Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) – Mr President, the Greens are happy to support this bill. Many comments have been made on the values of increasing the retirement age for judges. It is something in which we are in good company. Ms Haddad, MP for Clark, just said New South Wales is currently the other Australian state that has raised the retirement age for judges to 75.
This is something the UK has done this year. I believe their increase went from 70 to 75 years. In 1995, they changed the retirement age for judges to 70. The arguments put forward in the UK for raising the age to 70 were that the average life expectancy in the male population had increased and that expertise and experience was being prematurely and needlessly lost in the justice system at one. when the judiciary was increasingly responsible for handling an additional number of cases.
Expertise gained at a later stage in a person’s career is extremely important. The more time you have behind the bench, the more experience you have, the more expertise you accumulate. It can be argued that you would expect better judgments from people at a later stage in their careers by experiencing time and watching different events unfold. They have gained a very important experience that you cannot hope to gain as a first year judge. It is a valuable resource for the community.
We are happy to support this extension. I believe the minister said we are working longer and older in general. This is true, but I want to stress that not everyone in the community is above the –
Mrs Archer – It is statistically that I referred. The statistic was that we are now – wasn’t it 81 or 84 or something like that?
Dr WOODRUFF – That is true. Apart from this question of justice, not everyone in the community is happy with the push to raise the retirement age in general, unless it is related to the age at which you can receive. old age pension. Just because we are living longer on average, it doesn’t necessarily follow that all work is the kind of work we should keep pushing back the retirement age.
For example, working in a physically demanding or emotionally very demanding job, perhaps as a nurse or working in construction or doing heavy manual care for a person, has an impact on a person. We have to make sure that we give people the opportunity to retire when they need it, when they have done a lot of service to the community and that we support them with the retirement pension. I know single people, often women in their 50s and 60s, who may find themselves forced to continue working because they simply cannot afford to do otherwise.
While the pension age continues to increase year by year, it is very difficult for some people in demanding jobs to continue working. A lot of the people I talk to in their late sixties are quite tired and are looking forward to retirement.
Judges in relation to other people in the community occupy a privileged position. They are privileged because of their income, education and ability. It is good that individual judges continue, if they wish, to continue working until the age of 75. It is obviously an advantage for us in Tasmania to have people with this expertise to be able to continue during those three precious additional years. This is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach to raising the retirement age in other areas. I look forward to it coming into effect as soon as it receives royal assent.