth.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The amendment states: 'Such number of senior judges and other judges'.

Senator MURPHY -Well, the chief judge could be appointed but nobody else. Not having a full court appointed would not be altogether satisfactory. Whilst seeing the point of what is being put I think there ought to be some provision for the court to be got under way. If the amendment stated 'such number of senior judges and other judges in excess of 6 judges', or something like that, at least the court could be got going. Some such modification as that may take out the difficulties that I can see in the immediate operation of the court. I do not know whether that would be acceptable. Perhaps we could have some modification of a reasonable sort. I think six would be a little small. We could agree on some figure across the table and this would allow the thing to get under way.

Senator Missen - Speaking for the members of the Committee on this side of the table, that would be agreeable to us. That would certainly not impede the commencement of the Court and the appointment of some judges.

Senator MURPHY - Suppose we said ten. If honourable senators would agree to modify the amendment to read 'the Senior Judges and the other Judges in excess of ten as may be prescribed by Regulations from time time'.

Senator Missen - We on this side of the table prefer the number six. This would be ample to get it underway.

Senator MURPHY -A11 right, six.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Webster -So that the Committee can understand the position correctly, I think Senator Missen should seek leave to insert certain words into the amendment.

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