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The rule of law, politicians and the old mates act.

The Rule of Law - the principle that every person and organisation is subject to the same laws and punishment and not to the arbitrary wishes of individuals or the passing whim of the day.

(Taken from the appeal judgement in the matter of HANSON, Pauline Lee)

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You may recall our extensive efforts last year to get Senator Michaelia Cash to explain her statement:

"Julia Gillard is a former prime minister and because of that she won't be charged"

(see story at the foot of this post).

Today, Senator Cash and her former staff are in the news again with the AFP's statement to the media that no charges will be laid following the apparently improper leaks regarding a police raid on the AWU.

In the context of both of those unsettling issues, StephenJ has been in contact pointing out the following extracts from the Queensland Supreme Court judgement which cleared Pauline Hanson and David Ettridge.  

Here's StephenJ's note:

Hello Michael

Mc Murdo became President of the Qld Court of appeal.

She was appointed by the Labor Party to increase the number of female judges.

So was Atkinson who was the trial judge.

Mc Murdo is regarded as having some smarts. Atkinson was not.

Anyway I thought the highlighted comment from the appeal in Hansons case had some relevance to the cover up for Gillard.

http://www7.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/qld/QCA/2003/488.html

 

 

[51] The appellants were convicted and sentenced on 20 August this year. It is common knowledge that convictions and sentences are subject to a lawful appeal process. The appellant Hanson appealed against her conviction on 26 August 2003 and applied for leave to appeal against her sentence on 27 August 2003; the appellant Ettridge filed his notice of appeal against conviction and his application for leave to appeal against sentence on 1 September 2003. The appellants' conviction and sentence attracted a deal of media attention and public interest. Senior members of the legislature, many of whom were trained lawyers, were reported in the media as making inappropriate comments about this case.

[52] The Prime Minister is quoted as saying: "on the face of it, it does seem a very long, unconditional sentence for what she is alleged to have done".[5]

[53] Former Federal Minister and now senior backbencher, Ms Bronwyn Bishop, was reported as likening the prosecution of this matter to something one would expect in Zimbabwe under the regime of the tyrant, Robert Mugabe:

"It's gone beyond just political argy-bargy of political opponents ... I've been very critical of her and her party, but this is something that is above and beyond that political argument - this is someone who has been sent to jail because she spoke her views and that is not acceptable in this country. Very simply, for the first time in Australia, we now have a political prisoner and I find that totally unacceptable ... in a country where freedom of speech and freedom to act as a political individual is sacrosanct."[6]

[54] The New South Wales Premier was reported as saying that the sentence seemed excessive because it was "almost a crime without a victim".[7]

[55] Western Australian One Nation MP, Frank Hough, was reported as saying that Hanson had been "hounded into prison ... . All she's guilty of is naivety and inexperience."[8]

[56] The Queensland One Nation leader, Bill Flynn, was reported as saying that he believed there had been "considerable political pressures" behind the case.[9]

[57] As far as I have been able to ascertain, there has been no retraction of any of these comments. If these observations were accurately reported, they are concerning. They demonstrate, at the least, a lack of understanding of the Rule of Law, the principle that every person and organisation is subject to the same laws and punishment and not to the arbitrary wishes of individuals or the passing whim of the day. Such statement from legislators could reasonably be seen as an attempt to influence the judicial appellate process and to interfere with the independence of the judiciary for cynical political motives.

[58] Fortunately, many legislators asked to comment on the case responded with appropriate restraint. For example, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Downer, pointed out that Hanson's sentence "was a legal decision, not politically driven"[10] and the Deputy Prime Minister and the Federal Treasurer each noted that "the matter was one for the courts".[11]

[59] A failure by legislators to act with similar restraint in the future, whether out of carelessness or for cynical short-term political gain, will only undermine confidence in the judiciary and consequentially the democratic government of this State and nation.

[60] I agree with the reasons and orders proposed by the Chief Justice.

 

Her Honour was right then and she's right now.

Regardless of whether it's a weak coalition government or an incoming Labor administration, Ms Gillard must be held to the same standard as you or I would be - so for that matter should Senator Cash.

We'll continue to campaign on this issue until we see justice.

 

Next steps in escalating the Senator Cash quote "As a former PM, Gillard won't be charged"

It's now 5 weeks since we first asked Senator Michaelia Cash to explain this statement:

"Julia Gillard is a former prime minister and because of that she won't be charged".

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On 2 May we ran a story on corruption involving the parent company of Thiess Contractors which paid over $400,000 into the Gillard/Wilson 1990s slush fund.  At the time Ralph Blewitt was the only person facing charges over the crimes and we brought you the news:

On 25 May 2018 Ralph Blewitt will make his first appearance in the Perth District Court........  (In his trial he will) call Bruce WILSON, Julia GILLARD, Bernard MURPHY, Nick JUKES, Joe TRIO and others to the witness box -  along with documents created or authorised by them.

We also wrote about my private prosecution alleging GILLARD knowingly gave false evidence to the Trade Union Royal Commission.

In that context it was worrying to hear that Minister for Jobs Senator Cash was reported to have said that Gillard wouldn't face charges because she's a former PM.

I wrote at the time:

If that is so it makes for a marked departure from our traditions of equal justice before the law.

I will today ask Minister Cash to confirm whether or not that's the government's position.

Many of our readers wrote to the Senator and asked her to confirm the quote.

On 16 May 2018 we published a follow up Senator Michaelia Cash and protecting Ms GILLARD

By this stage dozens of readers were writing to Senator Cash.

It's now 5 weeks down the track and Senator Cash hasn't answered a single query from our readers.

Here are two Senators who might take Senator Cash to task in the Senate.

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senator.hanson@aph.gov.au

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senator.leyonhjelm@aph.gov.au

It's a simple question,  

"Senator Cash, did you say, 'Julia Gillard is a former prime minister and because of that she won't be charged (with offences arising from The AWU Scandal)?'"

Let me know how you get on! 

UPDATE

Reader "I" was quick off the mark having emailed both Senators just now:

Sent similar to both Senators.  
Regards,
"I"
 
 
Hello David,
Thank you for all of your work especially lately on DFAT donations.  I wonder if you could try and get an answer for me from Ms Cash please.  I and many others have asked her to clarify whether she said words to the effect that 'Julia Gillard is a former Prime Minister and because of that she won't be charged' (with offences arising from The AWU Scandal).  I personally have emailed her twice and not even received any acknowledgment of my email.  This question is particularly relevant in light of charges agains Ralph Blewett being recently dropped in WA.
Thank you for your help,
"I"
 
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