Goodbye Brandis

If the rumours are true, George Brandis will be officially shipped off to London tomorrow.

THE HON. MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

GOODBYE BRANDIS

 

If the rumours are true, George Brandis will be officially shipped off to London tomorrow.

 

This appears to have occurred against his will. Just two weeks ago, he was confident he would stay:

 

SAMANTHA MAIDEN: Okay.  And you’ll serve out a full time as Senator?

 

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: There’s a lot more for me to do next year.

 

SAMANTHA MAIDEN: Alright then, but does that mean you’ll serve out your full term?

 

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Samantha, everything will continue as it is.

 

Interview with Samantha Maiden, SKY News – 7 December 2017

 

But there will be few in the legal community, or indeed in Australia, who will lament his departure.

 

This was a man who:

  • Declared everyone ‘has a right to be bigots’ and led the charge to destroy protections against racial hate speech in the Racial Discrimination Act;
  • Didn’t know what metadata was even as he introduced sweeping changes to how it was handled;
  • Caused former Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson to resign after attempting to curtail the independence of his office, and misrepresenting his advice;
  • Spent three years disobeying FOI law and fighting to keep his diary secret, despite a ruling of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal;
  • Authorised an ASIO raid on an Australian lawyer, which caused embarrassment to Australia in front of the International Court of Justice;
  • Called his Queensland LNP colleagues ‘very very mediocre’ (he was right);
  • Attempted to induce Gillian Triggs to resign;
  • Appointed Liberal Party mates to highly-paid jobs on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal; and
  • Spent nearly $20,000 on bookshelves.

 

Senator Brandis also had a destructive impact on the portfolios he was in charge of – multi-million dollar cuts to Community Legal Centres and Legal Aid Commissions, and a near-destruction of the Australia Council as Arts Minister to create his own slush fund for pet projects.

 

Senator Brandis nearly jeopardised even his contribution to marriage equality, by seeking to introduce amendments to the legislation which would have created new forms of discrimination against LGBTIQ Australians.

 

It’s a shame that the integrity Senator Brandis managed to show occasionally in the last few months was not displayed throughout his time in Parliament.

 

MONDAY, 18 DECEMBER