By Kyran O’Dwyer
Apparently, Peter Dutton got some legal advice and it’s causing some consternation.
By way of disclosure, I have the attention span of a gnat. Gnat, as in “a small two-winged fly that resembles a mosquito”, not “one who would ever countenance voting for the gNats”. It should also be noted that “Gnats include both biting and non-biting forms.” Before you start in on me, I mean no disrespect to gnats. I’m sure the ‘non-bitey’ ones are most pleasant insects, notwithstanding their poor attention span and annoying behaviour. As for gNat voters, I mean no disrespect, when contempt and disdain will suffice. Have a look at the gNat’s team and tell me I’m wrong.
I would defy anyone to produce one example from that list that could be described as ‘meritorious’, when even describing them as mediocre is a huuuuuge stretch. Big mouthed failures. Apologists for appalling behaviour. Anyone who declares themselves by title as ‘Honourable’ when their actual behaviour, their deeds, are the very epitome of dishonourable, is beyond galling. It merits no response other than contempt, derision and disdain. Why would you treat their supporters, their enablers, any differently?
By now, you may accept my point about my attention span. I started on Peter Dutton, then ended up apologising to insects. That’s before drawing any inference that Duddo is, in fact, a ‘closet gNat’, one of the ‘bitey’ type.
Anyway, Duddo allegedly got ‘legal advice’, which he won’t show but asks us to trust him that it is, in fact, legal advice and it says what he says it says and it says that what he says is right. I think that’s the gist of it. It is likely the same legal advice he used for court cases revoking citizenship, cases granting citizenship, cases seeking extradition, cases denying benefits, cases denying cases. I’ve never heard of the ACME Legal Company Inc and was surprised that a federal government could utilise such a service but, hey, it’s Duddo. Surprises are no longer surprising. This is likely the same advice he is using in defence of Sect 44 claims against his entitlement to sit.
My initial reaction was to write to the various legal bodies, the Law Institutes and Bar Associations, demanding they conduct immediate enquiry to ‘out’ these purveyors of wisdom allegedly informing Duddo. Such people should never be allowed anywhere near The Law. Then I recalled the number of times this ‘thing’ Duddo has cited having had legal advice and, when the full tragedy plays out, it becomes apparent that his legal advice is a work of fiction. It doesn’t exist. He has none. He lied.
Think about it just a little and it becomes crystal clear exactly what we are dealing with here. Duddo not only has no respect for the law, he holds it in contempt. He is on record saying that he is sick of being told what to do by the Courts. His departments have, for years, used the legal process to delay cases going before a court or tribunal in the hope the claimant will capitulate and go away. In those instances where they don’t, nearly every single case has been settled on the doorsteps in a blatant attempt to avoid scrutiny and disclosure of his debased behaviour in a court. Even class actions in the tens of millions of dollars get settled BEFORE hearings commence.
On the 14th June, 2017, “The Hon barf Peter Dutton MP” released a statement:
“To date Australian taxpayers have paid more than $13.7 billion to clean up Labor’s loss of control of our borders.
Today another $90 million was added to that bill with the settlement of the Manus class action.”
Now, you have to bear in mind this fool has an army of spin doctors, media advisers and lawyers at his disposal. Whilst we can attempt to gather information through the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner with a view to verifying his claims, this fool’s government has been waging war on information since 2015.
We will likely never find out if ‘little costs’, like the $78mill spent on transporting asylum seekers, are part of his mathematical genius and a Labor induced cost. You’d think with all of that at his disposal, just one of his staff would have pointed out to this indescribable fool that his government has been occupying that space since 18th September, 2013. If they have been in the chair since 2013 and problems from 2013 are still ongoing, what the f#ck have these fools been doing?
His 2017 statement goes on to explain, in details that would perplex both Lewis Carroll and his juvenile creation, Alice, how his mind numbing incompetence is everyone else’s fault.
“Sadly, due to Labor’s failed border policies, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is the most litigated department of the Commonwealth.
Currently there is a caseload of almost 5,800 legal matters afoot. DIBP’s legal expenditure in 2015-16 totalled more than $72 million.”
