TRANSCRIPT - Newcastle Federal Circuit Court
24 August 2021
Newcastle has been left without a replacement judge in the federal Circuit Court. Last month, Judge Janet Terry was compelled to retire after reaching the mandatory age of retirement, leaving our region with just two Federal Court judges. This is the fourth time in eight years that Newcastle's been left short of judges by this Liberal government. The last time this happened, Novocastrians were forced to wait 19 months to have their cases heard in court. When I became aware of Judge Terry's pending retirement, I wrote to the Attorney-General to find out when we could expect our replacement judge this time. It's been nearly a month and I've not heard one word from the Attorney-General.
I've had a gutful of this government's inability to plan. We know that judges are compelled to retire at the age of 70. It almost beggars belief that you can't look at a calendar and plan ahead. The Morrison government has a responsibility to provide efficient and appropriate judicial and Federal Court services to Newcastle and our region. Given that so many of these cases involve the trauma of marital breakdown, domestic violence, drug abuse and child custody disputes, lives may be put at risk because of the Morrison government's sheer incompetence. With reports of retired Family Court judges being asked to return to the bench to get through the massive backlog of over seven thousand cases, the last thing the Hunter region needs is a judicial vacancy and unnecessary grief for families. It’s time to get this sorted Prime Minister. You’re the leader – take some responsibility for once.