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Tuesday, 15 March 2005
Page: 78

Senator ELLISON (Minister for Justice and Customs) (5:40 PM) —For the record, the government will be opposing the Democrat amendment. I point out that the majority of the committee accepted the removal of tenured appointments. The government believes that in order for the tribunal to continue to meet the needs of its users—average Australians—it requires access to a pool of appropriately qualified members. Tenured appointments undermine the ability of the government to ensure that that pool of appropriately qualified members corresponds to the needs of the tribunal and its users. I point out that the last tenured appointment was made in 1989, and that demonstrates that the previous Labor government went along with the approach that this government has followed. The other matter I point out is that the government amendments have reinstated the president as a Federal Court judge. Whilst Federal Court judges have tenured appointment, presidents do not. They will be appointed for a term of up to seven years, and I just point that out to the committee. For those reasons, the government will be opposing the Democrat amendment.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Kirk)—The question is that item 21 in schedule 1 stand as printed.

Question agreed to.