The state government has backed down on a bill that was aimed at suspending or sacking a judge accused of a criminal offence, and will instead suspend him via a motion in the chamber.
Attorney-General Guy Barnett on Friday said the draft Supreme Court (Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry) Bill 2023 would be set aside, and instead parliament will vote on December 12 on recommending suspending Supreme Court Justice Gregory Geason.
The judge has been on leave since November and is on bail facing charges of assault and emotional abuse.
Following consultation on the bill, Mr Barnett said he had decided against rushing through a bill that would have instigated a Commission of Inquiry to decide and recommend Justice Geason's fate, after concerns were raised by independents and outside stakeholders.
In a letter to the Department of Justice, Law Society President Julia Higgins said there were "serious concerns" that the bill would have tainted or prejudiced Justice Geason's criminal proceedings.
"Having regard to the significant defects in the Bill, the Law Society of Tasmania cannot support the Bill in its current form," Ms Higgins' letter read.
"The Society is concerned about the ability of the Commission to make findings of fact when the court process has not been completed and the possibility of inconsistent findings of fact.
"The outcome and any findings by the court in relation to these alleged offences must be relevant.
"The review should be deferred until that process is complete."
Independent Bass MHA Lara Alexander said she was also concerned that the bill was being debated in haste, with just days for members to absorb the ramifications.
Ms Alexander, who along with Nelson MLC Meg Webb, also said she was concerned about the one section of the bill that would have empowered the Attorney-General alone to recommend suspension of Justice Geason.
"In my view, suspension of Justice Geason should most appropriately be effected via a motion of both houses of Parliament, rather than providing a new and extraordinary power to the minister to trigger the suspension," Mrs Alexander said.
Mr Barnett said: "In light of the seriousness of the charges that Justice Geason is currently facing, it is appropriate that the judge be suspended.
"The government will continue to develop a bill to ensure that a mechanism to assist Parliament and the Governor to consider the serious matter of the fitness for office of a Judge of the Supreme Court can be brought before Parliament at an appropriate time in the future."