Upholding People's Right

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Law of unlawful dismissal

Ruling case
High Court's response

Attorneys-General's responses

Prime Minister's Department's responses
Department of Employment's responses
Senate's response to petition
Senate's response to submission

Other websites and radio published the matter

The Attorneys-General’s responses

A.        The Australian Government Solicitor’s reason (the letter in response to the Notice of Constitutional Matter of the appeal against the ruling case) for not intervening in the proceedings against the ruling case:

‘If special leave to appeal is granted, the Attorney-General might decide to intervene in the appeal’.

Section 78B of the Judiciary Act 1903 provides:

‘it is the duty of the court not to proceed in the cause unless and until the court is satisfied that notice of the cause, specifying the nature of the matter has been given to the Attorneys-General of the Commonwealth and of the States, and a reasonable time has elapsed since the giving of the notice for consideration by the Attorney-General, of the question of intervention in the proceedings or removal of the cause to the High Court.’

Under the Judiciary Act, all constitutional matters in the court ought to be raised to the Attorneys-General’s attention ‘for consideration by the Attorney-General’; however, the Federal Attorney-General believes he is too busy to follow the Judiciary Act. He made a policy to direct all constitutional matters to be considered by some solicitors (see the Federal Attorney-General’s policy page 1, 2, 3 and 4) (The Attorney-General may have breached the Judiciary Act with his policy delegating his duty.) Of course the solicitors clearly know that their duty is not to bother the Attorney-General with the constitutional matters; therefore, the best thing that the solicitors can do is doing nothing.

B.        The Victorian Government Solicitor (the Victorian Government Solicitor’s letter) provided its reason for not intervening in the proceeding against the ruling case law:

‘As a general rule, the Attorney-General does not intervene in special leave applications. The High Court has indicated previously that it is not appropriate as, until leave is granted, there is nothing to intervene in’.

C.        Victorian Attorney-General (the Victorian Attorney-General’s letter) held the state had no jurisdiction on this matter saying :

‘You indicated that you are interested in employees’ rights under the Australian Constitution. I suggest you write to the Federal Attorney-General with your views in relation to this issue, as this is within the Federal Government’s responsibility’.

Victorian Attorney-General not only can address issue within the Federal Government’s responsibility but also within US government’s responsibility (The Age’s report ). On 28 February 2007 Victorian Attorney-General proudly stated:  (the Victorian Parliament’s hansard of 28 February 2007 at page 477-478)

‘I make a statement today not as a partisan but as Victoria’s chief law officer and the person charged with the defence of legal principles in this state. I take this duty seriously, as do my state and territory counterparts. Accordingly we have signed the Fremantle Declaration… As elected members of Parliament in this state, regardless of our partisans, we cannot afford to take the same politically expedient path as Mr Ruddock’.

Obviously, the Victorian Attorney-General knew what he could do and what he should do; however, he took a politically expedient path as Mr Ruddock did and failed to defence the constitutional principle that Australians have the right and obligation to follow the laws at workplaces.