Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra
Solicitor-General supports Dutton's eligibility for parliament, but with caveats

The Solicitor-General, Stephen Donoghue, has supported Peter Dutton’s eligibility to sit in the parliament, but with significant cautions.

The equivocation in the opinion, coming hours before the noon party meeting, further confuses the bitter fight underway for the leadership, in which Scott Morrison and Julie Bishop are also contenders.

The advice relates to whether Dutton could be in breach of the pecuniary interest part of section 44 of the Constitution, as a result of an interest in childcare centres through a trust.

The Solicitor-General says that in his opinion “the better view is that Mr Dutton is not incapable of sitting”.

Section 44 applies only when there is an “agreement with the public service of the Commonwealth”. The Solicitor-General believes there was no such agreement between the trust and the Commonwealth.

But “it is impossible to state the position with certainty”.

This was because

  • the facts concerning Dutton were unlike any that had previously been assessed

  • there might be further facts that he (the Solicitor-General) did not know

  • there was significant division of opinion on the High Court on key questions about the legal operation of the section, making it hard to predict how the court would find.

“I consider there to be some risk, particularly in light of the substantial size of the payments that appear to have been made by the Commonwealth to RHT Investments, that the High Court might conclude that there is a significant conflict between Mr Dutton’s duty as a parliamentarian and his personal interests”, giving Dutton an indirect pecuniary interest on that basis.

“However, while that risk cannot be entirely discounted, it would remain necessary for the Court to identify an agreement in which Mr Dutton held that interest. I am unable to identify that agreement.

"For that reason, I consider that the High Court is more likely to conclude that the size of the payments made to RHT Investments is not relevant to the s 44(v) analysis, because those payments were made pursuit to statutory entitlements of particular individuals who use child care services operated by RHT Investments.

"Finally, I consider it unlikely that Mr Dutton is disqualified by reason of payments made to RHT Investments under the Inclusion Support Program (ISP)” which provides childcare payments.

Dutton released a statement saying:

“Today I received advice from the Solicitor-General that in his view I am capable of sitting as a Member of the House of Representatives.

This confirms the legal advice which I received from the former Solicitor-General David Bennett AC QC yesterday and the advice I received from Guy Reynolds SC on 4 December 2017 and 23 August 2018.

David Bennett AC QC, who served 10 years as Commonwealth Solicitor-General, was recently successful in the High Court in Re Canavan and provided advice to Malcolm Turnbull on the eligibility of Justine Keay, Susan Lamb and Rebekha Sharkie, later confirmed by the High Court.

The consistent and strong advice which I have received puts to rest the false, unsubstantiated and malicious claims regarding my eligibility to sit as a Member of Parliament.”

Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Read more http://theconversation.com/solicitor-general-supports-duttons-eligibility-for-parliament-but-with-caveats-102097

My Fair Lady: Greatest Musical of the 20th Century


How to Turn 1Z0-931 Exam Preparation into Successful Career


The Ultimate Guide for Tarps


The Conversation


Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

FORDHAM: Thank you very much for talking to us. I know it's a difficult day for all of those Qantas workers. Look, they want to know in the short term, are you going to extend JobKeeper?   PRI...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison interview with Neil Mitchell

NEIL MITCHELL: Prime minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, how are you?   MICHELL: I’m okay, a bit to get to I apologise, we haven't spoken for a while and I want to get t...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham

PRIME MINISTER: I've always found that this issue on funerals has been the hardest decision that was taken and the most heartbreaking and of all the letters and, you know, there's been over 100...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

SEO In A Time of COVID-19: A Life-Saver

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about a lot of uncertainty for everyone across the world. It has had one of the most devastating impacts on the day-to-day lives of many including business o...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

5 Ways Risk Management Software Can Help Your Business

No business is averse to risks. Nobody can predict the future or even plan what direction a business is going to take with 100% accuracy. For this reason, to avoid issues or minimise risks, some for...

News Company - avatar News Company

5 Ways To Deal With Unemployment and Get Back Into the Workforce

Being unemployed has a number of challenges and they’re not all financial. It can affect you psychologically and sometimes it can be difficult to dig your way out of a rut when you don’t have a job ...

News Company - avatar News Company

News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion