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Checks and balances vital to democracy: Andren.



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Peter Andren MP - Independent Member for Calare

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11th September 2001

Checks And Balances Vital To Democracy - Andren

Today’s Federal Court decision that the Tampa asylum seekers should be released and brought to the Australian mainland is an example of our democracy at work, according to Independent Federal Member for Calare Peter Andren.

“I have no doubt Justice North’s decision will lead to criticisms that the courts - not the government - run Australia, but this is not the case,” Mr Andren said.

“The checks and balances between the government, parliament and the courts are vital to our democracy.

“Without this so-called ‘separation of powers’ we would run the risk of having dictatorship control over every facet of our lives,” he said.

“As Justice North stressed in his decision ‘the role of the Court is to determine questions of law’ not ‘to interfere in the policy decisions made by government’.

“But it is the role of the Courts to determine if the government has acted within the law and that is what Justice North has done today.

“Under our system of government, the Government make laws, Parliament passes them and then when asked, the courts assess whether actions under the laws are legal or not.

“That’s all that has happened today, and the Government has its chance to appeal the decision, or introduce alternative laws to Parliament if it chooses.

“The founding fathers put these checks and balances in the Constitution to provide for stable government and protect individual rights in times of crisis such as this.

“I hope the people of Calare are mature enough to understand today’s decision isn’t a threat to our system of government as some will argue, but an example of why ours is such a model democracy,” he added.

For more information, Peter Andren: 02 6332 6229 or 041 961 2991

Eds: Copies of Justice North’s Judgement with Executive Summary can be viewed at:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/federal_ct/2001/1297.html