Cost of High Court hear­ings should be borne by each MP

The Australian - - COMMENTARY -

The sec­tion 44 lawyers’ pic­nic that is play­ing out in Can­berra is a scan­dal (“$2m le­gal bill to save pol­lies’ jobs”, 12/10). Why does a case con­cern­ing seven MPs — who ba­si­cally stuffed up — re­quire nine QCs and 14 ju­nior bar­ris­ters, not to men­tion all of the solic­i­tors who are in­volved?

Why does for­mer in­de­pen­dent MP Tony Wind­sor need two QCs and a ju­nior bar­ris­ter? Why are tax­pay­ers foot­ing the bill for this ex­trav­a­gance of le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion?

Those in­volved, or their par­ties, should pay the bills. It is this sort of ex­trav­a­gance and mid­dle fin­ger to tax­pay­ers that brings the po­lit­i­cal class into dis­re­pute. Richard Shank­land, Pym­ble, NSW Who au­tho­rised the com­mon­wealth to pay the costs for the MPs’ High Court hear­ing? I know that Mal­colm Turnbull and Ge­orge Bran­dis said the com­mon­wealth was go­ing to cover the costs, but did they have the au­thor­ity? When these peo­ple signed the dec­la­ra­tions that they were Aus­tralian cit­i­zens and held no other ci­ti­zen­ship, they had not been elected. They were just cit­i­zens seek­ing elec­tion. The fig­ure of $2m should not be cov­ered by the com­mon­wealth for what a per­son did or did not do be­fore they be­came a mem­ber of par­lia­ment. Don Smith, Noosa, Qld

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