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Thursday, 21 August 1980
Page: 621


Mr VINER (Stirling) (Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

In June last year the Government of Western Samoa asked the Australian Government for help in finding a successor to the retiring Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Samoa. Our two governments subsequently agreed that Mr Justice St John, a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, would with his concurrence be made available for appointment by Western Samoa as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Samoa. Mr Justice St John was sworn into that office for a period of two years on 7 July 1980. The purpose of the present Bill is to give statutory approval to that appointment and to ensure that Mr Justice St John's service as Chief Justice of Western Samoa counts for the purposes of his rights and entitlements as an Australian judge.

Mr JusticeSt John is well qualified for this appointment. He has been a Federal judge for over five years, is a Master of Laws and, before being appointed to the Bench, was a Queen's Counsel with an extensive practice at the New South Wales Bar. Mr Justice St John was actively associated with the Council of Civil Liberties in New South Wales, being a member of the Committee of the Council since 1963 and President of the Council at the time of his appointment to the Bench. In addition to his appointments to the

Federal Court of Australia and the Australian Industrial Court, he is a judge of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory and of the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island. I am sure that honourable members will welcome the opportunity that Australia has been afforded, through the initiative of the Government of Western Samoa, to assist a Pacific neighbour with which Australia has a close association. This appointment follows in a sense the precedent set by the appointment some years ago of Sir John Nimmo as Chief Justice of Fiji.

The Bill before the House approves, in clause 4, the acceptance by Mr Justice St John of the appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Samoa. This provision is included to place it beyond doubt that acceptance of the appointment will not create any inconsistency with his Australian appointments. His entitlements as an Australian judge are to be preserved. The Government of Western Samoa will pay Mr Justice St John's salary for the period of his appointment and His Honour has agreed to waive any Australian salary which would be payable during that period. Clause 5 of the Bill provides that that waiver does not affect his entitlements under the Judges Pensions Act 1968 and the Judges (Long Leave Payments) Act 1 979. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Uren) adjourned.







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