It’s time for George Brandis to open up and whip his diary out, says contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.
GEORGE BRANDIS SHOW US YOUR CHITS! After all, your diary notes belong to the Commonwealth.
This means they belong to us, the people you clearly despise.
We’re not after your little black ops book, Senator; nor your personal diary.
And another thing, we know there aren’t even any personal entries in your e-dairy, so don’t try that one.
This is your appointments diary we’re talking about.
We want to know with whom you held political congress mere weeks before cigar “Smokin Joe” Hockey brought down his disreputable 2014-15 Budget, that included the brutal slashing of millions of dollars from the nation’s already bankrupted legal aid system.
And so does Mark Dreyfus. A former Commonwealth attorney-general himself for several years, the now shadow attorney-general and minister for the arts (coincidentally, another unlikely portfolio also held by Brandis) has been involved in a freedom of information bid to access the diary of his nemesis, Attorney-General George Brandis QC. Brandis has been doing everything possible to counteract Dreyfus.
DREYFUS HAS SHARPER BRAIN, BUT BRANDIS RULES
Whilst Dreyfus is the sharper legal brain, Brandis has now positioned himself above the prime minister and the queen’s man, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
The diary is an electronic work diary. Brandis claims it will take years of work hours to go through the e-diary. Bollocks. We all know this to be untrue.
It seems the Full Court of the Federal Court thinks so too.
Because on Tuesday, Brandis lost yet another attempt to thwart the course of justice. His appeal was dismissed.
It is time for him to come clean and bare all.
Portrait of the young George Brandis when he had dark hair. Time for him to come clean and bare all. (Image via Facebook.com/TheGeorgeBrandisLiveArtExperience)
From Tuesday’s judgement:
As recorded by the Tribunal at , the requests (two in number) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (the FOI Act) were identified as a single request for access to the Attorney-General’s diary in a “weekly agenda” format for the period 18 September 2013 to 12 May 2014
In December last year, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal found that ‘… that the diary could be produced in a “weekly agenda” format because it was an electronic document created using Microsoft Outlook software.’
See. Easy peasy.
The FOI request by Dreyfus was only for nine months of the diary entries, dated September 18, 2013 to to May 12, 2014, and canvassed a mere 237 days and 1930 ‘individual entries’.
The diary has been fully inspected and it is confirmed in the judgement that most entries were brief and one liners.
‘It would not be difficult or take much time to prepare and print the diary over the requested period in the “weekly agenda” format.’
The Brandis excuse that it would take up too much time, blah, blah, is preposterous.
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL HAS AN ARMY OF STAFF
Besides, to refer again to the judgement, he has an army of staff at his disposal:
‘The Office of the Attorney-General had 17 staff (10 Ministerial and four electorate staff, supported by three liaison officers from the Attorney-General’s Department). The Department was much larger (perhaps about 1300 people).’
One of the many uncomfortable aspects of Brandis and his secretive conduct is the fact that he is inevitably being represented in this latest action by no less than the Solicitor-General. Moreover, Brandis has been ordered to pay Dreyfus’ costs.
That means you and I will pay those monies, surely better spent on legal aid, pensioners, veterans and helping impoverished politicians, like the freshly resigned Labor frontbencher Senator Sam Dastyari to pay his bills rather than see him taking his begging bowl to the Chinese government and becoming a China propagandist.
But wait there’s more. As we recently discussed in Independent Australia, in ‘George Brandis should Braxit’, we pointed out that the Attorney-General is an obscene and megalomaniacal law unto himself. He is unquestionably trying to corrupt and compromise what is left of our shabby democracy, at least as far as the body politic is concerned.
This quote from Laura Tingle’s shocking revelations in the Financial Review says it all: –
At issue is a move by Senator Brandis – a few days before the election was called – to stop Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson, SC, from providing advice to any arm of the government without Senator Brandis giving him approval.
The advice of a solicitor-general can be crucial in politically contentious issues faced by the government – such as on asylum seeker policy. But it also provides advice directly to a range of government entities from the office of the Governor-General to the Australian Taxation Office.
…On May 4, Senator Brandis’s office sent Mr Gleeson a letter outlining directions that were tabled in the Senate that day, with immediate effect, and which ruled that no one in government, including the Prime Minister, could seek the Solicitor-General’s advice without getting permission from Senator Brandis.
…What made the direction more disturbing for the legal bureaucracy of Canberra was that a range of officials – including the Office of Legal Services Coordination in the Attorney-General’s Department – were instructed not to consult the Solicitor-General or his office, or to notify him of the change.
…The Office of Parliamentary Counsel – which has the job of putting the government’s legal wishes into legislative form – raised concerns with Senator Brandis’s department that neither Mr Gleeson nor his office had been consulted about the move and this might not be consistent with the Law Officers Act 1964 which sets out the Solicitor-General’s responsibilities.
What was more, it emerged that officials within the Australian Government Solicitor’s office had also not been consulted and had concerns about how the new directive might work in practice.
So here we have AG Brandis QC presiding over his own case and indeed lording it over the independence of the Solicitor-General self-approving the appointment of the said same Solicitor- General to represent him ( Brandis ) in his various legal actions against the FOI request by Dreyfus.
Is this Caesar investigating Caesar investigating Caesar, or what?
Can you smell the foul odour of rotting ethics? Does anyone in the Turnbull Coalition care about transparency and public accountability?
Independent Australia has been told by insiders that Brandis will not acccept this latest setback. For him it is personal. And he sees this Judgement by the Federal Court as an insult and challenge to his authority — and not his intelligence.
Georgie Porgie pudding and pie,
What’s the bet he’s hiding a lie?
We should remember that George Brandis is a mere foxy proxy on the frontbench for his bestie and Prime Minister-in-Waiting Tony Abbott, whose role is to undermine MalcolmTurnbull for as long the incumbent permits the Monkey Pod sleeper cell to continue to eviscerate his authority, and trash the political aspirations and hope that the Australian people once had in him.
Tee-hee…mate…..can’t believe that Turnbull kept you on as Attorney-General…..you’re a dead set legend mate… (Image via news.com.au)
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