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Thursday, 10 October 1985
Page: 991

Senator MISSEN —I draw the attention of the Minister representing the Attorney-General to the comment of Professor Jack Richardson on his retirement as Federal Ombudsman. Will the Minister comment on Professor Richardson's statement on the role of the Ombudsman in investigating complaints of public maladministration? He said:

The big disappointment to me has been this Government's refusal to allocate sufficient minimum staff to perform these functions effectively.

Because of the increasingly important role that the Ombudsman plays in administative law in this country, I ask the Minister: Firstly, when will a replacement be announced for Professor Richardson who has already retired and whose retirement was well anticipated? Secondly, will additional investigators be appointed to help clear the backlog of written complaints presently before the Ombudsman? Thirdly, will the Government give urgent consideration to increasing the resources of the Ombudsman's Office in order to reduce the enormous pressure under which its staff are currently working and also to ensure that its excellent record of efficiency is maintained?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I suspect that that question is more appropriately addressed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, but in either event I will ensure that an answer is obtained for Senator Missen as soon as possible.