Nothing, absolutely nothing, this fool says can withstand the most cursory appraisal, let alone scrutiny. DIBP didn’t even exist when Labor was last in office. The vast majority of the 5,800 cases are due to his changes to the application process and time frame for seeking TPV’s and SHEV’s. He is lauded as a poster boy for potential PM by a MSM that wonders why its credibility is shot. His ministerial abilities are seriously curtailed by his laziness and stupidity. His early ministries are best summed up by his award as ‘Worst Health Minister Ever’.
“Dutton will be remembered as the dullest, least innovative and most gullible for swallowing the reforms from his think tank … Although I am glad he has been demoted, it would have been good if he was still around to take responsibility for the current chaos he has caused.”
Given the predecessors and successors in that portfolio, the achievement can never be overstated.
The only explanation for this fools ‘success’ lies with ‘Peter’s Puppeteer’, Michael Pezzullo, who is equally renowned for his contempt of the rules and due process. If you do a search on ‘michael pezzullo senate estimates’ you will get the drift. A veteran 30 year bureaucrat, he first advanced the super ministry theory in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
The rest, as they say, is history. Having found a gutless PM and a stupid minister, he created a portfolio where the only assurance offered was ‘trust me’, such was the removal of oversight, let alone rigorous oversight.
He hasn’t finished yet. Pezzullo wants to broaden his powers and co-opt international agencies.
Pezzullo’s good fortune in finding a lazy imbecile of such immense proportion and a government of equally monumental incompetence comes at a cost. Our freedoms. Our rights.
There is no cause for concern for Duddo, though. His monetary worth, as opposed to his value, is testament to the opportunities afforded by negative gearing and capital gains concessions, if not government subsidy through childcare. An obscenity, given his consideration of children across the country and in our gulags. Undoubtedly, his ministerial salary, limitless expenses and generous superannuation provisions haven’t troubled his bank accounts.
Even if the good people of Dickson throw this fool out, his financial future is assured. Guestimates range from $10-20mill and climbing, most of it accruing during his tenure as a representative of the good people of Dickson.
That is not to say Duddo isn’t without purpose. There is a search facility on this venerable site, on the right hand side, about half way down the ‘Home Page’, just below the main banner. If you put in those magic words, Peter Dutton, you will see he has been the subject of dozens of articles by numerous writers for years now. Just in the past few days, more were added. Whilst I’m always happy to be corrected and my ‘inspection’ was only cursory, none appear to be complimentary. His purpose? Ridicule. Derision. Contempt. Disgust. Condemnation. Such things have to be directed somewhere and this asshole seems the natural repository for the inevitable suppository.
But that wasn’t the point of my rant, which appears to underscore my poor attention span. Peter Dutton’s legal advice. My first instinct was that this was some sort of joke, like ACME Legal Company Inc. One of those sad, unfunny jokes, like ‘black humour’ or ‘gallows humour’, underwritten by bitter, brutal irony. Assuming there is ‘legal advice’ and this imbecile could read, what sort of lawyer would debase themselves to such an extent they would take him as a client?
That got me to messing about on this internetty thingy about ‘lawyer jokes’. One of them had a caveat at the start.
“But just a warning – by the end of this list you may get the impression that lawyers aren’t the most popular people on earth, but we knew that already, right?”
One of its samples:
“At a convention of biological scientists, one researcher remarks to another, “Did you know that in our lab we have switched from mice to lawyers for our experiments?” “Really?” the other replied, “Why did you switch?” “Well, for three reasons. First we found that lawyers are far more plentiful, second, the lab assistants don’t get so attached to them, and thirdly there are some things even a rat won’t do.”
Having spent more time than I should amusing myself at the reputational expense of lawyers, I came across a RN ‘Law Report’ article by Damien Carrick:
“A Dublin solicitor died penniless and his colleagues chipped in for the funeral. The Lord Chief Justice was asked to contribute. ‘What? Only a shilling?’ he says, ‘Here’s a guinea; bury 20 of them’.”
