Friday, 2 September 2011

The utterings of a third world Julia Gillard | Without a 'Bill of Rights' the High Court is our only guardian

Julia Gillard denies her attack on the High Court breached separation of powers

Julia Gillard has dismissed as "ridiculous" suggestions she breached the separation of powers over the High Court's Malaysia decision, saying she simply presented the Australian people with the facts of the case.

The Prime Minister promised to release fresh legal advice from Solicitor-General Stephen Gageler about the legality of offshore processing, but will not release the advice underpinning the Malaysia Solution.

Ms Gillard yesterday said the High Court's ruling declaring the refugee swap deal unlawful was a “missed opportunity” and questioned the consistency of Chief Justice Robert French's ruling. She stood by the comments today.

“What I did was point out matters of fact and I think Australians are entitled to those facts and I don't resile from one word of what I said yesterday,” Ms Gillard told Sky News.

“Some of those precedents are from the current Chief Justice of the High Court himself.”

“So I pointed to simple facts, precedents, the way the law has been, the way the law was understood by the government based on its legal advice.” Ms Gillard said her comments contrasted with those of Howard government ministers who had directly questioned the integrity of the judiciary.

“They weren't factual statements pointing to precedents in the past, they were things like (former immigration minister) Philip Ruddock saying to High Court judges if you want to get involved in politics why don't you resign and run for parliament,” she said. “That was the tenor of the public debate then.”

Ms Gillard confirmed the government would release new legal advice on the future of offshore processing, which is now in doubt, but would not release previous advice on the Malaysian refugee swap. “We don't routinely release legal advice,” she said.

The Prime Minister also reiterated her support for the architect of the Malaysia deal, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, saying his was one of the toughest jobs in the government. “Chris Bowen looked and thought creatively about what we could do to could send the most powerful message to people-smugglers,” she said.


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