Tim Blair


New Criterion



Friday, October 22, 2004
Leave the country! bellows High Court judge Michael Kirby this morning. He's talking to those peasants, or Parliamentarians, foolish enough to want fundamental reform of our industrial relations system.
Those who want more dramatic change, as distinct from constant adjustment, need to look for another country.
Kirby's really a very helpful fellow. We don't want our elected Parliaments wasting their time making laws that our High Court has already decided against.

Kirby's comments of course bear no relation to the pending government majority in the Senate, and the Prime Minister's statement yesterday that "My first goal in IR is to implement what we've tried to implement in the past which the Senate has blocked in the past". If Kirby was responding to the PM that would constitute a very direct judicial involvement in politics, and no responsible High Court judge would be guilty of such a breach of our constitutional principles.

Julian Burnside is not yet a judge, but he also wants judges to take power out of the hands of legislators. Burnside's chosen instrument is a Bill of rights. He assumes that such a law would prevent governments continuing our present refugee policy, whatever they or their electors think about it.
The Federal Government's handling of asylum seekers was among Australia's best arguments for a bill of rights, refugee advocate Julian Burnside, QC, said yesterday.

Mr Burnside told the Australian Lawyers Alliance national conference that the Government had breached "baseline" values in laws that validated inhumane treatment of refugees.
Well, we can argue about what is 'inhumane' treatment, but with a Bill it'll be our Michael and our Julian who'll be deciding what the word means.

Burnside has said our government's refugee policy is a "continuing crime against humanity" and that John Howard is "a war criminal and un-Christian".

Kirby and Burnside have refugee policy and it means Howard, you and I should become refugees as soon as possible.

Later: Janet Albrechtsen fisks an earlier manifesto of Justice Kirby's.