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Labor attacks on the high court appalling



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MEDIA RELEASE

PETER COSTELLO, M.P. SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

LABOR ATTACKS ON THE HIGH COURT APPALLING

The attack by the Federal Secretary of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Bob Hogg, on the High Court's judgement in the Cleary case is appalling.

The Court has, as it is bound to do, decided the question on the basis of the Constitution.

The Constitution makes explicit provision regarding the eligibility of people in the Public Service to nominate for election and sit in the Parliament. The Court applied the provisions. The members of the Court should not be subjected to abuse for doing their duty.

I have repeatedly said that the role of the High Court is a matter for public discussion and public debate.

In the wake of the High Court judgement on the political advertising case, and in response to a speech by Justice Toohey, I warned that the Court should be careful not to go beyond the Constitution in determining cases on rights or doctrines not explicitly

established by the Constitution but implied into it by the Judges themselves.

In particular I have argued that the Court must be careful not to take on the role of establishing rights and obligations, which is a legislative role and the responsibility of the Parliament.

But when the Court does interpret the plain words of the Constitution according to their ordinary meaning it should not be the subject of attacks such as that which has been unleashed by Mr Hogg.

Mr Hogg's conduct is deplorable. The Attorney General should immediately repudiate his attack and make it clear that the Labor Government does not endorse the views of the Labor Party on this issue.

End Release: Contact:

26 November 1992 Anthony Smith Canberra 277 4750 or AH (018) 324 009

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY tlBRARY MICAH