19th Jun 2017

Ministers refuse to apologise for criticism of Victorian judiciary

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Ministers refuse to apologise for criticism of Victorian judiciary
Leon Della Bosca

Three Turnbull Government ministers have been threatened with contempt charges for their public criticism of Victorian judicial system.

Last week, Greg Hunt, Alan Tudge and Michael Sukkar, all qualified lawyers, accused the Victorian legal system of conducting "ideological experiments", focusing on terrorists' rights rather than victims, and claiming that some judges were "divorced from reality".

They’ve suggested that the judicial system in Victoria is too lenient when sentencing terrorists.

The ministers have been threatened with contempt charges, because their comments were made public prior to decisions in two appeal cases. If found guilty, the ministers could lose their parliamentary seats.



The three have retracted parts of their statements, but have refused to apologise.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has backed his ministers’ actions, saying: "It's a matter of real public interest and my ministers are focused on public safety."

Mr Turnbull also said that courts are "not immune from public criticism" and that the courts had, in the past, called on the public to keep them in check.

The crossbench senator who has the most experience with contempt charges, Derryn Hinch, slammed the court for threatening the trio of outspoken senators.

"The three ministers were well within their rights to do what they did," said Mr Hinch. "If I was the minister I would have told them to go jump. Courts are not inviolate."

"I watched the performance yesterday and those guys up there in their black robes, it was like something out of Kafka.

"If that's contempt of court, I couldn't give a shit."

Franz Kafka's The Trial is a story about a man who is arrested and must defend himself against a bureaucratic court system despite not knowing what the charges against him are.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce took a more sensible tack, saying: "If the court says that there's an issue here then I'm going to shut up”, adding that not commenting was “unusual for me."

Melbourne lawyer Rob Stary has filed a complaint with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, alleging that the MPs had "scandalised the court”, that their comments were designed to influence the court and that they warrant contempt of court charges.

"We say there's been a flagrant breach of that doctrine, particularly from people who should know better," said Mr Stary.

"It's not open slather," he added.

"Judges are independent and they should be free from any political interference."

Opinion: Ministers should focus on their own jobs

Whatever cases in which the Victorian Supreme Court system is currently involved should not be worrying Federal Government ministers. They should be focusing on their own portfolios and leaving the courts to administer the law.

Greg Hunt, Alan Tudge and Michael Sukkar have enough to worry about without taking on the Victorian judiciary.

Health Minister Greg Hunt should be concerned about the sustainable funding of health care, with a special focus on maintaining the wellbeing of an ageing population.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge could do with keeping his face out of the media, especially after his ongoing mismanagement of Centrelink’s robo-debt fiasco, calling the welfare system “poison” for anyone who actually depends on it and the unjust leaking to the media of a welfare recipient’s personal details.

Michael Sukkar is the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer and he should be worried more about the nation’s bottom line than court sentencing in Victoria.

It almost seems as if the Federal Coalition is conducting a bit of a witch hunt against the Victorian Labor Government. Premier Daniel Andrews is running a tight ship in Victoria, with successful environmental and economic initiatives that are making the Coalition Government look like a second-rate operation. Unlike the Federal Government, Victoria is showing a healthy surplus. The Government still hasn’t forgiven Mr Andrews for pulling the plug on the East West Link. One can’t help but think that this is an attempt by federal MPs to sully the state’s reputation.

Regardless of their right to an opinion in the sentencing of terrorists – and they may well have a point – these men all have a job to do, and this all reeks of distracting the public from their inability to do their jobs.

And Mr Hinch couldn’t be more wrong about his correlation to Kafka’s The Trial. In Kafka’s novel, the protagonist is not aware of his charges. These three ministers are lawyers who should know the lines they can and cannot cross. They should know better.

Let’s face it. Commenting on terrorism is all the rage at the moment and these federal ministers appear to have hopped on the populist bandwagon.

It’s the equivalent of political sleight of hand.

When our federal politicians start doing their jobs well, then they can start telling other people how to do theirs, leaving the courts to determine and rule on the legislated laws.

