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What's Wilson got in common with Bill Clinton

What's Margaret Wilson got in common with Bill Clinton?

Friday 17 Dec 2004

Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Crime & Justice

By using her expiring Attorney-General powers to promote unsuitable candidates, Speaker-designate Margaret Wilson raises memories of President Bill Clinton's last days, when he effectively pardoned a batch of crooked supporters, ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

Mr Franks was commenting on the appointment of Ms Jan Walker as a District and Family Court Judge.

"I am extremely reluctant to comment on a particular judicial appointment but if this one goes without criticism I would be complicit in encouraging Labour's next Attorney-General to politicise the judiciary with impunity.

"Most would-be judges take care in the years before appointment to show their capacity to be non-partisan. In appearances before the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, Ms Walker did exactly the opposite. She made a point of citing her political connections, and branding in political terms and dismissing without reflection, views she disagreed with. I was left with an impression that she lacked a capacity to understand different points of view.

"I am told by people without axes to grind that her rigid ideological insensitivity was a key reason for losing Timaru as a Labour Party candidate. These are not the right attributes for a judge.

"Ms Wilson has a record of poor appointments, among the latest being that of Ms Jacquie Grant to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, despite her obvious inability to grasp the centrality of tolerance - even of unpopular views.

"Perhaps Ms Walker has virtues that outweigh appearances. Even if that is the case, an Attorney-General with a commitment to upholding the standing of our courts would not have made an appointment that smacks of political cronyism," Mr Franks said.

ENDS


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