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Attorney-General missing in action when judges under attack.

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  Australian Labor Party   National ALP

Robert McClelland - Attorney-General Missing In Action When Judges Under Attack Thursday, 29 March 2001

Attorney-General Missing In Action When Judges Under Attack Robert McClelland - Shadow Attorney-General

Media Statement - 27 March 2001

Inaction by the Federal Attorney-General, Mr Daryl Williams, has encouraged fringe elements connected with the ideologically-obsessed H.R. Nicholls society to claim victory in their attacks on the culture of the Federal Court.

Last June, I observed that:

"There appears to be a push by a small group of Melbourne lawyers connected to the anti-union H.R. Nicholls society to discredit judges of the Federal Court of Australia by alleging they are biased.

"While, in our system of government, fair criticism of judicial reasoning has always been appropriate and beneficial to the development of our law, personal attacks are entirely a different matter." At that time I called on the Federal Attorney-General, Mr Daryl Williams, to fulfil his responsibilities as First Law Officer to defend Federal Court judges from personal attacks.


Mr Williams maintained his silence.

Last weekend, in an address to the National Conference of the H.R. Nicholls Society, Mr Des Moore continued his attacks, arguing that:

Yet, with its sisters at the Federal Court, the Commission continues to interpret legislation governing employer-employee relations in a way that is clearly biased against employers and that shows little understanding of the issues and effects of its interpretations.


Mr Moore then went on to claim that pressure on the Federal Court had led to changes in the way in which the court deals with industrial matters and was "less sympathetic" to union applications.


It is preposterous that Mr Williams should stand mute in the face of personal criticism of Federal Court judges in the first place - even more so that he should stand silent while an opponent of the court claims that those personal attacks have produced the very changes sought by the court's antagonists.

As First Law Officer, Mr Williams has a duty to defend judges from personal attack. He has failed in that duty again. Back

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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