Do you think Mr Hunt, Mr Tudge and Mr Sukkar should stick to their own tasks instead of butting in on others? Or were their comments warranted? Is it fair that they may be charged with contempt? Or is this all another distraction from the real issues at hand? Is the Victorian Supreme Court being a bit sensitive and over-reacting?

Related articles:
AFP won't investigate Tudge leak
Health funds bank huge profits
Sukkar's advice for future home buyers





COMMENTS

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Mandomick
19th Jun 2017
10:41am
Like the rest of society these courts should be open to criticism and be held accountable for their decisions.
Ductape
20th Jun 2017
10:35am
Exactly! Those who interpret the judicial system in this country appear to have lost their way. They seem no longer to understand the fundamental principal of justice which is - not only should justice be done, it should also be seen to be done!

If this is no longer the case - then those responsible should be held accountable. Judges and magistrates are NOT a law unto themselves.
buby
21st Jun 2017
12:33pm
Yes i agree with you totally there mandomick, I don't blame them for not apologizing, the Judges and courts should be held accountable, i mean they are supposed to know What the heck they are doing.
But do they!!!
HDRider
19th Jun 2017
10:58am
These Judges need a reality check, they are overpaid useless farts who don't even live in the real world! Sentencing has become a farce across the board in courts throughout the land. Furthermore, these Judges sitting in their ivory towers ripping of the tax payers money to a job that most of them are incapable of, constantly interfere with the govt's both fed and state, they have far too much power and it should be reigned in. The lawyer that has threatened/complained of these ministers should know better, and he should get on with his job and mind his own!
What you say is that these ministers cannot comment on anything, but should rather get on with being ministers 24/7, don't be ridiculous, they are concerned citizens (now being threatened by the very judicial system that is supposed to protect US) and are entitled to voice their opinions at some stage just as the rest of us are.
Hinch's dig was more at these eleteist judges sitting up there in their ivory towers making some woeful decisions and affecting many innocent people in society.
The LAW IS AN ASS, no question.
Waiting to retire at 70
19th Jun 2017
11:20am
Take a deep breath HD. The "ASS" in you is showing.

Even The Australian newspaper knew enough to apologise and withdraw.

Learn a little about the legal system before you mouth your ignorance. Or are you 'bucking' to be a candidate for Pauline Hanson's One Neuron Party?
HDRider
19th Jun 2017
1:13pm
I know all I need to know about it Waiting to retire, having worked in it for MANY years. You on the other hand need too see a little more of it, you come on here merely to have a go at a political party, WTF has Hanson to do with anything here you pathetic moron!
Maybe if and when you and or your family are affected directly by the law and sentencing handed down by cretins like yourself you will alter your opinion, and I see you have your opinion on here too.
The Australian? They have nothing to do with what happened, they merely reported, why do you drag others into this, you part of this idiot law making are you?
TREBOR
19th Jun 2017
3:23pm
The theory is that the courts should be above interference - which does not mean they are free to make every self-serving interpretation they want.

For far too long, in this country, the lower courts have been nothing less than engines of revenue chasing for government and with a corollary issue of keeping the peasants in line.

Anyone with any experience at all will tell you that unless you are a major and real criminal, you essentially have no rights in a court in this nation, and for some odd reason, real criminals seem to get a better run at bail etc.

That is one reason I've long called for a Royal Commission into the judiciary and into jurisprudence - quite simply - the instruments of Law in this nation have never gotten beyond their convict colony beginning, and still see themselves as part of the 'thin blue line' or both police and government, rather than as true servants of Law Itself.
Waiting to retire at 70
19th Jun 2017
3:56pm
Well aspiring Senator HDRider, thanks for the typical One Neuron Party erudite response ... like your leader, you too are a perfect example of "a little knowledge being dangerous."

