THE PEAK body representing women lawyers across Australia last week presented a list of outstanding women to the federal Attorney-General for consideration for the forthcoming High Court appointment.
Although unwilling to reveal the women’s names, Australian Women Lawyers (AWL) president Noor Blumer told Lawyers Weekly the list included only outstanding women. No men were recommended by the association.
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock is said to have welcomed the input from AWL. He had previously expressed concerns that the more publicity there is about appointing women in the High Court, the more difficult it will be for the ultimate appointee, of either gender. Although AWL shares this concern, it said it would not deter from promoting the appointment of a woman to that position.
Any appointment to the High Court generates controversy, Blumer suggested, whether regarding gender, state of origin or for other reasons.
Blumer said she was confident that while the Attorney has emphasised the importance of merit, his record of appointment of women and his high opinion of the “pool of suitable women” bodes well for the future.
The list, which includes women who were not consulted by the AWL before they were recommended, was presented on a confidential basis to the Attorney. The names are known only to AWL president Blumer and the Attorney, and were provided by state and territory member organisations of AWL.