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Wednesday, 4 December 1974
Page: 3088

Senator KEEFFE (QUEENSLAND) - My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I preface it by reminding the Minister that a Colin James Bennett, barrister, former Labor alderman, former Labor MLA and former member of the Australian Labor Party, is now the National Party candidate for the seat of Kurilpa in the forthcoming Queensland State election. He allegedly nominated because he said in a public statement that he was opposed to the progressive views on social matters of the Labor candidate. Is the Minister aware that C. J. Bennett was apparently induced to nominate as a National Party candidate with the promise of a possible appointment, after the election, as.a District Court judge?

Senator Greenwood - I rise on a point of order. This has been a long harangue in which no indication of a matter of Commonwealth interest, of a matter for which any Minister in this place has any responsibility, has been raised. We know that an election is pending in Queensland. We know the general character and the tactics which the honourable senator pursues from time to time when there are elections in Queensland. I submit that it is quite apparent right from the outset that this is just another electoral gambit. It is not related to a matter of public affairs.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I will hear the remainder of the question being asked by Senator Keeffe.

Senator KEEFFE -Thank you, Mr Deputy President. Is the Minister aware that the Queensland Bar is watching this development with very grave interest as what originally appeared to be a serious rumour has now been virtually confirmed by three different sources? Can the Minister inform the Parliament whether it is right that the independence of the judiciary should be dissipated in this way and whether there is any way in which he can take action to ensure that the Premier of Queensland causes an immediate announcement to be made that a District Court judgeship will not be used as a political reward?

Senator MURPHY - I am not aware of any of the facts to which the honourable senator refers and in any event they are not matters within the competence of this Parliament or my Ministry. I would think they were entirely matters for the State of Queensland and the people of Queensland.

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