Turnbull has backed three of his ministers who publicly criticised the Victorian court of appeals. The ministers made their comments whilst the court was still deliberating over it's decision in the particular case involved. The court viewed the minister's comments as an attempt to influence the courts decision, and therefore may well be contempt of court.
It remains to be seen if the ministers will be charged with contempt. However if they are charged with contempt the gov will find itself in dire straights having only a one seat majority in the lower house.
Turnbull has now made this about the gov vs the independence of the Victorian judiciary. A move I think is just stupid. These ministers weren't just raving on at the pub to anyone who'd listen, they made their comments in the media to the whole of Australia.
We'll have to wait to see where this goes, but Turnbull's latest move may end up bringing down his gov. Surely it'd be easier for these arrogant men simply to apologise to the court for their error of judgment? Instead they seem to be throwing fuel on the fire. Hardly astute, but then we are talking about this gov....
Video below of the court reading out the allegation of contempt.
The shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, says the day before last Friday’s court hearing, the prime minister went on radio station 3AW and “backed in his ministers’ comments, despite knowing this matter was before the court the following day”.
In a radio interview last Thursday, Turnbull said the courts of justice “are not immune from public criticism”.
“The courts cannot be and are not immune from criticism which may extend to robust observations of a particular decision or penalty,” the prime minister said.
“Those three ministers, yes they are ministers in my government, they are members of parliament but they are also citizens of Victoria and residents of Victoria and you know, as your listeners do, that there is real concern about law and order and the failure of the state government and the system in Victoria to protect people”.
Turnbull went on to note that “in a free society a person is entitled to criticise the conduct of the courts or of a judge”.
Last Friday, three federal ministers, Greg Hunt, Alan Tudge and Michael Sukkar failed to apologise to the Victorian court of appeal for their comments describing judges as “hard-left activists”, “divorced from reality,” and conducting an “ideological experiment”.
The three retracted some remarks but did not apologise for their criticisms.
On Sunday, the ministers were not commenting ahead of the court’s ultimate deliberations.
If the three go on to be charged with contempt, it could imperil the government, given the Coalition holds government by a one seat majority. The Guardian
|Sydney Morning Herald|