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The Brandis diaries

On Monday we will be treated to the theatre of the shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfuss, taking the Attorney-General’s department to the Court of Appeal over a denied freedom of information request regarding George Brandis’ diary for the first six months or so after the Coalition took office.

It appears Mr Dreyfuss wants to demonstrate that Mr Brandis did not consult with anyone about his new national security laws.

Brandis’ office has trotted out the most ridiculous excuses as to why they can’t release the diary under FOI, ranging from it would be too much work, to George’s safety being put at risk if people knew his movements, to some people maybe not wanting anyone knowing they met with George.

The whole thing is bizarre.

Why would Dreyfuss want to prove there was no consultation when his party have already passed the legislation? There may be more to come but surely they should have asked the interested parties’ opinions before they voted yes?

And the idea that knowing who George spoke to 2 years ago could lead to people knowing his travel patterns which “may increase the security threats relating to his personal safety” is ludicrous, as is the department’s assertion that it would take too much time. They have chosen to present a defence in court instead which one would imagine would require even more time.

Not to mention the cost.

Monday is also the day that the Federal Court will hand down its decision on the civil case mounted against Craig Thomson by the Fair Work Commission.

Senate Estimates recently revealed that the cost of this civil matter to the taxpayer thus far has been $4.1Million and as Wixxy points out, that does not include the cost of the criminal case, the police investigation that went for years, the FWA investigation that also went for years, the Senate Inquiry into the FWA investigation, and the KPMG report into the FWA investigation.

The courts have become the plaything of politicians where the cost of scoring political points seems irrelevant to them.

There is no question that our freedom of information is being eroded and must be addressed. Government secrecy is increasing rapidly with Ministers being given unilateral powers not subject to judicial oversight. The right of appeal is being removed in certain cases and security agencies are being given unprecedented protected powers.

As the government increasingly withdraws from transparency and accountability, shrouding their actions in secrecy, they are, at the same time, increasing their powers of surveillance over all of us and removing our rights through special detention and deportation laws.

If Dreyfuss was truly concerned, rather than wasting time and money, he would have voted against this erosion of human rights and done more to force the government to disclose what is being done in our name and to put the threat to national security into true perspective instead of encouraging the hyperbole.

 

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  1. John Fraser

    <

    The Special Minister of State should step in and show what Brandis is trying to conceal from the Australian public.

    Who is the "Special Minister of State" ?

    Why its none other than Mal "Jackie" Brough the master of concealment.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/new-special-minister-of-state-mal-brough-under-investigation-by-the-australian-federal-police-20150927-gjw2qg.html

    The more things change with the LNP and Labor the more they stay the same.

    Vote The Greens.

    John Fraser ….. Rome, Italy.

  2. Friday

    I am not sure whether brandis or fraser is the scarier. The former fools the 10% the libs need and the latter represents a 10% in search of 12.5%.
    Sadly little billy seems hell bent on supporting both endeavours.
    As for religious bigotry that is termed racism in the inept journalism of today.
    Abbott escaped any sustained attack on his religion because the opposition are of the same religion.
    The labor people like penny tonight have quietly pulled on the hookah pipes and developed a smiling stupor.

  3. Matters Not

    theatre of the shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfuss, taking the Attorney-General’s department to

    Attorney-General’s department? Not sure about the accuracy of that at both the ‘technical’ and the ‘actual/real’ level. From my reading, it’s Brandis (and his office) that are under the pump and not the Department as such. In my experience, ‘departments’ know very little of what actually goes on within ministerial offices. At best, they are given info on a ‘need to know’ basis. (There’s not a lot of trust between ministerial offices and Departments.) So it’s really down to Brandis whether he reveals or not.

    Ministerial diaries, on a day to day basis, are readily available to most (if not all who matter) within a well run ministerial office. Just ‘common sense’ that members of a team know who the minister will be meeting, for how long etc so that ‘briefings et al’ can be provided. So the ‘diaries’, stored on hard drives, can be recovered in seconds, even on a bad day.

    As to why the meeting should remain private is more problematic. Those who ‘meet’ will always have the opportunity under FOI to argue why they don’t want their identity revealed.

    Personally I wish Dreyfuss all the best. The more transparency the better.

    But the Department was probably the receiver of the application.

  4. Matters Not

    Off topic I know but here’s a bit of breaking news.

    Counsel assisting the trade union royal commission says he does not believe Opposition Leader Bill Shorten engaged in any unlawful conduct, following an inquiry into his dealings as head of the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

    The inquiry has been examining a number of workplace agreements made between the union and a number of companies.

