Brandis Must Stop Playing Political Games With Our Courts

Attorney-General George Brandis has once again demonstrated his utter disrespect for Australia’s justice system, pretending for the second time to appoint a new judge to a marginal Liberal seat when in fact a transfer has taken place, leaving the families in another district to wait even longer for justice.

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

GRAHAM PERRETT
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
MEMBER FOR MORETON

 

BRANDIS MUST STOP PLAYING POLITICAL GAMES WITH OUR COURTS

Attorney-General George Brandis has once again demonstrated his utter disrespect for Australia’s justice system, pretending for the second time to appoint a new judge to a marginal Liberal seat when in fact a transfer has taken place, leaving the families in another district to wait even longer for justice.

On the weekend Senator Brandis finally announced a replacement judge for Launceston in the marginal seat of Bass.

This came a week after four other judges were announced for other cities, with no reason given for the strange delay.

Hidden unacknowledged in the announcement of the Launceston judge is the fact that Judge Terence McGuire’s transfer from Melbourne to North West Tasmania will in fact leave the busy Melbourne registry one judge down.

It had already taken three months for Senator Brandis to address an existing vacancy in the Melbourne registry, following the untimely death of Judge Domenica Whelan in February.

This is not the first time that Senator Brandis has shown contempt for the courts and the communities that rely on them, and shown an astonishing willingness to use judicial appointments as political footballs.

In March, Judge Anne Demack was appointed as Federal Circuit Court Judge in the desperately under-resourced district of Rockhampton after many months of lobbying. Rockhampton is in the marginal Liberal seat of Capricornia.

But Judge Demack was a transfer from the Brisbane registry, itself overwhelmed with cases, leaving another community in need without the full complement of judges they need, to suit the Turnbull Government’s political agenda.

Judges are not political playthings to be used in the pursuit of electoral advantage. If the courts were properly resourced by the Abbott-Turnbull Government, there would be no question of taking away judges from one registry to give to another.

All courts should have the resources they need to fully service their communities.

Our justice system is too important to leave to Senator Brandis. Only Labor will treat our justice system and courts with the respect they deserve.

MONDAY, 16 MAY 2016