“Q: What do lawyers use as contraceptives? A: Their personalities.”
Christopher Pyne is quoted telling the mice joke described above, only he characterises them as rats. Whether he was being self-deprecating or is merely envious of rats is unclear.
Tee hee. Then there was one that wasn’t funny as it tied together several matters that hadn’t been initially apparent. Politicians, legal advice, law, even comedy.
“What do you call a lawyer who’s gone bad? The answer: Senator.”
The rest of the article has much insight about lawyers and the law, how poorly they are perceived and how much of that is due to their actual behaviour, rather than a perception about their behaviour. They invariably operate within a system of their own design, built around hair splitting, weasel words, obfuscation, avoidance, exceptions and unbelievable complications. The jokes are merely the manifestation of the perception as a reality.
“Professor Galanter says the most enduring themes around the profession are that lawyers are slippery with language, greedy and self-serving. But since the 1980s, in the wake of financial scandals, political shenanigans and an explosion in civil litigation, some jokes levelled at lawyers have become vicious and sometimes outright vilifying. It has become politically correct to have a go at lawyers.”
That paragraph seemed to paraphrase all that is wrong. The system they are a part of is frequently vicious and often vilifies people, using slippery language, aka weasel words, to reinforce the objectives of greed and self service. When they become recipients of the treatment they advocate, it is different. Huh?
“’What do you call 6,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea? A good start.’ Now that particular joke, and many of these jokes, were racist jokes aimed at blacks or other groups, and were switched to lawyers, which is very unusual.”
There is no suggestion in the article that 6,000 blacks at the bottom of the sea was funny, any more than lawyers suffering the same fate. Yet the sub-groups being interchangeable is ‘very unusual’. Maybe I read it wrong, but it seemed the objection was to the association with blacks rather than their shared fate.
An interchange in the article went some way to explaining not just a legal process evolving within a society that was also evolving, but how the over complication undermined faith in the system it was meant to enhance. ‘The system’ became more important than the people it was designed to protect and serve.
“Anita Barraud: You’ve made a point that the more virulent attacks started as a wave in the 1980s, which of course was a period of great sort of economic turbulence, and there was a lot of litigation, a lot of lawyers fell by the wayside in terms of company scandals and what-have-you, but it also was the lawyers that actually brought them out of it, and actually sought justice.
Marc Galanter: We had a period in the United States from the time of the Second World War, through into the 1970s, a great expansion of rights and remedies and legal protections, and that of course involved a great deal more regulation. And for the managers and authorities of society, they found a lot of new exposure, a lot of new accountability being imposed on them, which they very much resented. You see this very much in medical malpractice litigation, you see it in products liability litigation, you see it in civil rights.
Anita Barraud: This is the McDonald’s hot coffee splashes and all of those notions of ‘So, sue me’, all of that kind of thing that has developed since then.
Marc Galanter: Well there certainly was an increase in the sort of remedies and protections for ordinary people. Correspondingly, there was an increase in the kind of legal exposure of people who were running things, and they resented this very much, and then what you got in the ’70s in the U.S. there was a great collapse of confidence in government, having to do with the Watergate scandal, and the Vietnam war, people’s sense that the government was capable of doing good things, that plummeted. And as it plummeted, people became much more sceptical about law, the whole major part of the legal establishment in the United States began to feel that things were kind of over-extended, the courts were taking on too much, so there was a kind of great turn, a swerve away from this expansive period.
Anita Barraud: The notion that there were too many lawyers, too many laws, and that the world had been too legalised, and therefore it had somehow diminished justice. It bred an unnatural justice in a way.
Marc Galanter: Yes, and I think this recoil against legalisation has been very powerful. Now of course the legalisation has continued. The amount of regulation, the number of lawyers, all these things have continued to increase, but people no longer feel good about them, and there’s a lot of resentment I would say, among top people and among ordinary people, at least a kind of scepticism about legal remedies and so forth, so that although we promise all kinds of remedies and protections to ordinary people, they often find that they’re really not able to get access to them. So there’s a sense I think, a widespread sense of disappointment about what the law has been able to deliver. As I say, this kind of consternation about law which came on the scene say in the late ’70s, early ’80s, and it seemed to be the change in the tone of lawyer jokes and their prominence, is part of this wider movement.”
