OPEN LETTER TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL NICOLA ROXON

by Peter Magee on June 6, 2012

Peter Magee

RE: CHANGE TO NAME OF FEDERAL MAGISTRATES COURT

Dear Ms Roxon,

On 19 March 2012 this firm published in our blog my open letter to you, in which I accused your Government of exacerbating delays in the federal Family Law Courts system, by adding to its jurisdiction, without increasing its funding.

The Family Law Courts system, including the Federal Magistrates Court, is one of the Court systems that touches the lives of the greatest number of Australians, including children. Notwithstanding the significant reach and importance of the Family Law Courts system, it is under-funded, under-resourced and over-worked. This results in considerable delays in the Courts system, which have a direct negative impact on the families, including children, caught up in family law litigation. The under-resourcing and over-work also places considerable strain on Family Court Judges and Federal Magistrates Court Magistrates, as well as Registrars and staff employed in both Courts.

I am, therefore, appalled, that, rather than addressing the very pressing funding needs of the Family Law Courts system, you instead have decided to spend time and resources considering and consulting in relation to changing the name of the Federal Magistrates Court and the title of its Magistrates. While I do not mean to imply that Federal Magistrates Court Magistrates may not deserve a different title, it does seem to me that changing the Court’s name and the title given to its Magistrates will not address any of the pressing problems faced by the Family Law Courts system. Indeed, I suspect that the changes you are now considering will not make any real difference at all.

Really, Ms Roxon, is that sort of “window dressing” the best you can do?

Yours faithfully,

Elizabeth Rusiti

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