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, you have gotten it wrong ... surprise, surprise. The Australian was also a party to the show cause notice issued by the court register to the LNP's 3-Stooges.
trood
19th Jun 2017
4:42pm
I'm with you HD rider !!!
Kali-G
19th Jun 2017
6:01pm
An EXCELLENT reply!
JAID
19th Jun 2017
6:31pm
HD Rider - As you have worked in the area, " they are overpaid useless farts" comes as a surprise. I have read judgements where I may contemplate whether that applies but too have read magnificent works of considerable depth and clarity resolved in simple appropriate response. These were works of masterful, rational minds that could not have come easily, without careful research and reasoning.
ex PS
20th Jun 2017
10:40am
We have seen what happens when politicians disregard the law of the land and just react in a way that to them is common sense. Billions of dollars wasted on locking people up who are of no danger to us and an $80 million dollar payout to the victims.
If politicians can't comprehend basic policy based on legal precedents,how the hell can they be expected to run a country. These morons who are now bleating about freedom of speech are the same ones who think is is quite in order to jail medical professionals and social workers for reporting on what is happening in the camps.
This country is just dripping with hypocrisy
Sack these incompetent Ministers and have an election so that we can get some effective government, by more effective I mean any government other than this one.
It always amazes me how people who have no practical experience and probably zero formal training think that they are better qualified for the job than those who have spent a lifetime gaining experience and knowledge.
buby
21st Jun 2017
12:42pm
Ex ps really we don't know How many Morons we have let in, its not like its going to show straight away. It will raise its ugly head, just like you do from time to time!!
and If the Other Morons, who let the donkeys roam free after being locked up because they don't have all the info they need on them, and they end up back in society to reek havoc all over again, it really should make you think, Which is the Bigger MORON???
And then Who is the Bigger Moron that gives them lots of money, when this could be better spent ON health services! or other necessary things. I mean we have enough MOron in our country already, WE don't need any EXTRA's?
Batara
19th Jun 2017
11:19am
The article is exactly right. These three are among the worst ministers in an incompetent ministry. Get their own house in order before slanging off at the judiciary. Even then think three times and don't do it.

I am amazed that the Murdoch Press incited these stooges to shoot their mouths off, published the potentially problematic comments, then just washed their hands of it and left these three fools to carry the can. Never trust Rupert's crowd is a strong message.
Triss
19th Jun 2017
9:31pm
I reckon we have far too many lawyers in parliament, Batara. I reckon lawyers should not be allowed to be MPs and ministers.
Crashbang
20th Jun 2017
8:27am
Batara get in the real world. these ministers are only saying what the Real people are saying & thinking.. these judges should be on trial for corruption
buby
21st Jun 2017
12:46pm
I believe they are all tarred with the one brush, and ONly the $$ signs will make them stand to attention!
but i think they have a right to express themselves. If the Moron's that supposed to be keeping Us safe, aren't doing their JOBs, they should step aside and let somebody do the job properly!
I believe in democracy, and i think we should all be able to express ourselves when necessary.
Especially when the wrong thing has happened!
buby
21st Jun 2017
12:47pm
and i wonder if any of them know what is the right thing to do Triss?
dweezy2176
19th Jun 2017
11:24am
I agree that judges should be criticized, regularly given some of the "awfie" sentences handed out but when minister Tudge weighs in .. ya gotta be kiddin' .. a bloke that is a joke with his running of CentreLink has NO credibility criticizing anyone .. needs to get his feet out of his mouth and put his own house in order!
Tom Tank
19th Jun 2017
11:40am
They definitely crossed a line and infringed on separation of State and Judiciary. This seems strange from members of a party who keep tell us how strong they are on Law and Order.
Perhaps only when it is Law and Order on their terms which if implemented takes us straight into dictatorship.
I am sure we have all felt at times that the sentence didn't seem to fit the crime but we must also accept that we didn't have the facts in front of us that the Judge did.
ZIPPY51
19th Jun 2017
11:58am
The judiciary in this country is a joke. Made up predominately of leftist socialist ideologues
who are biased towards leniency to the perpetrators of crime.They the judiciary take full advantage of slack bail laws and often give inadequate sentences for matters of serious crime.When it comes to deporting illegal refugees because of rape and terrorist activity,
the AAT overrules the government's decision to cancel their visas and deport. Over 6,000
cases of this type in the last year.This country urgently needs a Donald Trump to provide vision,direction and leadership otherwise this country is headed for the dark ages.
Paddles
19th Jun 2017
2:57pm
ZIPPY 51

