Joyce de­ci­sions ‘vul­ner­a­ble’ – PM

The Daily Examiner - - NEWS - Claire Bick­ers and Ky­lar Lous­sikian, The Daily Tele­graph

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”.

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