A tussle between Attorney-General George Brandis and Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson intensified this week, and the outlook for their continued working relationship looks poor. The disagreement centres on whether Gleeson was properly consulted about a direction issued by Brandis about the provision of legal advice to the government.
Michelle Grattan tells University of Canberra vice-chancellor Deep Saini that it’s a bad look to have the first and second law officers fighting.
“It’s not going to get any better in the coming weeks because there’s a Senate inquiry which is dominated by the non-government side of politics and so that will be quite critical of George Brandis.”
“Then the Senate will vote on whether the direction that he has issued is disallowed or not. Now if it is disallowed, and there seems to be a high probability that it will be, then George Brandis ends with nothing but embarrassment. He hasn’t got his way on the direction and he’s been rebuffed by the Senate. So that’s a pretty unhappy outcome if that comes to pass,” Grattan says.
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra