find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Lawyers unleash on Dutton visa debacle

Lawyers unleash on Dutton visa debacle

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton

The Law Council of Australia has lashed out at Immigration Minister Peter Dutton following his latest attack and questioning of the independence of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The peak legal body described the minister’s comments, which questioned judgments made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), as “unfortunate” and noted that repeating them will lead to serious repercussions.

This comes after Mr Dutton spoke to Sydney radio station 2GB about his frustration with the AAT, which he noted has overturned more than 4,300 visa decisions made by him or his delegate in the past year.

In his interview, Mr Dutton also singled out Federal Court judge and AAT president Justice Duncan Kerr, who is a former Labor MP.

“When you look at some of the judgments that are made, the sentences that are handed down, it’s always interesting to go back to have a look at the appointment of the particular Labor government of the day,” Mr Dutton said.

“Anyway, it’s a frustration we live with.”

LCA president Fiona McLeod SC has hit out at the comments made by Mr Dutton, saying they had the potential to undermine the standing and independence of the tribunal.

“The independence of the judiciary, and respect for the role of courts and tribunals, is a fundamental to the rule of law in Australia,” Ms McLeod said.

“The Administrative Appeals Tribunal plays a critical role in overseeing and reviewing decisions made by Federal government ministers, departments and agencies everyday. For members to face personal criticism for fulfilling their duties is inappropriate. They are reviewing decisions made by government in accordance with law, not personal preference or ideology.”

Ms McLeod also responded to the comments made about Justice Kerr.

“Justice Duncan Kerr is a highly respected Federal Court judge who has provided excellent service to the Commonwealth during his time as AAT president,” she said.

“Members of the government may disagree with decisions made by the AAT, but the courts and tribunals provide an important check upon the unlawful exercise of power.

“Any suggestion by government that Australian jurists are not acting with independence is dangerous and erosive to our justice system and lies outside Australia’s democratic tradition. It undermines the public perception of the legitimate role of the judiciary and weakens the rule of law.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there will be changes put to the Parliament this week which will give the minister power to overrule and have the final say on citizenship decisions of the AAT – something Ms McLeod noted as “worrying”.

“That’s a very grave concern,” she told the publication.

“Any attempt to wind back review powers should be treated with concern.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers unleash on Dutton visa debacle
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...