LNP looks to beef up role of JPs
THE HUMBLE Justice of the Peace could be in for a promotion.
The deputy leader of the LNP, Lawrence Springborg, proposed an extension of the powers of the JP at the weekend Queensland Justices Association Annual Conference held at Hervey Bay RSL.
Keynote speaker Mr Springborg launched an LNP Discussion Paper seeking views on the roles and numbers of JPs in the community.
“We want to hear Queenslanders' views on if JPs should sit in judgement on public nuisance and other minor offences.
“This is already happening in indigenous and remote communities in our state and could help to ease the burden on our busy magistrates court.
“It's important that all Queenslanders have confidence in our justice system, which is why we are seeking a review of the role of JPs.”
The idea was met with provisional approval from long-time Hervey Bay JP Ken Stumer.
“The system is now clogged up so much, hearings are being deferred for months and months,” the Kawungan resident said.
“Because of my age I would not be interested in the role, but I think the new generation of JPs coming on board could definitely play a part.
“I think it is a feasible proposal, but one where you would have to tread very carefully.”
A JP for 40 years, he recalled how “honourable” individuals were selected in the past to deal with “minor and trivial” offences.
He argued that the commonsense part of the JP role should never be lost underneath a barrage of qualifications.
Saturday's conference also covered issues like elder abuse, interviewing minors, the preparation and execution of child safety documents and the JP's role in the operation of the Mental Health Act.
“Queensland's JPs deal with hundreds of thousands of community legal matters each year on behalf of the government and provide an invaluable service that saves Queensland taxpayers billions of dollars each year through their volunteer legal work,” Mr Springborg said.