Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Government can’t be expected to act apolitically

In the Federal Court case launched by a legal team acting for Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, Solicitor-General David Bennett QC has argued that the Government has no legal duty to protect Hicks:

“There is no duty on the executive government to sit down every day and consider whether any particular request should or could be made to a particular foreign government,” Mr Bennett said.

As nearly as I can unpack Mr Bennett’s statement, I think it means that the Government has no legal compulsion to act, and may do so or not at its whim. Thus, the Government’s intercession on behalf of nationals who get into trouble overseas may be entirely subject to political considerations.

Essentially, the Government seems to be arguing that it can’t be expected to act upon each and every call for help from each and every Australian national who gets into trouble overseas.

Hmmm... just as the Prime Minister can’t be expected to give a running commentary on each and every issue of the day.

So, whether it’s foreign intercession or running commentary, the PM’s and the Government’s rule of thumb seems to hinge on the political imperatives case by case. At least there’s a certain inner consistency there, I guess.


Anonymous Phyliss said...

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10/11/08 11:53 PM  

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