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Justices of the Peace Bill 2018

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Tags: Legislation

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Speaker, the Greens support this bill. It is an important modernisation of the laws around becoming a justice of the peace, which remains, in modern times, just as important as it did in earlier periods. I note from Ms Haddad's history that she spoke to the earlier use which was to preserve the king's peace. It was much more of an active involvement in maintaining the rule of the king's law and making sure places do not become too unruly.

We have since changed the use, as we have more police and other people who uphold the rule of law. It often provides a very personal way of people dealing with the administrative requirements of courts and other bodies that require official certification and all the other matters of complaints that justices of the peace are involved in.

Often, in my experience, in rural areas it can be a very supportive and personal way of undergoing those tasks. In our modern society, where much of the business of administration is done online with an automated voice or by clicking on the web, it is nice to have the opportunity to sit down and meet a person face to face and go through some of those administrative roles in person, which can frequently be about matters that might be highly emotional or stressful.

We support the purpose of the bill but we have a couple of questions for the minister. Minster, can you speak to the demographics of JPs in Tasmania? I would be interested to know what the gender and age balances are. With the clauses in here dealing with retirement age, where are we on the demographic curve? Are the majority of people in their thirties, forties and fifties? Are they all sitting close to the end what will now be a retirement period at 85 but starting to have two yearly reviews from 75? Can you speak to rural parts of Tasmania where the JPs society has its own web page? People can look up the Tasmanian Society for Justices of the Peace and find out where there is a person in their area? Is there any formal attempt made by the Department of Justice to fill the gaps if people move from areas or for whatever reason are no longer capable of filling that role, so we are actively promoting the uptake of people to those roles evenly across the state? They are the questions I had that are not related to the clauses of the bill.

We support the work the department has done and it looks very comprehensive and we are happy to support the bill.