The rule of law & the ACT Government

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Aug 14, 2011
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Is the rule of law more trouble in the ACT than its worth to its Government ?

'More akin to a local council, the ACT government rarely attracts much attention. This lack of interest in what happens in a region of less than a half-million people means good governance is far from a given. The old phrase that sunlight is the best disinfectant has never been applied more aptly.

The government’s response to the Sofronoff report was dismal for anyone interested in the rule of law. Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury were more troubled by a leak of the final report than the findings of a damning report into the conduct of the chief prosecutor they appointed.

Barr said a straight reading of the Inquiries Act clearly indicated that Walter Sofronoff KC had contravened section 17. In going after the messenger of bad news, Barr didn’t bother to get legal advice first. It is the sure sign of a rotting government for the Chief Minister to concoct a media distraction to serious findings that the ACT’s then director of public prosecutions, on numerous occasions, breached his duties as a prosecutor, including by making false statements to the ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice.

It will be further evidence of a rotting government if Barr and Rattenbury do not respond appropriately to letters sent to them last week by Sofronoff; and to former DPP Shane Drumgold’s legal claim against the ACT board of inquiry and ACT government.'


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