Reports that Andrews Labor Government Minister and former Attorney-General, Martin Pakula, nominated his close long-time friend and political ally, Justice Steven Moore to become a Supreme Court judge in 2018 raises serious questions about the real and or perceived conflicts of interest surrounding judicial appointments under this Labor Government.
Irrespective of the qualifications and suitability of Justice Moore for the appointment, Minister Pakula failed to be publicly transparent during the selection and appointment process and disclose this very close, personal and political friendship.
Labor has made judicial appointments for 17 of the last 21 years in Victoria. The community has the right to expect that judicial appointments will be free of the perception of political influence.
The judicial appointments process vests enormous power and trust in the Attorney-General which creates an obligation to avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest.
By any measure, Martin Pakula has failed this test.
These revelations come at a time of intense scrutiny of our justice system following the High Court 7-0 unanimous decision to overturn the Victorian Court of Appeal in Pell.
Martin Pakula must answer the simple question of when and to whom did he declare this clear conflict of interest?