Brandis appoints mates and refuses to explain why

If we needed more proof that Senator Brandis is unfit to hold the office of Attorney-General, it was delivered in Senate Estimates last night.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

BRANDIS APPOINTS MATES AND REFUSES TO EXPLAIN WHY 

If we needed more proof that Senator Brandis is unfit to hold the office of Attorney-General, it was delivered in Senate Estimates last night.

The Committee heard the shocking revelation that of the 76 appointments and re-appointments made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in May 2016, not a single one was the result of a selection committee process or was advertised publicly. It appears they were instead handpicked by Senator Brandis and his office, with conflicts of interest not declared to cabinet.

Senator Brandis also refused to answer questions on whether one of those appointments – Theo Tavoularis, a Brisbane lawyer who acted for Senator Brandis’s son in court – was paid commercial or discounted rates for his services.

On Monday, Senator Brandis said “I would have to check” whether a discounted rate was paid. On Tuesday, Senator Brandis refused to answer any questions at all: 

SENATOR PRATT: Given that some time has passed now, have you managed to find an answer to that question Senator Brandis?

 

SENATOR BRANDIS: No.

  • Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Estimates Hearing, Tuesday 18 October

That is despite Senator Pratt writing to Senator Brandis on Monday night to give him notice the follow-up question would be asked.

This is not a question Senator Brandis can ignore – did Mr Tavoularis give the Brandis family an undeclared gift of discounted legal services, for which he was rewarded with a $370,000 a year job?

Senator Brandis thinks he can get away with anything. He thinks he can pick mates for plum jobs without the need to advertise, he can refuse to declare conflicts of interest, and then he can refuse to explain.

This is an Attorney-General who thinks he can act with impunity, whether it is doling out taxpayer-funded jobs as favours or in his disgraceful treatment of the Solicitor-General.

Mr Turnbull should have sacked him long ago, but he is too weak as a leader. 

Labor will not allow Senator Brandis to act with impunity, and will continue holding this dangerous Attorney-General to account.

 

WEDNESDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2016