You don't have to be a lawyer to believe that confidential conversations with judges should be kept confidential. And you don’t have to be a lawyer to ask for higher standards from our politicians who are tasked with administering laws, like the Attorney-General of Queensland, Jarrod Bleijie.
t's clear that Mr Bleijie's actions are taking Queensland backwards: we already know that his law "reforms" have damaged confidence in our judiciary, weakened the ability of the independent Crime and Misconduct Commission to stop corruption, and stripped away the rights of workers to be compensated for their injuries.
The departing Solicitor-General of Queensland, Walter Sofronoff QC, one of our state’s most senior law officers,has called on Mr Bleijie to resign after Mr Bleijie made public the contents of a confidential discussion between him and the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice McMurdo, in order to make a political point.
To quote from Mr Sofronoff's public letter:
"By his statement, evidently made solely to embarrass and undermine the President of the Court of Appeal, he has rendered it impossible for anybody to offer him honest and candid advice in confidence since he has shown that he is prepared to betray his confidence if he thinks that to do so might gain him momentary personal advantage. Indeed, it can be noted that if a public servant had been present at that conference and had revealed the content of the discussion, he or she would have committed an offence because the statutes of Queensland impose duties of secrecy upon public servants in relation to confidential matters learned in the course of duties and they impose criminal punishment for breaches. (...)
In my opinion, the conduct of Mr Bleijie constitutes a breach of his duty as Attorney General to keep confidential the content of discussions which were held in confidence. It has also prejudiced his capacity to carry out one of the duties of his office. (...) Queensland deserves much, much better from its first law officer."
You can read the full text of the letter here.
The President of the Law and Justice Institute of Queensland, Peter Callaghan SC, is quoted as saying that Mr Bleijie's actions raise a "legitimate question about what it means to be an Attorney-General within a Westminster government."
It's not good enough: sign the petition and share it with your friends.
After the government's failures to protect judicial independence and its actions in passing extreme laws that undermine confidence in our Westminster system, there can be only one solution.
Sign the petition to demand the Attorney-General's resignation.