South Australian Employment Tribunal (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

I thank speakers who have made a contribution to this debate, in particular the opposition representative for their indication of support for the passage of the bill. There are a couple of things I would like to place on the record. Firstly, the Law Society of South Australia, in particular its president, Mr Tim Mellor, provided some significant advice about this matter. I place it on the record because, although we are not following it, it is a body of work that will need to be done.

His suggestion, on behalf of the Law Society, was that, rather than deal with this way of managing the issue, we should rewrite the legislation in respect of the body of work done by the tribunal, in particular to re-establish the state Employment Court. Obviously, this would require considerable redrafting of the SAET Act and an extensive institutional reorganisation of SAET.

I have commented in this house before about the need to properly recognise the fact that we have a tribunal that has a court function and a tribunal function. It has had aggregate responsibilities transferred to it. It is populated by District Court judges, who are called deputy presidents. In the sense of being a structure, it is a mess, and we need to clean it up. As Attorney-General, I can indicate that we are looking at that.

I am mindful of the fact that the parliament created the South Australian Employment Tribunal via the former attorney-general, and he modelled it to be an exact replica of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. He said at the time that it was done with the intention of ultimately amalgamating this jurisdiction across to what was to become the state administrative tribunal, and that did not happen. It was agreed that it stay separate. I think there were some good reasons for it to remain separate.

This is what happens when processes are undertaken and we end up with complications that then need remedying, such as when the High Court comes along and says there is a problem dealing with federal jurisdiction matters. I seek leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.