find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Govt reacting like a "spoilt brat"

Govt reacting like a "spoilt brat"

The Government's proposed migration legislation is a "spoilt brat" reaction which fails to show true leadership, according to the president of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.Tasmanian barrister…

The Government's proposed migration legislation is a "spoilt brat" reaction which fails to show true leadership, according to the president of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

Tasmanian barrister and ALA president Greg Barns said that Prime Minter Julia Gillard's reaction to the High Court decision and subsequent attempts to amend the Migration Act show dictatorial contempt for the courts and that she is pandering to minority public opinion.

"The legislation is an undermining of the rule of law and the right of the High Court," Barns told Lawyers Weekly. It's a spoilt brat reaction; a reaction that says 'we want to be able to lock the courts out, we don't want lawyers and judges protecting the rights of the individual against an overbearing executive, we want complete control of migration policy in relation to asylum seekers'," added Barns, who said Gillard's accusation of inconsistency in Chief Justice French's rulings was unprecedented and appalling.

Last night (19 September) Gillard presented the Tony Abbott led opposition with proposed amendments to the Migration Act in attempt to overturn the High Court ruling.

Her proposed legislation amended the public interest test to a broader ''national interest'' test in a bid to save the Malaysia plan, empower the government to return unaccompanied minors, and include some human rights guarantees which were not legally binding.

"This is a really good example of our so called leaders pandering to a bunch of marginal seats in Australia where they think it's popular to play god with the lives of refugees and asylum seekers," said Barns.

The latest Herald/Nielsen poll of 1400 people taken last week revealed that more than half the population (54 per cent) wants refugees arriving by boat to have their asylum claims processed onshore.

Barns paid the price for speaking out on asylum seekers in 2002 when he was disendorsed by the Liberal Party for criticising Howard's asylum seeker policy.

"I paid the price but I don't think I'd do it differently again. I think that real leadership in a way means that you will pay a price," he said.

"Today, we see political leadership so driven by short term polling and by the media. I think it's fundamentally important that we remember that leaders are elected to lead...and take public opinion with them rather than pandering to it."

Abbott last night declared the Coalition would only support changes that allowed asylum seekers to be sent to countries that had signed the United Nations Convention on Refugees - this ruled out Malaysia but kept in play the Coalition's Pacific solution policy of Nauru.

Gillard said this morning that she would not accept Abbott's amendments and that she would present to Parliament her proposed amendments instead.

Stephen Keim SC, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR), called for that course of action to be abandoned.

"These proposed amendments put Australia on an unprecedented collision course with its Convention obligations," he said. "They represent the first time Australia has been explicit in seeking to flout its obligations to protect refugees through the passing of new legislation."

Stephanie Quine

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

Govt reacting like a "spoilt brat"
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
protest
06:05
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
06:04
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Warning
06:03
Lawyers warn against mandatory sentencing measures amid political jeers
Mandatory sentencing has become a topic for politicians on both sides of Federal Parliament to jostl...
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 & ...