Brandis must explain 15 day gap before he 'received' advice on Culleton

 

Senator Brandis’s statement this afternoon that Senator Culleton’s election may also be invalid raises more questions than it answers.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

BRANDIS MUST EXPLAIN 15 DAY GAP BEFORE HE ‘RECEIVED’ ADVICE ON CULLETON

 

Senator Brandis’s statement this afternoon that Senator Culleton’s election may also be invalid raises more questions than it answers.

 

On October 14, Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson said he had given urgent advice to the Australian Government Solicitor on this issue the day prior:

 

“A senior lawyer from the Australian Government Solicitor came to my office yesterday seeking my urgent advice on a High Court proceeding which has questions of law attached to it which relate to the composition of this Senate….The Attorney-General is actively involved in this matter and is considering questions of law. This matter requires my decision and it requires action on behalf of the Commonwealth, I would say, within a short number of hours or days….

Yesterday I decided, because I have come to the view this direction is invalid, that in the interests of the Commonwealth I should conduct that conference with that senior lawyer, which I did. The conference went for 90 minutes. I commenced work on an opinion to answer the draft questions the Attorney-General may be sending to me shortly. That is what an efficient counsel would do.”

- Justin Gleeson, Solicitor-General, Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Hearing,
14 October 2016

 

Senator Brandis has confirmed that the High Court issue regarding the “composition of this Senate” referred to by the Solicitor-General on October 14 was in regard to Senator Culleton.

 

In his statement today, Senator Brandis claims he received advice from the Solicitor-General more than fortnight later - on October 28:

 

I received the Opinion late Friday, 28 October.

                                                - Attorney-General Statement, 2 November 2016

 

How is this possible?  What was the delay of 15 days before Senator Brandis ‘received’ the advice? 

 

Just how long has he known about Senator Culleton’s potential ineligibility?

 

It’s no coincidence that Mr Day and Senator Culleton’s referrals to the High Court have been proposed by the government within two days of each other. Why has the government only come clean about this now? How long has it chosen to sit on the news that two senators have been able to vote in Parliament for months who may never have been validly elected?

 

This is an extraordinary turn of events which shows a government in absolute chaos.

 

WEDNESDAY, 2 NOVEMBER