It gets even worse when you read, as I did this week, that a judge failed to pass sentence for over two years on a convicted felon.
As a result, on appeal, the felon walked free due to the procedural unfairness occasioned by the judges non-action.
What hope for us?????????
Crashbang
20th Jun 2017
8:30am
these judges need to be, investigated for corruption. they are not above the law.
buby
21st Jun 2017
12:48pm
MY thoughts exactly Crashbang
MjP
19th Jun 2017
12:03pm
When I read HDRider's comments my first thought was that they applied to the 3 ministers rather than the judges.
MICK
19th Jun 2017
12:04pm
And nor should they apologise.
Judges in this country have become out of control idiots who have no idea of justice or fair play for the most part. I for one am sick and tired of hearing about judgements which defy logic and fail to meet community expectations.
We have a 2 speed system of justice where the rich turn up with their senior counsel and their clients get off or at most get a token non custodial sentence. On the other end expect a different result. We have a legal system but no longer have a justice system.
Politicians should be able to deride judges who are not accountable for their bad decisions and arrogant disposition. They should be.
Paddles
19th Jun 2017
2:59pm
MICK

Even better if we were to adopt the US system of judges being an elected office rather than a life tenure as it is now!
Waiting to retire at 70
19th Jun 2017
4:17pm
That's a great idea Paddles, elect our judges! Great, we'll get intellectual giants like our current gaggle of political leaders. Stop smoking that stuff you've been on!

Legal decisions are based on facts and precedents. Do you actually 'know' either? Don't answer that, it's rhetorical. Conjecture or public opinion or the ravings of the unintelligible aren't the measures used to find guilt. Sentencing is not based on revenge but rather on the fundamental concepts of protection of the public, fairness, deterring others and reforming the individual offender.
MICK
19th Jun 2017
4:26pm
The idea has merit Paddles but I suspect the right owned media in this country will push the wrong people into office the same as it does in the political arena.
Having said that we all remember what happened when Abbott came to office: no jobs for ex Labor pollies and all jobs given to the cronies. We don't really want that with judges as well. It's bad enough as it is.
DC
19th Jun 2017
5:16pm
Right-on Mick. I don't often agree with you but here you are absolutely correct. Judges should be challenged especially here in Victoria.
I read somewhere a comment that they complained about the 3 ministers undermining public confidence in the legal system - Well, what bloody confidence?
Old Man
19th Jun 2017
5:39pm
Again I find us in agreement MICK. What world do judges live in that they expect to be above criticism? If we are not allowed to have a legitimate criticism of someone's decision, that may lead to the person making that decision thinking that they have got it right. Even you and I MICK have made the odd error.
JAID
19th Jun 2017
5:55pm
DC, "Challenged" is a fairly confronting word. The judiciary are doing a job applying the rules (as steeped as they may be in historical precedence) and fathoming their intent in relation to changing circumstances. Beyond the directly regulated part of their input, they need to be let know where they may be erring from broad social expectations but perhaps 'challenged' could be left to those who are radically askew if they exist.

We should be careful that the exploratory function of the position is not hampered so much that better solutions are not findable. By that I mean that adjusting the judiciary's response to changing conditions and events is an obvious need where laws and precedents are always made in advance. Science may not be the domain of the judiciary but no doubt it can be usefully applied. If it is capable of finding or upholding mechanisms which reduce offence while improving understanding and reducing costs along with the inhibition of freedom then the whole society would clearly be ahead. It should be and it should be always improving these things.
MICK
20th Jun 2017
10:09am
I though we might have been perfect Old Man.....still looking for the smilies on this website. Ha, ha.
Hasbeen
19th Jun 2017
12:05pm
What a dreadful bit of lefty garbage, trying to beat up an unimportant story into something important, where none exists.

If anything we need a damn sight more criticism & correction of judges, particularly lefty activist judges, who try to dictate the law, rather than administer it.

We the public are sick & tired of lenient judges letting criminals out on our streets, committing more crime, even when on bail. It is about time our elected representatives started to pull these over privileged judges back into the real world.

