Well well well, so those of us who thought John Howard had a liking for authoritarianism have had our hunch confirmed today, with the PM’s response to the Northern Territory Government’s report on child abuse in Aboriginal communities.
If this were America, we would get a chance to talk to jury members in the Chris Hurley trial, and find out just how it is they came to the conclusion yesterday in Townsville, that Hurley was not guilty of the manslaughter of Cameron Mulrunji Doomadgee in the Palm Island watchhouse on the evening of 19 November 2004.
There is a disturbing trend that’s been going on for some years now. It’s the way police and prosecuting authorities tend to work hand in glove with the media when someone is charged with serious crimes, with the express or coincidental aim of contaminating public opinion against the defendant.
If I were Matthew Guy, the Victorian Liberal planning spokesman, I would be looking in my own backyard before slinging arrows at the Bracks Government for engaging ALP candidate and barrister Mark Dreyfus to appear for it in the inquiry into a proposed toxic-waste dump at Mildura.
Fortunately not everyone in the legal services industry believes in taping mouths. While it was revealed last Friday that the Law Council of Australia and the Queensland Law Society think that lawyers should shy away from media comment about a client’s case, fortunately the Law Institute of Victoria takes a different view.
Victorian Deputy Police Commissioner Simon Overland is in the running to take over as the next NSW Police Commissioner -- no wonder he went over the top about his crime-busting credentials at yesterday's media conference called to discuss Tony Mokbel's arrest.
David Hicks must be feeling a little unlucky today. While he’s banged up in an Adelaide prison, serving the remainder of his sentence as part of the plea bargain deal he did a couple of months ago, Canadian prisoner Omar Khadr has just had a significant legal win over his American captors.
Judges and magistrates are not only the holders of an important office in our legal system, but they are also service providers. From Monday to Friday each week lawyers and increasingly, litigants in person, appear before thousands of courts and tribunals where judicial officers dispense justice.
Law and order politicians like South Australia’s Premier Mike Rann and New South Wales Treasurer Michael Costa -- and their loyal sidekicks in the tabloid media -- should be seen as nothing more than bully boys and thugs when it comes to how they deal with the office of the director of public prosecutions. The DPP is independent of government – yes, that’s right, i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t.
Last week, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal handed down a decision that ought to be compulsory reading for politicians, parents, teachers and education bureaucrats right around this country.