Dear Prime Minister.
We fully support Mr Dreyfus call for Senator Brandis to resign as we can’t afford to have a dictator in any government.
Unity Party WA
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UPWA is the only political Party that calls a spade a spade.
Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson flouts ‘radical’ directive from George Brandis14 Oct 2016, 6:17 p.m. – Tom McIlroy – SMH
The government’s top legal adviser says he will ignore a “radical” directive from Attorney-General George Brandis that prevents him giving advice directly to ministers and government departments, in the latest front in an escalating war between the country’s two most senior lawyers.
At a fiery Senate inquiry on Friday, Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson, SC, said a direction issued by Senator Brandis requiring ministers to obtain his written permission before seeking advice from Mr Gleeson was “unlawful”.
He said if the Governor-General or Prime Minister came to him directly for advice he would consider it his legal duty to make a “conscientious decision” to flout the direction and provide them with advice.
“It is a radical change,” Mr Gleeson said of the direction issued by Senator Brandis in May.
“Do I lie awake at night worrying about it? I have every night since 5 May, trying to determine how this could have come about and what is the correct way to try and respond to and remedy this situation.”
Legal experts have expressed concern the direction could see Mr Gleeson, who holds a statutory office and gives independent advice, “frozen out” from advising the government.
Mr Gleeson revealed on Friday that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had sought his advice in confidence in January “on a matter which I won’t mention”. Senator Brandis was not privy to the request.
He said that, “read literally”, the new direction would prevent him providing that advice “and yet I consider it’s my duty to do that under the Law Officers Act”.
The Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs references committee is examining allegations Senator Brandis misled Parliament by claiming Mr Gleeson was consulted about the legally-binding direction.
Appearing after Mr Gleeson, Senator Brandis said the direction was nothing more than “administrative housekeeping” and was consistent with the law and historical practice. He stood by “every word of every statement” he had made.
He said it was an “insult” to suggest, as former Commonwealth solicitor-general Gavan Griffith, QC, has claimed, that the direction was akin to keeping “a dog on a lead” because all barristers had an obligation to give frank and fearless advice.
He said the dispute with Mr Gleeson boiled down to a difference of opinion about the meaning of the word “consultation”. His understanding of the word was consistent with the Oxford English Dictionary definition but Mr Gleeson took a “narrower” view.
Senator Brandis conceded he did not raise the prospect of a binding legal direction with Mr Gleeson at a meeting on November 30 last year, saying he had not yet decided on that course of action.
However, he said his legal obligation to consult did not require it to be done “in some specific fashion” and there was consultation on the general “subject matter”.
Senator Brandis took aim at Mr Gleeson for having a conversation with shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus in June in which he denied he was consulted about the direction and said he did not agree with it.
He said Mr Gleeson “ought to have” told him about the conversation with one of the government’s “principal political enemies” during the election campaign and he was “shocked” he did not.
But Mr Gleeson said he considered it his duty to answer Mr Dreyfus’ questions and he was “also the shadow attorney-general, with responsibilities for these matters in the caretaker period”.
Mr Dreyfus said on Friday Senator Brandis had not put forward “the slightest justification” for the new direction.
“He was putting himself between the Governor-General and the Solicitor-General, he was putting himself between the Prime Minister and the Solicitor-General, he was putting himself between every secretary of a Commonwealth Department, every head of a Commonwealth agency,” he said.
Mr Dreyfus repeated his call for Senator Brandis to resign over the affair.