Queensland’s attorney-general says reports of hostility between the judiciary and the government have been exaggerated.
Jarrod Bleijie says some remarks about a “cooling of relations” between judges and the government over new laws aimed at bikies and sex offenders have been blown out of proportion.
He made the comments in a speech to judges, barristers and other members of the legal fraternity at a Christmas ceremony at the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Wednesday.
He said it was ok for politicians and judges to disagree, so long as they did so in a civil fashion, and he said that had been the case in recent months.
“What is important to observe is that whilst the legislators and members of the legal community may, from time to time, disagree on important issues, that criticism should respect the institutional integrity of both the executive and the judiciary,” Mr Bleijie said.
He said the government and the people of Queensland continued to have confidence in the courts to dispense justice.
“Lest the view from one end of George Street to the other has become blurred, the government and people of Queensland continue to have full confidence in the members of this and every court of the state to dispense justice according to their oaths taken.”
Some judges and lawyers have been at odds with Mr Bleijie in recent months, questioning both inside and outside court some of the new laws he’s introduced.
Mr Bleijie has launched a series of appeals relating to his bikie and sex offender laws, citing his view that some rulings have not reflected community expectations.
And he’s said, particularly in relation to sex offenders, that as far as victims are concerned, Queensland has a legal system, not a justice system.
on Tuesday, Mr Bleijie said he would look to appeal reduced sentences given to three bikies who refused to give evidence at Crime and Misconduct Commission hearings.
In giving the men reduced sentences, Supreme Court judge Peter Applegarth referred to the government’s harsh new jail conditions that apply for bikies, including solitary confinement.
As he flagged the possibility of appeals in those cases, he said the sentences failed to set a deterrent and weren’t in line with what the community wanted.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says he’s reviewing the case.