There is much in that and there is much left out, lawyer jokes and the motivation for telling them aside. Unpicking the differences between; civil rights and the need to protect them; corporate crime and the need to prosecute it; consumer law and the constraints of malpractice/product liability provisions; and so on, is not the issue. It is the nonsensical suggestion that too many rules led to too many convictions, which led to a break down in public trust in institutions.
This is the same argument Morrison ran when declining to hold a RC into banks. If we have a RC and find bad stuff, people won’t trust the banks.
By the time the 70’s and 80’s had revealed global systemic abuses throughout numerous areas in societies, lawyers had already worked out that the more complicated you make the legal structure, the more you restrict its operation. It wasn’t the creation of an egalitarian legal doctrine that caused the plethora of legal jokes. It was the creation of two tier legal systems that precluded many people from accessing them that caused the problems, and far better explains why the jokes took a malicious turn.
Most good laws are relatively simple. Most bad laws are complicated and onerous.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is good law.
If you read through that, it is noticeable that it doesn’t contain exemptions, or exclusions, or limits, or distinctions, or qualifications. It doesn’t say that one child deserves different or better protections than another child. It doesn’t say one racial group deserves considerations over all others. It doesn’t say one religion and, therefore, its followers, deserve primacy over another. It reinforces the notion that if you attack one component of society, you undermine the validity of all components. That it became bogged down in systems created to permit such distractions is where the lawyers got a bad name. It was framed in 1948 and may be what Mr Galanter was referring to when he states;
“We had a period in the United States from the time of the Second World War, through into the 1970s, a great expansion of rights and remedies and legal protections, and that of course involved a great deal more regulation.”
It wasn’t the Declaration that caused the problem, it was the abuses inflicted upon it by governments trying to restrict, not enhance, its operation.
If you think about the purpose and operation of Australia’s tax laws, one of the most complicated systems on the planet, it is easy pickings for such an argument. The more complicated the structure, the more restricted the access, the more privileged the beneficiaries of the system are. That it was largely designed by the same Big 4 accounting firms who advise their clients on where the loopholes are is merely salt for a very tender wound.
Our education system is another example of a delivery system having assumed importance over its purpose – delivering education to our youth. Health? Our unemployed?
At the end of the day, we now have systems where the spirit or intent of any law becomes secondary to the system of delivery, which is invariably administered by corporations.
In the article, there are several occupations mentioned that seem to attract people with legal qualification, referred to as “lawyers-turned-politicians, lawyers-turned-broadcasters, lawyers-turned-comedians, and even learned professors.”
In the comedian section, Shaun Micallef is mentioned, Paul McDermott is not. From another article:
“A staggering 47% of Australian comedians have either studied or practised law.”
There is a chart in that link that explains the correlation between the skill sets of lawyers and comedians, which is informative. And then there’s that nasty joke that set me off on this distraction – the number of lawyers who ‘went bad’ by going into politics. Given the past few decades, how is that going for us?
“Once upon a time, so the story goes, the fence broke down between Heaven and Hell. St Peter appeared at the broken section of the fence and called out to the Devil, ‘Hey, Satan, it’s your turn to fix it this time’. ‘Sorry’, replied the boss of the lower regions, ‘my men are too busy to go about fixing a mere fence’. ‘Well then,’ scowled St Peter, ‘I’ll have to sue you for breaking our agreement’. ‘Oh yeah?’ echoed the Devil, ‘where are you going to get a lawyer?’ ”
We put so many lawyers in parliament, a veritable ‘hell on earth’, and then expect them to do our bidding. Silly us.
When we entrench legal systems that not only support but promote a two tier structure, two sets of rules applied disproportionately to two sets of constituents, we know it will end badly. When we entrench legal systems that put more value on the method of delivery than the purpose of delivery, a tearful ending is all but guaranteed.
