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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2752

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - It was my suggestion that the point of this amendment could be given effect to without preventing the Court starting and doing the necessary organising and so forth. If this Court is to be introduced then it is reasonable that there be some number of judges. I would not take this to reflect what the Senate Committee thinks should be the size of the Court. I notice that Senator Greenwood is laughing about this matter. I suppose he thinks it is all right if he can throw a bit more confusion into the matter and seize upon any pretext to delay the Bill. I propose in the course of the rest of the time in this debate not to be provoked by him and not to be drawn off into all sorts of digressions because a lot of people want the law to be changed and they want this Bill to go through. I propose not to be drawn away from this matter. If some such limitation as has been mentioned were introduced, this could give effect to what is proposed by the mover of the amendment, that is, that the Parliament can keep some control over the development of the Court.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is all that was intended.

Senator MURPHY -That is all that is suggested. If the figure six is put in, in no way is it suggested that this is contemplated as the proper size of the Court. Obviously it is not. But it would give the Court a chance to get started and to get its organising and so forth under way. The inclusion of the figure six would not be too bad, otherwise it would mean that the Court would be virtually stultified at least until the beginning of next year and it could not even really get under way with one exception, and that is in relation to the chief judge.

Senator Wood - Would you increase the number of judges by regulation?

Senator MURPHY -That is right and that would mean there would be the chief judge and six appointed by regulation which would not operate until 15 sitting days had elapsed. That is the catch in this. The Court could not even begin. These judges could not even take up office until 15 sitting days had elapsed, which we know could be many months and this would mean an effective commencement date of about July 1975.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It would have to go before the Regulations and Ordinances Committee.

Senator MURPHY - I think this would be an improvement in the proposal. Even then the proposal would go before the Regulations and Ordinances Committee.

Senator Wood - Would you not think that six would be enough to start with?

Senator MURPHY -This could at least enable the Court to undergo its organisation, to start some organising, and that is what is proposed. I think the number is rather small but it is the initial step which was proposed and other judges would come in by way of regulation which under this proposal would be delayed for some time. I suggest to honourable senators opposite for their consideration that the delaying of the coming into operation of the regulations for 1 5 sitting days is perhaps also a bit long. Does it really have to be that long in order to effectuate the purpose that those who have moved the amendment have in mind? Why should it be 15 instead of 5 sitting days? Five sitting days would give people plenty of time to look at it. Before the regulations come into operation they will have to be before the Senate for 5 sitting days. That still gives an opportunity for them to be looked at by the Regulations and Ordinances Committee and for some motion of disallowance to be moved, but they would not come into operation immediately. I really think that 15 sitting days is a bit long. I suggest that ought to be reduced to something like 5 sitting days before they come into operation. The suggestion which has been put is a considerable departure from the existing practice with regulations which come into operation immediately. It would seem to me that if my suggestion were adopted it would be reasonable.

Senator Wood - I think 7 days might be an appropriate time. It would give a little more than 2 weeks.

Senator MURPHY - May I suggest to honourable senators opposite that they modify the amendment so that it will not stretch the matter out over an unduly long period which might satisfy nobody. Everybody might agree and say that there is good cause for another couple of judges, yet all of us would be stultified if the Court is unable to commence.

Senator Missen - May I just say that as some discussion has taken place about this-

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Webster)Order! Before you proceed, Senator Missen, I think that to bring some order into our debate I should first put the question, that the words proposed to be left out by your amendment be left out. That will discharge the proposed subclause and then we can deal with the amendment which has been put by Senator Missen.

Senator Everett - I raise a point of order, Mr Chairman. Are we about to vote on this proposed new sub-clause?

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