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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 1475

Senator MILLINER (Queensland) -I am sorry that I heard in this chamber today a member of the legal fraternity suggest that a judge of the Industrial Court or of any other jurisdiction could be influenced by or could take directions from a government. In effect, that is what Senator Wright said. He claimed that the Government had an ulterior motive for inserting this clause. He said that it would enable the Government to stack the Industrial Court. Inherent in that statement is the suggestion that the Government could influence the judicial appointees to bring down decisions in favour of the Government. Surely Senator Wright, with his lengthy legal experience, ought not to suggest such a thing. But he has done so. It appears to me that there is some credence to be given to the statement which I heard recently that if the Liberal-Country Party Government had been reelected Senator Wright would possibly have been appointed to the judiciary. In view of the fact that it was not re-elected, he now claims -

Senator Wright - What rot.

Senator MILLINER -I said only that I had heard it; I did not say whether or not it was right.

Senator Cavanagh - I told you.

Senator MILLINER - Did you? Senator Wright's criticism falls to the ground. He is wrong to criticise the judiciary. I was amazed also to hear Senator Greenwood say that as a result of his experience as Attorney-General -

Senator McManus - Senator Wrightwould make a good judge. I mean that. Why not appoint him?

Senator MILLINER - Senator McManuswill be appointed to the Vatican shortly. That will fix him. Senator Greenwood said that as a result of his short- thank goodness- term as AttorneyGeneral he was not sure that these judges had been overworked, or words to that effect. He said it in a very kindly way. Nevertheless, the inference was that they were not at all times fully occupied in the Industrial Court. That would be true. I say that for an entirely different reason from Senator Greenwood's reason. I believe that he, with his legal training, should know that all judges in all jurisdictions are required to continue their research into every field of endeavour in the legal profession. While they may not be engaged 100 percent in the duties for which they were appointed, it does not necessarily follow that they are not working. Senator Greenwood said, in his ignorance of the whole system of arbitration, that because an Industrial Court judge is not working full time in administering the affairs of the Industrial Court, he is not working. How do you, Mr ex-Attorney-General, know that the judge of the Industrial Court is not out doing splendid work resolving disputes? Do you, Mr ex-Attorney-General, know on how many occasions unions and employers are in conference, they cannot resolve a particular difficulty, they do not want to apply to the Industrial Court, so they seek the assistance of a judge of the Industrial Court to resolve their difficulties? You would not know the first thing about it. What do you think the Queensland Industrial Court did in the Mount Isa Mines dispute, which went on for 9 months? I, or anybody else who was associated with that dispute, could tell you that a member of the Queensland Industrial Court continually went to Mount Isa during those 9 months in an endeavour to settle that dispute.

Senator Greenwood - I think that you are confusing the issue.

Senator MILLINER - The honourable senator said all these things. Now he is being told the situation. The insertion of the clause does not necessarily mean that we will appoint another 10, 12 or any other number of judges. It is there in the event of its being necessary to appoint additional judges. I believe that it is an appropriate way to amend the Act.

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