Shame on you Leon Della Bosca, aren't you supposed to be on our side.
JAID
19th Jun 2017
12:57pm
Journalists are not lackeys. Media has enough of those. I may not be on exactly the same waivelength as your opinion piece suggests Leon but am very pleased you put it.
MICK
19th Jun 2017
1:19pm
Whilst I agree with you Hasbeen what do you think of right leaning judges? Not as though they don't exist.
What we need is more public condemnation of judges who make bad decisions with the media not backing off for of fear of being hauled before this unaccountable group of old farts who for the most part fail the pub test of justice and hand out what can mostly be described as nonsense decisions.
Many citizens have had enough. We need real judges but do not have them.
Tom Tank
19th Jun 2017
1:58pm
That is totally out of order declaring that Leon Della Bosco should be on YOUR side.
there are many contributors who are not on YOUR side which definitely appears to be far right based upon your many rants and raves.
ex PS
20th Jun 2017
10:47am
To me any judge who does not let an individual put themselves above the law because of their position has made the right decision. Would all of you people who are complaining be calling for blood if these were Labor MP's in a fragile Labor majority?
KSS
19th Jun 2017
12:08pm
" Premier Daniel Andrews is running a tight ship in Victoria,". WoW! Seriously? Wow!
MICK
19th Jun 2017
2:36pm
Funny but I do not hear a lot about bad government in Victoria. Only from the right wing trolls. The same ones calling Labor out for debt & budget repair (by working Australians) when the current government has more than doubled our debt in 4 years. In case you have not heard the debt has now broken the half trillion dollar ceiling. What say you?

Anything would have to be tighter than the current federal government which is more like the Titanic sailing around the arctic in the dark.
shirboy
19th Jun 2017
12:10pm
I think Victoria's PAROLE system should be investigated.
Not a Bludger
19th Jun 2017
12:28pm
The three ministers should be applauded for their entirely accurate comments about the Victorian judiciary.

The appeal judges reacted just as we, the public, would anticipate - with disdain, overarching superiority and threats.

Time that these overpaid and underworked judges bowed to the court of public opinion rather than the social engineering that they favour.

As far as your editorial is concerned, you are wrong - elected politicians have every right and, indeed, a duty to be vocal on matters that the public deem important - and the issue of soft sentencing is certainly one of them.
Knight Templar
19th Jun 2017
2:24pm
Thanks Not a Bludger. Well said.
The Black Fox
19th Jun 2017
2:54pm
Rot "Not a Bludger". Whatever you think about the judiciary and their being right or wrong, these three politicians abused their positions and should be treated as would any other member of the public. Hunt, Tudge and Sukkar must be charged with Contempt of Court - and if not, why not? If not, politics wins the day, and if it does a new low has been set - and it clearly supports the common view that those who we charge to make the law think they are above it themselves.
JAID
19th Jun 2017
6:22pm
I could see your point The Black Fox if the political apparatus were capable of producing sequenced (naturally evolving having respect for precedence) completely up-to-the-minute legislation. If too, that judges could infallably measure actions against the political prescriptions. They cannot. All judges are fallable. Where one may err gently then society takes the swings and roundabouts on the chin for overall balance. The arena they are playing in however is vital to individuals and by extrapolation to the whole society; essential to their liberty and happiness. There is not a lot of room for judges to move. Accordingly, we can afford only so much sober, if not ignorant, respect for the institution (which cloaks the participants) before we must make it known where judgements may be erring too far from an expectable extension of the formally provided regulatory environment.

If the leg umpire misses our crossing when the run-out ball smashes the bales I happily walk. If they have a history of the same they need to be made aware that this is not acceptable. Not all decisions are as reasonably cut and dried but when judgements are less than routinely appropriate it is just not cricket.

