Thursday, July 17, 2008

The People Are Watching

I find it quite encouraging that this article by Richard Ackland is rated "Most Viewed" at SMH today. Ackland deplores a Federal Court ruling on "security" yesterday, whereby the Attorney General can now issue "magic certificates in so-called security cases".
As if this legislative regime were not troubling enough, the court's handling of it can be described only as depressing. The reasons on Tuesday came from Justices Mark Weinberg, Annabelle Bennett and Richard Edmonds.

They accepted that even if hypothetically Hussain could have a complete answer to whatever is in the ASIO assessment, nonetheless the tribunal can never learn of that answer because it is not in a position to test any evidence led against him.

Even the Commonwealth's counsel, the next solicitor-general, Stephen Gageler, acknowledged that "a hearing of this nature could not be characterised as fair".

The important question then was whether judges who take part in this sort of process would erode the public confidence in the judiciary and judicial independence.

Not at all, the full court pronounced, and then gallivanted off to explain that there are lots of circumstances where judges quietly cross-dress as administrators. It cited the issuing of various warrants and control orders, judges sitting as royal commissioners and even Sir Owen Dixon becoming ambassador to the United States while on leave from the High Court, between 1942 and 1944.

Nonetheless, there remains a very nasty taste in the mouth about the raw and brutal way that judges are being jigged up under the security law to provide a "veneer of impartiality" to what really are rigged proceedings.

The court said it doubted that "ordinary members of the community" would be concerned that judicial integrity could be compromised by such an arrangement.

Where's the evidence for that?
I think the evidence is pretty obvious, given how many people are interested enough to follow this. Let's just hope Kevin Rudd is also paying attention.