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The Forum > Article Comments > Howard Government, Howard judiciary, Howard legislature > Comments

Howard Government, Howard judiciary, Howard legislature : Comments

By Joe Ludwig, published 29/6/2005

Joe Ludwig argues for judicial reform in Australia.

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I believe that Ludwig's arguments are those that would be promoted by any shadow gov't be it right or left leaning.
It has long been the pervue of the victorious to appoint the high judges that agree with the philosophy of the incumbent party. And the longer the populace returns the party to power the more the high court is going to be stacked with that parties philosophies.

Having said all that there is always room to let a little sunshine into the nomination and appointment process. This could insure that more centrist appointees make it onto the bench and the backroom political hacks and raving loonies are left to the wayside.

There was nothing wrong with the US process where the Senate would approve the appointment of the President. This process has come unbuttoned though with the rise of the religious right and their one issue politics. Now, unless the presidential appointee is anti-abortion, anti-gun control and has never wavered from this stance throughout his/her life there is not much chance of approval.

With our great Aussie embrace of the tall poppy syndrome, how are we ever going to get great minds/thinkers to accept an appointment to the bench and to accept the public grilling (ratification) by all the special interests which would come out through a more public or open arena?
Posted by Bruce, Wednesday, 29 June 2005 12:52:32 PM
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I would agree with you Bruce
the title itself
"Howard Government, Howard Judiciary, Howard Legislative"

- oozes the attitude and divisiveness of the loser.

We should all start to realise we have the government which, like it or not was elected under our fair and tested process.

So the "pseudo-intellectual know alls" of academia and the "rent-a-mob" managers of the union movement, who run the socialist side of politics, have been finally found out for what they are is just too bad.

Far better
"Howard Government, Howard Judiciary, Howard Legislative"
Than
"Latham Government, Latham Judiciary, Latham Legislative"

Strange the way these socialists just cannot handle "government of the people, by the people, for the people"
As we see with Latham - they just want the power to impose their dogma on us all, regardless of what we really think -

and when they lose they just get vicious and even turn on their own to help vent their inadequacies.
Posted by Col Rouge, Wednesday, 29 June 2005 1:12:14 PM
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Col, the article was untitled when it came to us. Blame us for it.
Posted by GrahamY, Wednesday, 29 June 2005 10:30:17 PM
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Col,

I agree with you 100%. One other thing that Ludwig just doesn't get is that not only is the High Court independent of the legislature, it has a different function to the legislature. The Court is their to rule according to the law whether they agree with the law or not. Their job is NOT to make their own law - especially when it is contrary to the intent of the parliament. But try telling that to former Justices like Mason, Dean and Gaudron, and before them (In)Justice Lionel Murphy who, by the way, was a straight out political appointment by the Whitlam govt (Murphy was AG under Whitlam for a time) - and of course Whitlam turned out to be a criminal (like several other former ALP members) who tried to use his Judicial power to save a mate. So Ludwig can hardly complain.

Thankfully, we presently only have one such judge - Michael Kirby - who like Murphy is a serial dissenter. Kirby seems more interested in the rulings of foreign courts, and more concerned with European developments and international conventions than he is with the laws of Australia.

I'm all for increasing the transparency of Judicial appointments but I don't want the actual mechanics of appointment to change. There is no place in our courts for judicial activists who make the law up according to their own views instead of judging according to the will of elected parliament.
Posted by Aslan, Wednesday, 29 June 2005 11:30:05 PM
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joe,

Given that the High Court is a significant institution with the responsibility of ensuring all governments act in a constitutional manner I think it would be far more beneficial that there be a constitutional amendment to alter the appointment process.

I would recommend that the Governor-in-Council could only make an appointment based on a formal resolution from the Premier's Conference. Furthermore a two thirds majority would be required. That way all elected governments within our federal system would have real input into the appointment. I do not favour placing significant power into the hands of unelected experts. We do not need to entrench significant power into the hands of unrepresentative professional cliques.

But lets make the arrangements truly federal as opposed to the unitarist system we now have.
Posted by slasher, Thursday, 30 June 2005 9:40:23 PM
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The best example of the completely political nature of some of the High Court's decisions is their interpretation of section 41 of the constitution. The thought that the power of the commonwealth can be restricted in any way is alien to a court appointed by federal politicians. John Howard, (whom I otherwise admire), has shown himself, like so many others on the other side, to be an out-and-out centralist determined to increase the power of the Commonwealth. Is it any surprise then that when the Court makes political decisions they come in for criticism and ridicule? I cannot see any way that this can be changed as any referendum on the issue would be rejected by the people, as no privileged group ever voluntarily surrenders power, and it seems hardly likely that federal politicians would propose a referendum reducing the power of the Commonwealth.
Posted by plerdsus, Thursday, 30 June 2005 11:18:16 PM
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