Brandis opinion shopping another sign of government dysfunction

Reports today that Attorney-General Senator George Brandis has been ‘opinion shopping’ for legal advice goes to the heart of concerns about the failure of Senator Brandis to work with Australia’s second law officer, Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson.

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

BRANDIS OPINION SHOPPING ANOTHER SIGN OF GOVERNMENT DYSFUNCTION

Reports today that Attorney-General Senator George Brandis has been ‘opinion shopping’ for legal advice goes to the heart of concerns about the failure of Senator Brandis to work with Australia’s second law officer, Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson.

The job of the Solicitor-General is to provide legal advice to the government, to government ministers and to Heads of Department. Senator Brandis has clearly hobbled the ability of the Solicitor-General to do his job, and failed to seek the legal opinion of the Solicitor-General over the government’s plan for a plebiscite on marriage equality.

Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson is among Australia’s most eminent legal counsel. Senator Brandis’ failure to consult the Solicitor-General breaks a century-long tradition of Attorneys-General and Solicitors-General working together on Commonwealth legal matters.

Senator Brandis needs to explain why he is shackling the advice work of the Solicitor-General to matters approved by him, the Attorney-General, and why he is not seeking the advice of the Solicitor-General on issues of public importance.

It is clear that Senator Brandis has failed to consult the one person that he is expected to consult for legal advice. The question is who else has Senator Brandis consulted and why.

FRIDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2016