    A statement released by counsel assisting the commission Jeremy Stoljar SC said there was “no submission” Mr Shorten engaged in criminal or unlawful conduct when he was at the AWU.

    A waste of money? But the political damage? Well that’s what it was all about. Wasn’t it? So, so a very expensive non-smear?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-06/no-submission-that-bill-shorten-engaged-in-criminal-conduct/6920804

  5. Matters Not

    Note also. If one wants to ‘kill’ a story (as much as possible), one releases same on a Friday night (as late as possible) with the journos in the pub and the Saturday headlines already written with the ‘night watch’ just on sentry duty.

    On the other hand if one wants a ‘headline’, then release on a Sunday afternoon. Almost guaranteed to get the headline in the morrow.

    Not that I am suggesting that the Royal Commission is ‘playing politics’. LOL.

    Clearly, it’s what it’s all about.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Yes MN, AG’s office is what I should have said. That’s interesting about the RC.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Whilst I agree we need more transparency from our government, I don’t understand what Dreyfuss’ action is meant to achieve. I saw him interviewed today and he said that interested parties had already told him that Brandis did not consult with them. Other than making George look bad, what’s the point?

    And as for releasing info late on a Friday is concerned, the MSM may be at the pub or asleep but social media works on a different cycle. The weekend is when a lot of people catch up on the news.

  8. Matters Not

    KL, I suspect on reflection that the FOI application probably came via the ‘department’ and your original statement is possibly ‘spot on’. (Must admit I am not across recent developments in that area).

    But I also suspect Dreyfus, being in that position of recent times, is across the ‘technical’ detail.

    I will watch with interest.

  9. madeleinekingston

    Thanks so much, Kaye Lee. I do not pretend to be across all the facts and arguments as yet. However many of the issues you raise in this blog resonate even with those reservations.

    To my way of thinking, Senator George Brandis is not in the category of Attorneys-General hat I would be comfortable with as an ordinary member of the electorate. Of course I realize that the Westminster system allows all kinds of political animals to decide who should represent the views of the electorate; how they should express those views, with or without substantiation in the context of rule of law principles or the principles of democracy.

    The honest truth is that I have absolutely no time or patience for The Hon George Brandis. I am particularly concerned that under consecutive Coalition Governments,, first under the Abbott administration and now reappointed under the Malcolm Turnbull administration, on the basis of perceived “snakeoil charm” what we have acquired is a charming salesman [perhaps, perhaps, perhaps]
    May I present Ibrahim Ferrer, RIP with Omara Portuonodo

    http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/alan-mitchell/liberal-leadership-malcolm-turnbull-is-in-danger-of-doing-a-tony-abbott-20150915-gjn71e

    Turnbull appears to be supporting the same old policies, philosophies and approaches and substantially the same Old Guard dinosaur rationale as those of previous Coalition policies, say under the Howard-Ruddock-Vanstone Era; the Abbott-Morrison-Hockey-BishopJ-BishopB, whilst wearing the cloak of Reformist Incarnate.

    So is Sheep-in-Wolf’s-Clothing, or simply an ambitious politician under the control of a Right-Wing Faction of the Old Guard, living in the Dark Ages, of similar ilk to the so-called Labor Party Right Wing Old Guard.

    Not that I wish to imply unequivocal support for all the rest of the political groups of Independents.

    I would say more but for word count limits, but must agree with the implied message of both author and first person to comment that the more one examines the differences between the Australian Coalition Government and successive recent Labor Governments, the more the commonalities are evident.

    In passing, as to the issues of the Brandis brand of upholding the Rule of Law, what can I say?

    Perhaps I could start, but certainly end with perceived vilification of the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and publicly expressed “loss of confidence” in that individual as a representative of the entity the Attorney-General has an obligation to support

    http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/asylum-seekers-and-refugees/publications/forgotten-children-national-inquiry-children

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-human-rights-commission-president-gillian-triggs-and-bronwyn-bishop-in-a-standoff-on-qa-20150615-ghordj

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/view-from-the-street/view-from-the-street-awww-does-noone-love-george-brandis-no-more-20150617-ghqdgs.html

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/george-brandis-unites-the-crossbench-in-votes-against-the-government-20150617-ghpzi9.html

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-human-rights-commission-president-gillian-triggs-and-bronwyn-bishop-in-a-standoff-on-qa-20150615-ghordj

    So much more so say, so little time, and such is the word count.

