Statement on the Solicitor-General

Today’s resignation of the Solicitor-General, Justin Gleeson SC, is a direct result of the Attorney-General’s disgraceful treatment of Mr Gleeson and his office.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

STATEMENT ON THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL

 

Today’s resignation of the Solicitor-General, Justin Gleeson SC, is a direct result of the Attorney-General’s disgraceful treatment of Mr Gleeson and his office.

 

It is not Mr Gleeson who should have resigned today - it is Senator Brandis.


Senator Brandis should be condemned for his reprehensible and scandalous conduct. 

 

From the issuing of the Legal Services Direction of 4 May, which so limited Mr Gleeson’s ability to do his job, Senator Brandis has acted shamefully.

 

He has lied to Parliament in an attempt to cover up his power-grab, he has refused to acknowledge his wrongdoing, and he has pushed Mr Gleeson out of office to save his own skin.

 

Since Senator Brandis’s move to destroy the independence of the office of Solicitor-General came to light, Mr Gleeson has conducted himself with dignity and respect at every turn.

 

The Commonwealth has lost from its service a great legal mind and one of the most experienced constitutional lawyers in this country as its most senior legal adviser.

 

Australia is indebted to Mr Gleeson for his great service, including representing Australia before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, numerous appearances before the High Court, and valuable advice on a vast range of important legal questions.

 

Senator Brandis and his mates on the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Senators McDonald and O’Sullivan have done the opposite. It is they who have forced this resignation upon Mr Gleeson with their shocking undermining of Mr Gleeson and the office that he holds.

 

For Senator Brandis to say today that Mr Gleeson’s resignation is “the proper course of action” is disingenuous in the extreme. Senator Brandis created this mess by his own hand. It is not Mr Gleeson’s doing, as is clear to any right-minded observer. “The proper course of action” is for Senator Brandis to resign, today.

 

But it is clear Senator Brandis has no intention of resigning – Mr Turnbull must instead sack him.

 

Senator Brandis cannot be the man in charge of selecting a replacement for Mr Gleeson, when he has no respect for the office of Solicitor-General at all.

 

MONDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2016