Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 30 March 1971


Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) (Minister for Health) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act to provide for the appointment of a second judge under sub-section (1.) of section 7 of that Act. The need for the Bill arises out of the Government's decision - which was announced to the . Senate on 19th May last - to establish a Law Reform Commission for the Australian Capital Territory. A draft of the ordinance to establish the Law Reform Commission was recently submitted to the Advisory Council of the Australian Capital Territory for comment, and it should be possible for the ordinance to be made in the near future.

In accordance with the statement to the Senate on 19th May last year, the draft ordinance provides for the Chairman to be a judge. As the Commission will have the task of reforming the law of the. Australian Capital Territory, it is desirable that the Chairman should be a judge of the Supreme Court of the Territory. The present Bill will enable the Chairman to hold such an appointment. The present position is that the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory consists of 1 Judge appointed under sub-section (1.) of section 7 of the Act and the additional judges appointed under sub-section (2.) of that section. An additional judge is required to be a judge of another Commonwealth court and it would not be satisfactory for this requirement to apply to the Chairman of the Commission. The Bill accordingly provides for the appointment of a second judge under sub-section (1.) of section 7 of the Act.

It ls expected that the Chairman of the Law Reform Commission will be engaged for the greater part of his time on the work of the Commission and that this work will take precedence over the normal judicial work of the court. However, it is thought that h will be desirable from many points of view, particularly in the early days of the Commission, for the Chairman to assist from time to time with the judicial work of the court, and this will be possible under the amendment provided for in this Bill. The work of the court has increased considerably in recent years and this has at times led to delays in the hearing of cases. The main proposal in the Bill is to be found in clause 4, which provides for the amendment of section 6 of the Act so that the Court will consist of not more than 2 judges appointed under sub-section (1.) of section 7 and the additional judges appointed under sub-section (2.). All the other amendments proposed in the Bill are merely consequential upon that provided in clause 4. They are necessary because the Act is at present framed upon the basis that only 1 judge can hold office under sub-section (1.) of section 7 of the Act. The Bill makes provision with respect to the relative seniority of the 2 judges holding office under the sub-section and provides for that seniority to apoly in several provisions that depend on seniority.


Senator Byrne - For how long is it likely that the Commission will operate?


Senator GREENWOOD - It may be an indefinite period of operation. 1 cannot answer the honourable senator in terms of a definite period. I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator O'Byrne)

Adjourned.







Suggest corrections