Published by Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell MP
Long-serving South Australian Justices of the Peace (JPs) will be honoured with special awards ahead of the national average if Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell succeeds in a push to officially recognise the valuable service the community volunteers provide.
In a motion to State Parliament this week, Mr Bell called on the Attorney General to formally recognise those JPs who have completed 15 and 25 years of service with a locally designed medal.
Mr Bell said the idea originated from retired Mount Gambier JP Garry von Stanke, who carried out the role for 23 years.
“Garry is just one of the thousands of JPs across South Australia that have performed and continue to perform a valuable community service,” he said.
“Like all volunteer work, the people who actively take the time to devote a large portion of their lives to this role deserve some recognition for their continued service.”
Although the Royal Association of Justices of South Australia award certificates to members every decade, roughly 60 per cent of the state’s JPs do not belong to the association.
Mr Bell said South Australia should lead the way in implementing awards for 15-years of service to all JPs who demonstrated commitment to the role.
“Fifteen years is a significant time period and I believe a small, yet important token of thanks would be much appreciated by those who perform this service and it may also inspire people to consider taking up the role earlier in life.”
Mr von Stanke said most JPs only begin the role in later years, meaning long service awards were out of reach.
“There’s so many people who have been JPs for forty-plus years who have never received any recognition,” he said.
“Many JPs do it out of the goodness of their heart and spend a lot of time and effort doing the job properly, even travelling out to people who can’t come to them.”
Mr von Stanke has designed a special service medal for the awards, featuring the scales of justice and colours significant to South Australia’s floral emblem – Sturt’s Desert Pea.
Mr Bell said he understood the time commitment and dedication required for the role as two of his staff members had elected to become JPs.
“My office sees around 200 constituents a month seeking the services of the two JPs on staff,” he said.
“Being a good JP also requires keeping up-to-date with training and I thank Royal Association of Justices of South Australia members John Amoroso and Michael Bleby, for regularly providing training to the many JPs throughout the Limestone Coast.”
In his speech, Mr Bell also mentioned the more than 30 years of JP duties carried out by Mount Gambier’s Jim Galpin, currently in his eighties, who continues to serve as a JP at the Mount Gambier Library on weekdays.
“People like Jim Galpin and Garry von Stanke, who have tirelessly served their communities for years, deserve some recognition and I’m happy to support Garry’s idea and bring it to the attention of State Parliament.”