I am deeply disappointed with the majority decision of the Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee to scrap yesterday afternoon’s hearing with Chief Justice Bryant and Chief Judge Pascoe at the eleventh hour.
The decision demonstrates outrageous disrespect to our chief judicial officers and blatant disregard for parliamentary processes and the important work of this inquiry into family violence and the law.
Chief Judge Pascoe and Chief Justice Bryant are two of Australia’s most eminent legal minds who have appeared before multiple parliamentary inquiries and agreed to attend this one.
The Chair has pointed to concerns about potential issues regarding Separation of Powers given the recent legal proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court. I have seen no evidence to legitimise these concerns.
I can’t understand why the judges are now being silenced, but it’s clear to me that we don’t have the whole story.
Why was it fine to advertise the judges’ appearance in a media release that went out at 4pm on Monday, but later that night the hearing was untenable?
Are Government members concerned about what the Chief Judge and Chief Justice might say?
Are they worried about being exposed for failing to properly resource our courts or their flimsy cross examination laws not standing up to scrutiny?
Or are they worried about how their own party members might behave?