Brandis Fails To Appoint Federal Circuit Court Judge In Northern Tasmania

Labor holds serious concerns about the failure of the Abbott-Turnbull Government to announce a replacement for a Federal Circuit Court Judge in North and North West Tasmania who is due to retire before the July 2 election.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

JUSTINE KEAY
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRADDON

ROSS HART
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BASS


BRANDIS FAILS TO APPOINT FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE IN NORTHERN TASMANIA

 

Labor holds serious concerns about the failure of the Abbott-Turnbull Government to announce a replacement for a Federal Circuit Court Judge in North and North West Tasmania who is due to retire before the July 2 election.

 

Justice Stuart Roberts, who currently services Launceston and Burnie, is due to retire in June.

 

With caretaker period now in place, no further appointments can be made without consultation with Labor. If this does not occur, the people of Tasmania will be left without the full complement of judges they need.

 

This could create a massive backlog in cases, similar to what we have already seen in New South Wales where George Brandis left judge positions vacant for months.

 

This delay means people in Launceston and Burnie could be forced to travel to Hobart to have cases heard, a registry which is already overworked and under-resourced. It’s not right.

 

Justice Roberts is retiring because he has reached the mandatory retirement age – this should not have been a surprise to George Brandis. A replacement should have been found months ago.

 

This is particularly inexplicable since George Brandis appointed four judges to the Family Court, Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory just days before the election was called.

 

Why was Tasmania left out? Is Tasmania this far down on the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s priority list?

 

Federal Member for Braddon Brett Whiteley and Attorney-General George Brandis have unequivocally promised the people of Tasmania that a replacement judge would be appointed before Justice Roberts retired.

 

On Tasmanian local radio in March, George Brandis said:

 

“I can assure you and I can guarantee your listeners that Judge Roberts will be replaced and that replacement will be announced and be in a position to take over from Judge Roberts in June.”

  • LAFM Radio, 2 March 2016

 

There is only one conclusion to draw - George Brandis and Brett Whiteley have lied to the people of North and North West Tasmania.

 

Labor understands the needs of Tasmanians, and calls on the Government to immediately consult with us about the appointment of a replacement judge during the caretaker period. This is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately.

 

If no action is taken, that will tell Tasmanians all they need to know about the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s attitude to their state.

WEDNESDAY, 11 MAY 2016