News National George Brandis to quit Senate, move to UK: Reports

George Brandis to quit Senate, move to UK: Reports

George Brandis
A potential reshuffle this week will reportedly see Attorney-General George Brandis leave the Senate to replace Alexander Downer as UK High Commissioner. Photo: AAP
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After more than a year of speculation, the ABC has confirmed Attorney-General George Brandis will leave Parliament to take up the post of Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

The move will be announced as part of a broader pre-Christmas reshuffle of Malcolm Turnbull’s Cabinet, to be detailed tomorrow.

Among the contenders to replace Senator Brandis as attorney-general are Social Services Minister Christian Porter and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.

Mr Porter appears the frontrunner, having previously served as WA attorney-general and as a public prosecutor.

Senator Brandis entered federal parliament in 2000 and has been Attorney-General since Tony Abbott won the 2013 election.

He was shadow attorney-general from December 2007.

Senator Brandis has often been regarded as one of Parliament’s more reserved characters.

But in recent months, the Attorney-General has garnered praise for his more impassioned stance on a number of issues.

Among them, slamming Pauline Hanson for her “appalling” decision to don a burka during Senate Question Time, and his eloquent speeches during the same-sex marriage debate in advocating for a change to the law.

He was visibly emotional after Parliament passed the legislation earlier this month.

Despite those recent examples, Senator Brandis will also be remembered for some spectacular own goals.

His bitter public feud with then solicitor-general Justin Gleeson played out in front of the nation’s cameras, with the nation’s chief counsel arguing he lay awake at night concerned Senator Brandis was further trying to curtail the independence of his office.

Mr Gleeson resigned over what he described as a “broken” relationship with the Attorney-General, before joining the case against Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in the citizenship fiasco.

As the nation was debating the need for the Government to have greater access to the public’s digital information, the Attorney-General struggled to explain what metadata was during a live television interview.

He also spoke in Parliament of the “right to be bigots” during debate over racial discrimination laws.