    MK, Alas, Alas, Alas

  10. Matters Not

    Other than making George look bad, what’s the point?

    Showing the AG is a ‘liar’ is exactly the point. That’s the task of Shadow Ministers. At least in the political sense. It becomes a ‘personal’ contest. Dreyfus is trying to make out that Brandis is a liar.

    As for the social media. Let’s not overstate its importance in the whole scheme of things.

  11. Kaye Lee

    “As for the social media. Let’s not overstate its importance in the whole scheme of things.”

    I can see the stats of how many people read our articles. I pop around checking out various independent media and facebook sites. I am astonished by the reach. The whole point is to make people better informed. The young people of this country could well be our saviours and even though my children have little interest in politics, they know I am interested and they send me a lot of stuff of what young people share. It’s interesting how info spreads nowadays.

  12. Kaye Lee

    Dreyfus is trying to make out Brandis is a liar in that he did not consult? But Labor gave his draconian measures a tick because it was politically expedient for them to do so…in their mind at least. So does Dreyfuss agree with the legislation his party helped pass or not?

  13. Matters Not

    I can see the stats of how many people read our articles

    I suspect in reality, you know how many ‘hits’ this site receives. And probably not much more than that. How many ‘hits’ are ongoing repeats, I suspect are more difficult to determine. How many ‘readers’ are ‘influenced’ to the point that they change their views is probably best described as ‘minimal’.

    Because I am a political addict, the views expressed, by and large, simply reinforce my ‘prejudices’ and/or my biases. And I suspect I am not alone here.

    As for my ‘offspring’, their interest in ‘politics’ is completely superficial.

  14. Matters Not

    Labor gave his draconian measures a tick because it was politically expedient for them to do so

    Yes! Expediency is the watch word, particularly for the current leadership of Labor. For them it’s all about ‘today’, it’s all about ‘tactics’ it’s never about the ‘long-term’ otherwise known as ‘strategy’.

    Dreyfus left his ‘principles’ behind when he decided to enter today’s political ‘common sense’. Something about ‘whatever it takes’.

  15. Jexpat

    Matters Not wrote: “Expediency is the watch word, particularly for the current leadership of Labor”.

    The word I’m thinking of is not expediency.

  16. Kaye Lee

    I am so sick of tactics. If your cause is just then present your case truthfully – something I know is almost impossible with the Murdoch media weaving their web. But opting for expediency is the ultimate betrayal. It shows they are more interested in their own ambition and advancement than the country’s.

  17. Matters Not

    If your cause is just then present your case truthfully

    Sounds great. But there’s a whole heap of value judgements in what appears to be your simple statement. Take Gonski as an example. It only came about because the ‘tactical’ ALP won government. The Howard ‘tactical’ government devised a funding formula that was ‘obscene’. To illustrate why, would take an essay. Or two.

    As for expediency (as a concept) being the ‘ultimate betrayal’, I think that’s too simple. In fact I would argue, it’s the only way to ‘advance’ in a very complex world.

    We live in a ‘democracy’ of sorts. Compromises will always be on the table both within the political parties and elsewhere. It’s the best we have I suspect.

  18. madeleinekingston

    In passing only. Who knows what Dreyfus has in mind. or the Labor Party at Large. In my view we essentially have a One-Party Democracy; which means no democracy at all.

    Aside from questions about allegations about payments made by the Australian Government to crew of a boat carrying asylum seekers from Indonesia, each of which were side-stepped, questions were posed to the Attorney-General about the personal attacks made on the President of the Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, who has suffered with great dignity unwarranted and unprofessional attacks on her integrity and professionalism.

    The Attorney-General was only too pleased to explain his view and the alleged view of the Australian Government regarding loss of confidence in the President of the Human Rights Commission. The A-G was reminded that the relationship between the Government is not with the President but rather with the Office that she heads.

    It was inconvenient for the government to hear what Professor Triggs had to say on behalf of the Human Rights Commission regarding the management of children in detention. The report was entitled The Forgotten Children – National Inquiry Children

    http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/asylum-seekers-and-refugees/publications/forgotten-children-national-inquiry-children

    Those responding to the article by Sarah Whyte in Canberra Times dated 15 June regarding similar personal attacks by Bronwyn Bishop Speaker of the Lower House during the broadcast standoff that occurred between Ms Bishop and Professor Gillian Triggs on the Q & A show of 15 June

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-human-rights-commission-president-gillian-triggs-and-bronwyn-bishop-in-a-standoff-on-qa-20150615-ghordj

    As a follow-up to my previous comment concerning the conduct of Attorney-General Senator George Brandis, I note that he answered questions in Parliament Question Time in the Senate on 16 June 2015 on this matter.