Expecting lawyers to be the solution to the problem they created would be like expecting a dullard, an imbecile like Duddo, to awaken one morning having experienced an epiphany and recant all of his wrongdoings.
There is an old joke about the lawyer, the engineer and the prostitute in heavy discussion about which was the oldest profession. The prostitute declared that, when society evolved from the chaotic to the more orderly, prostitution was established as a profession, giving comfort to those who would otherwise not experience it. The engineer thought for a while, then declared that it was the engineers who enabled the transition from chaotic, haphazard structures to collaborative efforts, enabling order to be brought to the chaos through valuable infrastructure, which benefited agriculture and commerce.
The lawyer had remained quiet throughout, sitting back smugly with his arms folded. After a few minutes silence, he leaned forward to his friends and simply said “Who do you think created the chaos?”
Another link had many witty pithy contributions broken into sections. From its ‘Ethics’ section, which was unsurprisingly brief, given the loose connections between law, ethics and humour, was this:
“While a doctor, priest and lawyer were out at sea fishing their rowboat sprung a leak. The doctor said, “We’re sinking, someone will have to swim to shore.” No sooner had he said that and a school of sharks began circling the boat. The priest said, “Well, I’ve had a good life, I’ll jump over board.” But the lawyer wouldn’t hear of it, jumped overboard and began swimming toward the shore. As the doctor and priest rowed to shore they were amazed. Instead of attacking the lawyer the sharks made a gauntlet each side of the lawyer as he swam to the shore. The priest proclaimed, “It’s a miracle.” The doctor said, “No, I don’t think so, it’s just professional courtesy.””
As for the judiciary, it was an interesting conflation of self serving ambition, opportunism and populism that got my limited attention.
“Two Magistrates, having become lightly inebriated together one Friday evening, were promptly arrested by an unsuspecting police officer who had just arrived in town to enforce the law. All parties were embarrassed when the facts emerged. However, the question of bail was not in issue, since each of these gentlemen, with a stroke of the legal pen, granted the other co-offender bail on the condition that he would appear in the Magistrates Court on the following Monday morning.
On the Monday morning the question arose, who should sit on the bench first. “I will,” said the first gentleman of the law, hoping that he could set a precedent for his brother magistrate. “This is a serious matter, this drunkenness in a public place,” he said. “However, as this is your first offence, I shall treat the matter with a degree of leniency and place you on a good behaviour bond.” He then stepped down from the bench and took his turn standing in the dock.
His brother magistrate, with whom he had previously been imbibing, stepped up and sat on the bench. “There is a prevalence of this type of offence coming before the courts, and something must be done about it. Why, this is the second example of such behaviour that the court has had to listen to this morning. Fined $ 100.00.””
The article cited from RN is from 2006. While reading the article was amusing, it struck me that people get law degrees, spend some time practicing law and then, at some point, choose one of three career paths. The judiciary, politics or comedy. One particular comment highlights the equation, the relativity, of qualified lawyers in parliament who debased the profession from which they arose.
“Ysaiah Ross: Yes, I think there’s some truth about that. The fact that lawyers are in people’s minds all the time is probably very good for the profession, it probably generates more business. The Howard government, its Cabinet has more lawyers than any other Cabinet in the history of any Australian government. And it’s also the one which is least responsible for human rights. I find that very strange.”
Here we are, more than a decade later, with a parliament full to overflowing with tertiary qualifications. The abundance of lawyers is staggering, as is their mediocrity. It is the most unfunny ‘lawyer joke’ ever told, against which Duddo’s legal advice pales into insignificance.
This is not intended as a declaration of war on tertiary qualification, any more than it may be construed as a blanket condemnation of the profession. The disjointed and rambling nature of my commentary is testament to the benefit of such training, as I have none.
“A broad definition of crime in England is that it is any lower-class activity which is displeasing to the upper class. Crime is committed by the lower class and punished by the upper class.”
What these people just don’t understand is that they are there to serve us. Any other consideration is untenable. Their holding of tertiary qualification should enhance that capacity, not limit it. It’s time to stop this nonsense of the tail wagging the dog.
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