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Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Page: 12505


Mr McCLELLAND (BartonAttorney-General) (15:18): I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER: Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr McCLELLAND: Yes.

The SPEAKER: Please proceed.

Mr McCLELLAND: Last night in the Senate the shadow Attorney-General asserted that I had instructed lawyers appearing on behalf of the Commonwealth to present an argument in a matter before the High Court of Australia to the effect that every decision of the Federal Magistrates Court would be invalid. In fact, the relevant matter is before the Federal Court, not the High Court. It is quite inappropriate to make comments with respect to a matter before the courts but, in terms of the point of misrepresentation, Senator Brandis's comments were a complete misconstruction of correspondence sent by the Australian Government Solicitor to lawyers representing the Federal Magistrates Court. To the contrary of that which was asserted by Senator Brandis, the relevant correspondence was directed to narrowing the issues in the proceedings and to avoid doubts concerning the constitutional validity of the Federal Magistrates Courts and its arrangements—arrangements, I might add, that were put in place by the former government.