find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
Roxon condemns A-G’s version of justice

Roxon condemns A-G’s version of justice

SHADOW Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has criticised the way the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, does his job. His focus on terrorism and security has been to the detriment of social and…

SHADOW Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has criticised the way the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, does his job. His focus on terrorism and security has been to the detriment of social and criminal justice, Roxon said.

In a speech last week at the ANU Centre for International and Public Law, Roxon criticised Ruddock’s attention to terrorism and national security, claiming it “appears to constitute almost the entire focus and workload of the Federal Attorney-General”.

Acknowledging they were important matters, Roxon said the A-G should nevertheless take a different focus.

She said she had an alternative vision for handling new security issues. She intended to outline what the Labor Party believed was the appropriate role for the A-G.

The Attorney needed to help provide a strong security framework, Roxon said, but also handle day-to-day legal issues for ordinary Australians.

Two recent issues highlight how the Government has “lost its focus and mismanaged its priorities” in the Attorney-General’s portfolio, Roxon said.

The first related to the Australians detained at Guantanamo Bay, in which “we have seen an abdication by the Government of any responsibilities for its citizens”, she said.

“In contrast to the British Government, Australia did not actively argue for the release, return or charging of our citizens,” Roxon said.

“The Australian Government refused to question the US over the legality and terms upon which people were held in this legal no-man’s land as enemy combatants but not prisoners of war.”

The “bottom line” in the Government’s handling of this issue, Roxon told her audience, was that it had not actively confirmed that Australian citizens were being treated humanely or detained according to either international law or another nation’s law, nor advocated a trial process that accorded with the basic standards of criminal justice.

The tendering out process used for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) may also show the A-G’s foibles, Roxon suggested.

The impact of tendering out these services had left the Indigenous and legal communities “gobsmacked”, she said. “Services that are well known and trusted by communities could be lost.”

The A-G’s Department had been working on a National Indigenous Justice Strategy for nearly three years, since November 2001, Roxon said.

“But we still have nothing more than a discussion paper, which has received extremely limited circulation.

“In fact, they seem to have forgotten to send the discussion paper to anyone, least of all Immigration Minister Vanstone and her staff when they were busy developing the new tender documents.”

Roxon said she believed an Australian Attorney-General should operate within a strong social justice framework.

“That supports and promotes the rule of law and respects the need for people to have access to justice, and rights to be protected against extreme action of governments”.

In order to have this, Australia needs an Attorney who respects the courts and their role in our democracy, Roxon said.

“We must support and adequately resource the federal courts and the administration of justice so it can serve all the community and acknowledge the importance of a strong, fearless and competent judiciary in a modern democracy.”

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

Roxon condemns A-G’s version of justice
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Violence
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
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 & ...