    Aside from questions about allegations about payments made by the Australian Government to crew of a boat carrying asylum seekers from Indonesia, each of which were side-stepped, questions were posed to the Attorney-General about the personal attacks made on the President of the Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, who has suffered with great dignity unwarranted and unprofessional attacks on her integrity and professionalism.

    The Attorney-General was only too pleased to explain his view and the alleged view of the Australian Government regarding loss of confidence in the President of the Human Rights Commission. The A-G was reminded that the relationship between the Government is not with the President but rather with the Office that she heads.

    It was inconvenient for the government to hear what Professor Triggs had to say on behalf of the Human Rights Commission regarding the management of children in detention. The report was entitled The Forgotten Children – National Inquiry Children

    http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/asylum-seekers-and-refugees/publications/forgotten-children-national-inquiry-children

    Those responding to the article by Sarah Whyte in Canberra Times dated 15 June regarding similar personal attacks by Bronwyn Bishop Speaker of the Lower House during the broadcast standoff that occurred between Ms Bishop and Professor Gillian Triggs on the Q & A show of 15 June

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-human-rights-commission-president-gillian-triggs-and-bronwyn-bishop-in-a-standoff-on-qa-20150615-ghordj

    Let the inquiry begin into the conduct of Senator George Brandis, Attorney-GeneralPost 3 Andrew Street’s Snark 18 June 2015 SMH

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/view-from-the-street/view-from-the-street-awww-does-noone-love-george-brandis-no-more-20150617-ghqdgs.html?recs=rewire&mbnr=NTk2OTE3Nw&blbmta=5xv49bads0si4j5giovex25om1inq49wsruapldrfevaw9ew5adq46rddzf5yohhhgjfwvnwgnhxs5aeh1sr6lzjlpph58eejydglzmj4k7qazwgqp0qjnhptdueqzsxv2grs5u52p

    Questions must be asked as to whether the Attorney-General is prepared to uphold the rule of law and support statutory officers in preference to vilifying them at a personal level. Bring it on please as soon as possible.

    Slight fondness? Of the Attorney-General? Peter how could you?
    Questions must be asked as to whether the Attorney-General is prepared to uphold the rule of law and support statutory officers in preference to vilifying them at a personal level. Bring it on please as soon as possible.

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/george-brandis-unites-the-crossbench-in-votes-against-the-government-20150617-ghpzi9.html

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-human-rights-commission-president-gillian-triggs-and-bronwyn-bishop-in-a-standoff-on-qa-20150615-ghordj

    Whyte, S SMH Australian Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs and Bronwyn Bishop in a standoff on Q & A 15 June 2015

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-human-rights-commission-president-gillian-triggs-and-bronwyn-bishop-in-a-standoff-on-qa-20150615-ghordj

    http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/asylum-seekers-and-refugees/publications/forgotten-children-national-inquiry-children
    ndis.
    Commenter
    Peter Stanton

    Date and time
    June 18, 2015, 9:14AM

    Anyone who enjoys a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan would have to have a slight fondness for Georgy Boy Brandis.
    Commenter
    Peter Stanton

    Date and time
    June 18, 2015, 9:14AM
    Slight fondness? Of the Attorney-General? Peter how could you?
    Questions must be asked as to whether the Attorney-General is prepared to uphold the rule of law and support statutory officers in preference to vilifying them at a personal level. Bring it on please as soon as possible.

    See
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/george-brandis-unites-the-crossbench-in-votes-against-the-government-20150617-ghpzi9.html

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-human-rights-commission-president-gillian-triggs-and-bronwyn-bishop-in-a-standoff-on-qa-20150615-ghordj

    http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/asylum-seekers-and-refugees/publications/forgotten-children-national-inquiry-children
    On 16 June during Parliamentary Question Time in the Senate a number of outstanding questions that must be answered were posed to the Government. Holding the floor for a considerable proportion of question time in response to questions posed was Attorney-General Senator George Brandis who answered questions on his own behalf in that role as well as on behalf of others including the Prime Minister, who was absent.
    questions about allegations about payments made by the Australian Government to crew of a boat carrying asylum seekers from Indonesia, each of which were side-steppedhttp://www.smh.com.au/comment/view-from-the-street/view-from-the-street-awww-does-noone-love-george-brandis-no-more-20150617-ghqdgs.html?recs=rewire&mbnr=NTk2OTE3Nw&blbmta=5xv49bads0si4j5giovex25om1inq49wsruapldrfevaw9ew5adq46rddzf5yohhhgjfwvnwgnhxs5aeh1sr6lzjlpph58eejydglzmj4k7qazwgqp0qjnhptdueqzsxv2grs5u52p
    The Censorship: 02.47 min video from Senate 2 March 2015

