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
The wrong man for the job?

The wrong man for the job?

“Philip Ruddock will be a 300 times better political player than Daryl Williams, but that won’t necessarily make him a good Attorney-General.”Like many other lawyers around Australia…

“Philip Ruddock will be a 300 times better political player than Daryl Williams, but that won’t necessarily make him a good Attorney-General.”

Like many other lawyers around Australia surprised by Ruddock’s appointment as the Nation’s top law officer, the Federal Opposition is convinced this week’s ambush-like cabinet reshuffle is a measure taken by the Howard Government to place one of its biggest political hitters in the line of fire most predict will decide next year’s election: national security.

Shadow A-G Robert McClelland told Lawyers Weekly he believed the Government was trying to replicate its success in the 2001 poll, in which the former Immigration Minister’s political clout won the day almost single-handedly as debate over the Tampa crisis smouldered. Two years on, and with emotions raging at similar levels over how best to counter the threat of terrorism, McClelland that Ruddock will be again expected to lead the Government into battle on the most contentious front.

“Given the PM we’ve got, I can see exactly why [Ruddock] was put there,” McClelland said.

Describing his new opposite as “the wrong man for the job”, McClelland said Ruddock’s regular public attacks on the Family and Federal Courts was ample reason to doubt whether the new A-G would defend the rule of law from executive interference.

In respect of current national security measures adopted by the Government, McClelland said his old adversary Williams had crossed the line.

“But at least to [Williams’] credit, he didn’t attack the courts as well,” McClelland added.

The Law Council of Australia (LCA) was guarded in its welcome of Ruddock to the job, recalling a number of recent clashes over policies he initiated as Immigration Minister.

“The Government and Immigration Minister’s decisions on the prolonged detention of children in immigration detention centres was, in the Law Council’s view, contrary to the principles of the rule of law,” president Bob Gotterson said.

Those decisions, Gotterson acknowledged, were made whilst Ruddock was handling the day’s “hottest political potato.”

“Against that [Ruddock] has long experience as a practising solicitor, so we can expect he also has a good understanding of the requirements of the rule of law and an independent judiciary.”

“The Law Council hopes that as Attorney-General, Mr Ruddock will be able to take a balanced view of Australia’s national interests.”

Prominent Human Rights lawyers Julian Burnside and Simon Rice both declined to comment on Ruddock’s appointment.

“I’m not really in the mood to be contentious today,” Burnside said.

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

The wrong man for the job?
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 & ...