May 30, 2017

Tudge’s claim to legal privilege in Andie Fox Centrelink debacle is bollocks

Alan Tudge continues to obfuscate. But he's on increasingly shaky ground.

Michael Bradley — Managing partner at Marque Lawyers

Michael Bradley

Managing partner at Marque Lawyers

Alan Tudge Centrelink scandal

One of the pillars of democracy is transparency, the cleansing effect of sunlight and all that. Australian governments have proudly upheld both this principle by passing and maintaining freedom of information laws, and their eternal passive-aggressive resistance to its actual application to them.

Thus, The Tale of the Reticent Tudge, chapter three. To recap: Andie Fox, an Australian citizen, had written an article outlining her experience at the hands of Centrelink’s robo-debt computer, pursuing her for alleged welfare overpayments. Centrelink responded, not by dealing with her issue but by releasing her personal information to Human Services Minister Alan Tudge's office, which, in turn, released it to the media.

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17 thoughts on “Tudge’s claim to legal privilege in Andie Fox Centrelink debacle is bollocks

  1. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Julian Assange should invite Mr Tudge to the Ecuadorian embassy in London. They could swap notes in complete confidence.

  2. bevnjen

    Terrific work, Michael. Looking forward to the sequel.

  3. paddy

    Bollocks is such a wonderful word.
    The perfect response to Tudge’s half-arsed attempt to outdo George Brandis in the stupid stakes.

  4. graybul

    So good to access Michael’s analysis exposing Minister Tudge’s endeavours to exclude accountability for his, the minister’s, actions. Should, in the fullness of time, said minister be held to account, he may then need to reconsider not only an injustice imposed upon a citizen as a consequence of his actions; but also how we the public have again lost (incrementally) a further sliver of trust in politicians and public servants?

    Of course not. Why reconsider? Accountability is no longer a valued behaviour within government.

    1. Marion Wilson

      Responsible Government, which it is alleged Australia has, means that the Minister is responsible for the actions of his Department from the Head right down to the most lowly clerk. The Minister must produce the document from which Tudge quoted or it is assumed that the Minister has via Tudge, lied to the Parliament and therefore must resign.

  5. klewso

    Todger Tudge another swinging dick clown on Turbott’s front bench – this poor excuse for a ‘Minister of the Crown’, will not admit his mistake, hanging on to be dragged out, with his prolapsed department.

  6. Charlie Chaplin

    Of course the “legal privilege” bit is bollocks. It was power privilege, but people might wake up to the kind of state we’re actually living in if Tudge called it by its right name.

  7. James O'Neill

    Thanks Michael. It demonstrates again that the FOI law is not exercised in any way that allows the release of meaningful information. Allow me a brief example from my own experience. In August 2015 Julie Bishop announced that no decision on committing troops to Syria would be made until the government had legal advice. In September the announcement was made that Australian troops would be sent to Syria. Reasonable inference: she had received the legal advice and that said it was OK. So I wrote under FO’i requesting a copy of the legal advice upon which the government purportedly relied. The request was refused, but the list of 52 documents that were relevant to my request that i was not allowed to see contained four headed “legal advice.” They all had the same date, many months prior to Bishop’s initial statement. The legal advice was allegedly acted upon and stated as such, which arguably also constitutes waiver. It probably said that such an intervention was contrary to international law, which is pretty much universal legal opinion by those of us working in that field. Which is the real reason why it was not released. At least John Howard released the legal advice he got (poor as it was) to justify Australia’s intervention in the Iraq War in 2003.
    Just another illustration of how poorly we are served by our Ministers and those who protect them from accountability to the people to whom they are nominally accountable.

  8. AR

    Gander & Goose comes to mind but there is a simple solution to this complex conundrum – simply refer the matter to the Finest Legal Mind in the known Universe, by his own evaluation, the A/G.
    Then we can all relax in the warmth of his beneficent wisdom.

  9. Bretto

    Michael – you are a pleasure to read. However no need for the Tudgeland, Tudgistan, etc. It detracts from the main message. Stick to skewering these idiots with the facts.

  10. Aethelstan

    So … class warefare by the LNP government against the poor and struggling continues unabated … same old Nasty Party…

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