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/attorneygeneral-george-brandis-censured-over-gillian-triggs-affair-20150302-13sm22.html
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/attorneygeneral-george-brandis-censured-over-gillian-triggs-affair-20150302-13sm22.html
    The vote was passed 35 to 32 votes, which included the support of independent senator Jacqui Lambie and Palmer United Party senators Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang,

    The censure motion was based on criteria including failing to defend Professor Triggs from “malicious attacks”, seeking to obtain her resignation by offering another role, refusing to account for his role; undermining Australia’s commitment to upholding human rights, and being unfit to hold the office of attorney-general.
    For the record three senators abstained from voting and two voted against the motion. The main thing is that it was carried and related to the conduct of a particular minister. Whilst there are no constitutional implications, the political implications are not trivial.

    All the same, when a deserved censure motion is successful, it is very pleasing. I am accordingly delighted with the censure motion against the Attorney-General George Brandis on this matter and on this occasion

    The motion related in part to failure to defend the President of the Human Rights Commission against “malicious attacks.” The irony was that the Attorney-General who has a mandate to protect statutory officers from such attacks was himself responsible, amongst others for inflicting such attacks. This cannot be acceptable under any standards.
    “Mr. President, Fellow Senators
    This is the most under-handed piece of business imaginable. A heavy-handed attempt to pressure a statutory officer into quitting by leaching the bullies, thereby claiming to have no confidence in her, whilst simultaneously offering an alternative position. That is what this Attorney-General and this Government have done.

    Senator Eric Abetz, attempting to defend both the Government and the Attorney-General adds insult to injury. It concerns me greatly that Senator Abetz should have seen fit to publicly undertake perceived “malicious attack” of the nature that was ultimately censored by the Senate. I note that Senator Abetz has confused the term “malicious attack” on an individual statutory officer, and criticism of a statutory agency. The two should not be conflated and neither should there be any illusion that there is a direct relationship between the Government and the head of a statutory authority. The relationship is always with the authority. The criticism levelled described as “malicious attack” was highly personal and tantamount to witch-hunt tactics. This is unprofessional under any standards.

    Senator Eric Abetz:

    “That hypocrisy is palpable and Senator Wong is condemned, simply for trying to raise the assertion that a statutory agencies can’t be criticised. Let’s get to the point very quickly. The Australian High Court has determined many years ago, that we do have this very wonderful thing called free speech in this country

    Christine Milne former Leader of the Australian Greens [subsequently replaced by Senator Richard di Natale]
    [with clear and deliberate enunciation in response to the view expressed by Senator Abetz]

    “Now this is an important point and the Attorney-General is at the heart of this. It is his job as Attorney-General to defend the Institutions of Justice in our democracy. It is his job to defend the rule of law and to uphold the rule of law and the independence of statutory authorities. And instead of that, we have seen the Attorney-General complicit in the Prime Minister’s attack on the independence of the Human Rights Commission and clearly an attempt to destroy its President
    Attorney-General Senator George Brandis [in reply]

    “This cannot be, in attacking me they attack Mr. Moraitis. Because they dispute his evidence. Mr. Moraitis’ evidence was that he did not seek the resignation of Professor Triggs, and I stand by him. He has my entire confidence. I might add that Mr. Moraitis was equally emphatic that no inducement was offered to Professor Triggs, and Professor Triggs did not allege that an inducement had been offered to her. But let me be blunt Mr Acting Deputy President, I have lost confidence in Professor Triggs as the Chariman .. as the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. I have lost confidence, and I have lost confidence

    Deputy Acting President Senate

    “The question is, is the motion raised by Senator Wong agreed to. Those against say Aye. Those against say No. The Ayes have it. Division required. Ring the Bells.
    There were two Nos from Senator Nick Xenaphon and Senator Bob Day. Senators John Madigan, David Leyonhelm and Ricky Muir did not vote. All other votes were in the affirmative for the motion. The motion was carried and censorship upheld.

