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Tuesday, 26 November 1985
Page: 2282


Senator GIETZELT (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)(8.45) —As I understand the situation regarding some of the matters raised by Senator Durack, I am advised that Mr Justice Muirhead was an existing member of the Federal Court of Australia and was also a member of the Northern Territory Supreme Court. He resigned from the Northern Territory Supreme Court but retained his Federal Court appointment and subsequently moved to Perth. I think that that is a fairly normal and natural arrangement that is made from time to time, having regard to the various jurisdictions for which the Commonwealth has some responsibility to provide assistance wherever it is needed. There was a need for some additional Federal Court assistance to be provided in Perth and Mr Justice Muirhead took that position.

With respect to Mr Justice Jackson, as Senator Durack would acknowledge, the Federal Court is a national court and judges often sit in States other than the State from which they come and from which they were appointed. Based on the information available to me, I do not think that there is any substantial reason to be critical of the way in which the movement of judges has taken place, bearing in mind that the Attorney-General (Mr Lionel Bowen) has to look at the overall responsibilities in those areas and apply logic and common sense to resolve difficulties that occur from time to time.

On some of the other matters, the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General is looking at problems such as cross-vesting of jurisdiction between State and Federal courts, but until this has been resolved, these matters are still receiving the attention of the Government.