February 26, 2022


AWL’s Treasurer and Women Barristers Association of Victoria representative, Astrid Haban-Beer, recently spoke to the Australian Financial Review about the lack of women appointed to the bench in Victoria, and how this raises serious questions about the integrity of the judicial selection process.


“You’ve got women who are leading major class actions and tax matters and cartel matters and royal commissions,” Ms Haban-Beer said. “There’s such an amazing range of talent at that senior level who are working on federal court cases … and are leading industry and practice groups, it just doesn’t make sense that’s not translating at the bench level. ”Who is advising the AG on the Victorian appointments? It must be someone who is familiar and connected and within. Why does that advice hold particular sway? Why does that person get through? “I don’t think they’re saying women aren’t good enough, they’re just saying ‘we like our buddies better’…’Ms Haban-Beer said that if gender balance were considered, the outcome on the Victorian Federal Court would be different: “If gender diversity is taken into account, then why have you got no women appointed?” She said “it was not enough” to appoint women to junior courts as the Federal Court was more powerful and busier…Ms Haban-Beer warned without more equitable appointments, the Victorian Federal Court risked both a loss in public confidence and an exodus of
talent. ”It’s a public perception question. We’re missing out on people who can send a message to the community there is a judiciary that reflects, in part and more than it perhaps would, the people it looks over,” she said. “It also says to women that you can be a leading practitioner but there’s a glass ceiling when it comes to court appointments … and that discourages excellent women from aspiring to the height they should naturally rise to.”

You can read the complete article HERE.

Astrid Haban-Beer also recently joined Diana Bryant, former Chief Justice of the Family Court on ABC Radio to call for more women on the bench of the Federal Court.  You can listen to the interview HERE.