    Soto voce: How convenient to project, Mr. Brandis, how convenient. And how convenient Mr. Brandis to play on words
    Andrew, I feel sure you are aware of the SMH article published on 2 March regarding the successful censor motion passed in the Senate on that date.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/attorneygeneral-george-brandis-censured-over-gillian-triggs-affair-20150302-13sm22.html

    The vote was passed 35 to 32 votes, which included the support of independent senator Jacqui Lambie and Palmer United Party senators Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang,

    The censure motion was based on criteria including failing to defend Professor Triggs from “malicious attacks”, seeking to obtain her resignation by offering another role, refusing to account for his role; undermining Australia’s commitment to upholding human rights, and being unfit to hold the office of attorney-general.

    For the record three senators abstained from voting and two voted against the motion. The main thing is that it was carried and related to the conduct of a particular minister. Whilst there are no constitutional implications, the political implications are not trivial.

    All the same, when a deserved censure motion is successful, it is very pleasing. I am accordingly delighted with the censure motion against the Attorney-General George Brandis on this matter and on this occasion

    The motion related in part to failure to defend the President of the Human Rights Commission against “malicious attacks.” The irony was that the Attorney-General who has a mandate to protect statutory officers from such attacks was himself responsible, amongst others for inflicting such attacks. This cannot be acceptable under any standards.
    Senator Wong, known for her ability to make a forceful point said:
    “Mr. President, Fellow Senators
    This is the most under-handed piece of business imaginable. A heavy-handed attempt to pressure a statutory officer into quitting by leaching the bullies, thereby claiming to have no confidence in her, whilst simultaneously offering an alternative position. That is what this Attorney-General and this Government have done.
    Andrew, I feel sure you are aware of the SMH article published on 2 March regarding the successful censor motion against George Brandis passed in the Senate on that date..

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/attorneygeneral-george-brandis-censured-over-gillian-triggs-affair-20150302-13sm22.html

    The vote was passed 35 to 32 votes, which included the support of independent senator Jacqui Lambie and Palmer United Party senators Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang,

    The censure motion was based on criteria including failing to defend Professor Triggs from “malicious attacks”, seeking to obtain her resignation by offering another role, refusing to account for his role; undermining Australia’s commitment to upholding human rights, and being unfit to hold the office of attorney-general.

    For the record three senators abstained from voting and two voted against the motion. The main thing is that it was carried and related to the conduct of a particular minister. Whilst there are no constitutional implications, the political implications are not trivial.

    All the same, when a deserved censure motion is successful, it is very pleasing. I am accordingly delighted with the censure motion against the Attorney-General George Brandis on this matter and on this occasion

    The motion related in part to failure to defend the President of the Human Rights Commission against “malicious attacks.” The irony was that the Attorney-General who has a mandate to protect statutory officers from such attacks was himself responsible, amongst others for inflicting such attacks. This cannot be acceptable under any standards.
    Senator Wong, known for her ability to make a forceful point said:

    “Mr. President, Fellow Senators

    This is the most under-handed piece of business imaginable. A heavy-handed attempt to pressure a statutory officer into quitting by leaching the bullies, thereby claiming to have no confidence in her, whilst simultaneously offering an alternative position. That is what this Attorney-General and this Government have done.” Senator Eric Abetz, attempting to defend both the Government and the Attorney-General adds insult to injury. It concerns me greatly that Senator Abetz should have seen fit to publicly undertake perceived “malicious attack” of the nature that was ultimately censored by the Senate. I note that Senator Abetz has confused the term “malicious attack” on an individual statutory officer, and criticism of a statutory agency. The two should not be conflated and neither should there be any illusion that there is a direct relationship between the Government and the head of a statutory authority. The relationship is always with the authority. The criticism levelled described as “malicious attack” was highly personal and tantamount to witch-hunt tactics. This is unprofessional under any standards.

    Senator Eric Abetz:

    “That hypocrisy is palpable and Senator Wong is condemned, simply for trying to raise the assertion that a statutory agencies can’t be criticised. Let’s get to the point very quickly. The Australian High Court has determined many years ago, that we do have this very wonderful thing called free speech in this country
    Christine Milne, former leader Australian Greens:

    “Now this is an important point and the Attorney-General is at the heart of this. It is his job as Attorney-General to defend the Institutions of Justice in our democracy. It is his job to defend the rule of law and to uphold the rule of law and the independence of statutory authorities. And instead of that, we have seen the Attorney-General complicit in the Prime Minister’s attack on the independence of the Human Rights Commission and clearly an attempt to destroy its President

    Some of these comments were submitted to the SHM

  19. Florence nee Fedup

    Could it be as simple as Labor is challenging the secrecy of this government. This might be a trigger that has most chance of a win, Especially as FM Bishop finds no problem with releasing hers.

