In Legal Affairs

Victoria Shadow Attorney General Robert Clark

Brumby Govt Backs Down On Arrogant Plan To Axe JP’s

Victor P Taffa

Victoria Premier John Brumby has been forced to back down on his arrogant plan to abolish the office of Justice of the Peace after a strong campaign by JPs, community organisations and the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition.

However Labor has not ruled out threatening the standing and independence of JPs through the introduction of a five-year term of office, with any extensions apparently to be decided by the Attorney-General or public servants in secret.

When Attorney-General Rob Hulls announced his review on 18 June last year, he signalled that he was moving to abolish JPs, saying: ‘It is open to debate whether there is still a need for Justices of the Peace in the 21st century’ and suggesting JPs were not needed because documents could be witnessed by other professions under the Evidence Act.




This move was condemned at the time by the Coalition because it would cost the community untold hours of dedicated and valuable community service and chew up the precious time of people such as pharmacists and Police.

“Abolishing JPs would waste the time of frontline Police, who would spend countless hours witnessing documents when they should be on the street trying to stem Victoria’s rising tide of violent crime.” Shadow Attorney-General Robert Clark said today.

“The Attorney-General originally planned to axe the office of JP because he had been caught out either appointing or failing to remove Labor Party flunkies who did not deserve to be JPs.”

“Labor’s backdown is welcome, but it is shameful that it has taken until now for the Brumby Government to agree to provide the training and support which JPs have been seeking for years.”

“The Coalition will also be vigilant against Labor trying to make good on its threat to remove JPs from office without good reason or independent safeguards.” Mr. Clark said.

The general public should rightly condemn the actions of Government when Minister’s act in such a way that arrogance overtakes judgement.

Systems of administration have been tried and tested and to simply want to change for change’s sake is ill conceived and a retrograde step.

Checks and balances are in place to protect the public against the power of Government and bureaucracy.

Many countries around the world have dictatorships where ordinary citizens are executed. It is for this reason why so many people come to Australia in search of peace and freedom.

An out of touch Government should be reminded as to why we have a Judiciary that is Independent and the Office of Justice of the Peace is not to be interfered with.


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