It appears to have been a meteoric rise to into the magistrates seat
for Jacqueline Trad, who was only obtained her practising certificate
in December. That’s what the shock jocks and columnists would have you
believe.

Trad and three other women – Robyn Denes, Sharon Freund, Geraldine
Beattie – were welcomed as magistrates by the NSW Local Court
yesterday.

NSW Attorney General Bob Debus was yesterday forced to defend the
appointment of Trad, his ministerial adviser since 1999, after 2GB
broadcaster Ray Hadley took issue with the decision.

“She has been my adviser, I am entitled to have advisers of the highest quality, you would agree,” Debus told Hadley.

“She has been an adviser to the Chief Magistrates, she has worked as a
bail judge, she’s worked in other parts of the public service, she’s
got her actual legal qualifications the hard way.”

Perhaps it was that Trad saved the government some embarrassment from time to time.

State Law Society president June McPhie revealed at last week’s
ceremony that Trad’s colleagues “concur that you are an extremely
efficient operator – one who has even managed to convince the NSW
Government not to pursue some of its more outlandish proposals.”

Hadley noted Trad’s experienced paled to insignificance alongside the
three other appointees but his editorial yesterday bore a remarkable
resemblance to Akerman’s column
today, so either good ol’ Piers is moonlighting as Hadley’s producer or
Shock Central is colluding again to set the news agenda.

Then again, the fact that Akerman has spoken out against Trad’s appointment tends to indicate it’s a kosher decision.

He notes that Trad hasn’t yet worked as a solicitor and goes over her
public service experience spanning back to 1990, describing it as “a
rolled-gold record in the public service with zero experience in the
real world – the world magistrates have to deal with on a daily basis.”

But Debus’ spokesman Alex Cramb said Akerman’s spray is misleading.
“It’s typical Piers Akerman misinformation,” he told Crikey. Cramb said
it might be convenient to focus on Trad’s admission as a practitioner
only two months ago, but this was essentially a qualification obtained
by most fresh Law graduates in three months through the College of Law.

In fact, Trad had obtained her legal qualifications “the hard way”
through the Legal Profession Board nearly 10 years ago and had the benefit of
extensive practical experience since sitting for her certificate late
last year, he said.