    I suspect Brandis with his inbuilt arrogance,m might be weakest link.

  20. John Fraser

    <

    Interesting debate between Kaye Lee & Matters Not with the end result being the same …. a genuine distaste (?) for both political parties.

    Pretty sad that "Friday" is still stuck in a neutral position between the 2 major political parties.

    Across the entire political spectrum The Greens are being represented with quality candidates.

    Here is one standing for Mayor of the Sunshine Coast (Qld) :

    http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/business-consultant-stand-greens-mayoral-race/2822474/

    And Queensland has more quality candidates standing in State & Federal elections.

    And they will get my vote for as long as Labor continues to ignore the ALP constitution.

  21. Terry2

    Brandis made this rather bizarre statement the other day :

    “The incessant sneering and ridiculing…[Tony] Abbott on account of his religious faith was bigotry at its most shameless.”

    Got me thinking, is this correct, have we ridiculed this former PM because of his religious views or was it because of his faux humility and the way he wore his religion on his sleeve.

    I was thinking of his choice to bunk with the AFP in Canberra while the Lodge is undergoing maintenance but he also shunned a perfectly suitable home rented for him, leaving the taxpayer to pick up the $65,000 tab when the lease was cancelled : http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/tony-abbotts-expensive-humility-20140403-zqq9c.html

    Or the fiasco in the Torres Strait where Abbott wanted to be seen camping out and roughing it on Thursday Island after motel bookings had been made for his extensive party : the then PM decided to camp out at an army barracks and we had to pay the motel owner compensation of some $30,000 for the cancellations at short notice.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/tony-abbotts-expensive-humility-20140403-zqq9c.html

    “Ridicule”, “bigotry” I don’t think so !

  22. Adrianne Haddow

    John Fraser, I am in total agreement regarding the Greens.

    They have many quality candidates and many sensible policies but the majority of voters seem to be influenced by the mainstream medias’ myth that the Greens are loony. Ive seen that adjective used by posters on this site a number of times.

    Not only do their policies regarding action to reduce global warming seem sensible and achievable, their support of human rights and their calling out the current crop of LNP politicians on the horrible mess that has become our immigration policy, is needed to maintain any semblance of democracy in this country. They were the only party with practical suggestions regarding the meta- data surveillance abuse of our rights.

    The Greens also publish a monthly on-line magazine which keeps the interested public up to date with Green policy and issues.

    Many posters bemoan the two party system that has a stranglehold on this country but prefer to push the independent politicians as a viable alternative. Unfortunately, the independents seem to quickly give up their independence and can be swayed with deals that concern their niche voters, as we have seen over the last two years.

    I am not happy that Labor seems to be in the grip of neo conservative lies and appears to be holding a right wing agenda. Far too many laws that are to the detriment of the Australian people have been passed without much challenge and with their agreement.

  23. Friday

    Wow John you have pricked my bubble. “Stuck” is right but “between” rubbish as I have been labor all my life.
    Your moon people, fortunately, are 10%ers and despite their bleatings on policies of the bleeding hearts they will remain with, only, the power to agree with the libs and achieve doubling the debt or agree with labor and hope labor can drag the independents on side. (like all eight for the brandis inquires).
    As for ‘sadly’ there are myriads of ‘sadly’ where we may agree.
    Unless your ‘picture’ is a distractor, you may agree that Gillard, Windsor and Oakeschott were successful despite a constant attack by a master negative tactician’s media and Abbutt.
    She survived, despite the abbutt’s vicious opposition, the media and society misogyny and the carping of disingenuous greens who dreamed of replacing labor as an alternate government, because she and her team were so good. Eventually, the labor white ants on the morning shows and the wimps convinced little billy to dump her.
    As for little billy!!!
    It takes real purpose to make no capital from an AAA rating from a world class government or an inept treasurer, a laughable captain, a mentally unstable negotiator, two political witch hunts, the real ‘tax’ on climate change, the copper man or two failed budgets.
    The result is half the population still believe this mob are better economic manager than Gillard/Swan.

  24. Kaye Lee

    Where is the leadership from Turnbull? He should direct Brandis to release his diary or does he subscribe to the Abbott mantra of secrecy and obfuscation?

