Joyce decisions ‘vulnerable’ – PM
JULIE Bishop has admitted a few of Barnaby Joyce’s ministerial decisions may be vulnerable to legal challenge after his disqualification from Parliament by the High Court.
In her first official outing as Acting Prime Minister yesterday, Ms Bishop told reporters in Perth that Attorney-General George Brandis was seeking legal advice on those decisions.
It came after Labor released legal advice that more than 100 decisions made by Mr Joyce and ousted Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash could be open to a legal challenge.
Ms Bishop rejected Labor’s claims, saying most of the decisions were not made solely by Mr Joyce.
“Cabinet has made the majority of the decisions,” she said.
“Appointments, for example, made by the Governor-General and executive council were signed off by the GovernorGeneral on advice by the Cabinet.
“There may be a few decisions – the AttorneyGeneral has said that we’ll look at those – but the vast majority of decisions are made by Cabinet.”
Education Minister Simon Birmingham told Adelaide radio FiveAA yesterday morning: “I’ve got no doubt the Labor Party, organisations like GetUp! will want to egg on legal challenges to administrative type decisions, not necessarily decisions of the Parliament, but administrative decisions made by the minister of the day.
“I doubt that there’ll end up being a problem there either and it will just be a case of them, yet again, seeking to play more politics.”
But Mr Joyce went on the offensive, daring Labor to “go right ahead” and challenge dozens of ministerial decisions he made while ineligible.
“The ones they want to reverse are the ones that help regional Australia, and as the Labor Party goes to an election in Queensland, this is your Labor Party, fellas – it doesn’t look after regional people,” he said.
“If the Labor Party want to challenge a whole heap of decisions to make poor people poorer and to show they have absolutely no vision of regional Australia, go right ahead fellas, because we have got the Queensland election on and we will be reminding everybody about how completely and utterly out of place you are with regional Australia.”
Legal advice obtained by Labor says it is highly likely there will be a challenge to some decisions made by the Mr Joyce and the also disqualified ex-Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash.
But it is unlikely to be brought by Labor. Party insiders suggest it could be financially aggrieved third parties such as irrigators.
Australian Council of Trade Unions boss Sally McManus said told the Daily Telegraph legal advice was being sought about whether unions could challenge Mr Joyce’s “illegitimate votes” against a reversal of the February penalty rate cuts.
In Israel, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the “turmoil and chaos” in the government and Parliament “could have been avoided if Turnbull had simply stood Joyce aside until the High Court had made its decision”.