    There are far too many examples of Brandis considering himself above any form of accountability and using his office for his personal agenda eg raiding the offices of the lawyer in the Timor-l’Este case, sacking Graeme Innes to give his little friend Tim Wilson a job, labelling legitimate court action ‘lawfare’ and the people who brought it “vigilante litigants”, throwing Gillian Triggs under a bus, putting us all through the bigots debacle purely for his other little friend Andrew Bolt, refusing to allow the AHRC access to detention centres.

    This man needs reining in Malcolm. Are you up to the task?

  25. John Fraser

    <

    Friday

    "Stuck” is right but “between” rubbish as I have been labor all my life."

    Then your totally ignorant of what the ALP Constitution is and/or wilfully refuse to accept that the ALP has taken a wrong turn.

    And stop talking like a 10 year old if you want me to respond.

  26. John Fraser

    <

    Kaye Lee

    Don't forget Brandis is from the deep north where Leo Schofield's comment about Taswegians could equally apply :

    "dregs, bogans and third generation morons".

    Of course as Brandis is a Senator that comment does not apply to all Queenslanders …. north or otherwise.

    Will M. Turnbull …….. the defender of the Spycatcher …… be up to it, highly unlikely !

    "Gag Orders" are now the stock in trade for both the ALP and the Liberals.

  27. corvus boreus

    Some of the ‘bleeding heart bleats’ made by the ‘moon people’ on behalf of the (+/-) ‘10%’ over the past 2 years have included calls for a federal ICAC, inquiry into major project licensing irregularities, requirement for the consultation of parliament before commitment to war, and opposition to laws greatly increasing the authoritative powers of government and some of their agencies (esp regarding surveillance and detention) being combined with clauses diminishing the transparency and accountability of those wielding these new powers.

    All these policy proposals amounted to mere empty ‘carping’ in the face of bipartisanship by the two majors (LIB/LAB), who obviously viewed such measures as entirely unreasonable. Presumably their flag-waving supporters agree with them.

  28. Matthew Oborne

    It is obvious I would have thought. The Libs brought the iron curtain down over Canberra and simply cant allow their actions to receive scrutiny.

    Most guessed no wedge issue promise would be delivered and are right, not one single wedge issue promise has been delivered.

    That amount of deception requires utmost secrecy were it to get out that the Liberals completely deceived the public to get into government and that so much was done simply for political reasons trust in the Liberal party would evaporate.

    Brandis has been a very bad boy.

  29. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I agree with all comments highlighting the positive policy promotion of the Greens. I agree with all comments highlighting the similar mindsets of the flipflop LIB/LAB duopoly.

    Labor must get back to its roots and honour its constitution by prioritising every policy and political measure in equitable and compassionate terms or they will continue to be distrusted by the Centre and the Left.

    It amazes me that Labor is not embarrassed by the Right’s domination and abomination of their culture so that it is hard to see much difference between them and the LNP Degenerates.

    It also amazes me that Labor hasn’t tried to build self-sustaining and society-building bridges with the Greens to ensure its advancement through the 21st century. If Labor made an effort to build those bridges, they would wedge the LNP from forming any such liaisons that Labor jealously watches.

  30. Friday

    Sorry boys, bleat all you want! The fact is the greens have lost any relevance in the senate(although I liked Larissa’s slash at the Abbutt which gave the boys apoplexy) and under self-styled supremo di natale are flailing for votes.
    As for ‘calling for ICAC’ (on a par with Abbutt RCs) I am with Dr Appleby and the Brandis approach would be disastrous.
    ps glad you boys avoided any personal attack on my intelligence as today’s 10 year olds are as knowledgeable and experience as 16year olds in my day.
    pps the jibe of Abbutt that Gillard was selected by Oakeschott and Windsor not elected ignores the fact almost all politicians are selected by their branch membership ie the grassroot 10 year olds who are vulnerable to slogans, lawyers and Catholics?
    ppps as for bridges, the greens are open and honest unless they are intransigent and untrustworthy(Assange, carbon price, national food plan) not bridge material!

  31. corvus boreus

    friday,
    I acknowledge the wisdom of Professor Appleby’s recommendations regarding the NSW ICAC (they should be given expanded powers, under strict proviso that they stick to credible and serious allegations, and conduct no more ‘fishing’ expeditions).
    However your own ‘par’ comparison of a federal ICAC with Aboott’s RCs shows a complete lack of knowledge of the difference in parameters, powers and operations of the two types of commission. A hint; The I in ICAC.
    Such basic ignorance belittles the value of your broader colloquial claims.

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