We all know that a healthy respect for the umpire's role is critical to good gaming. Maintaining applicabilty to the role is however a responsibity for all. We should call out errors. In fact, we do every day through the appeal process. The problem some refer to here is likely that in judicial decisions are, understandably, pretty much final one way and not the other.
buby
21st Jun 2017
1:29pm
I beg to differ on that Black Fox for a change the Politicians were doing their jobs, lol for a change......which is good to see. the Judges have done the wrong thing letting those Morons back out again, and causing havoc we do not need this to happen at any time they really need to be careful. And what a load of rubbish. Democracy prevails they have a right to criticize if need be. Just as i would if you did the wrong thing and i caught you!!
Anne Ozzie
19th Jun 2017
12:48pm
I wonder do all you conservative voters realise you are advocating the overthrow of the rule of law? You are as bad as the alleged terrorists you seek to demonise. I think the 3 ministers and Abbott should be jailed at least for one night to teach them that they are not above the law. These politicians are lawyers. They know they cannot legally speak about a case when it is 'sub judice'. They should learn the lesson that breaking the law has consequences and in this case the consequence should be jail time. Regardless of what one might think of a particular judge or ruling it is not legal to try and influence the course of a trial by making the sort of comments they did
Sceptic
19th Jun 2017
2:33pm
So you think that judges may be influenced by other peoples comments. That hasn't worked very well so far.
MICK
19th Jun 2017
2:40pm
Judges are a law unto themselves. That is the problem. Add that many are hopelessly out of touch with reality and you get mayhem. Welcome to the courts in our country where the top end with their eminent representatives mostly get off a real sentence of any sort and you have a non justice system.
It is long overdue that judges were indeed criticised. That way they will either adapt or move on/retire.
Triss
19th Jun 2017
9:45pm
Slightly off the topic here, Anne Ozzie, but judges seem to overlook the rule of law when they frequently allow bail to violent thugs and let them back into the community. Surely, even under rule of law, bail should be refused if the accused is a threat to the community
ex PS
20th Jun 2017
10:52am
Judges have to work within the boundaries of the law, at any time their decisions can be appealed and reviewed. It is very dangerous for governments and the politicians to be able to criticize individual court cases.
I for one do not want a legal system that can be manipulated by politicians.
buby
21st Jun 2017
1:32pm
It seems that mayhem is arriving slowly but surely into this country. and the judges can't seem to keep on top of it!! ONe has to ask are they still with it??
JAID
19th Jun 2017
12:52pm
It is the nature of regulation to lack complete specificity just as change and infinite possiblity exist. We select people who are likely to know the law well, to deliver it; we know they will excerise taste or preference where there remains latitude and we know there is latitude. Regulation cannot hope to cover all things and all eventualities.

Judges and magistrates may be selected for a variety of reasons but one would hope that among these is an adequate interpretation of evolved community understandings where the hard rule of law and obvious extrapolation from this starts to thin.

This reliability for appropriate interpolation is paramount if community expecation of fairness is to be upheld. If a judge or magistrate does not appreciate that the role and being put into the role is itself high indication of respect integral to and requirked of the judiciary they misunderstand the licence. It is in the context of this respect that the people and their representatives have a duty to identify a poor hold on the fairness we seek.

I am not well acquainted with the subject ruckus and do not comment on that directly. Nor would I wish comment be taken as incitement to break law. Those criticising a primary institution for the maintenance of fairness in society will exercise an appropriate freedom only after intense inspection of their own rationale.

Law as given does contain a strong element of punishment by way of deterence. Naturally that is not its only interest or role. It helps manage relations, it restricts liberty where that is taken too lightly and it also aims at atriking a balance which minimises tendancies to revenge and vigilanteism. It may fairly take an experimental attitude where required response is not clearly delineated but even confronted by the pervasive, feel good, American style populist victim impact statement modified justice it must not interpret law as "an eye for an eye." Fairness in meted justice is as much about the future as the past, the offender as the offended; more about liberty than constraint.
ex PS
20th Jun 2017
11:05am
All I know is that if I am ever in a position where my actions have to be judged, I want someone sitting in front of me that has a thorough understanding of the law and how it should be interpreted. I don't want to tried in front of some bloke that was found at the local pub or a bloody no nothing politician.
Most of the people ranting on this site including myself, would be incapable of taking evidence into account and applying the proper sentence. Balance and public perceptions of crime is quite admirably provided by the Jury who provide the verdict in these cases. Judges very seldom provide the verdict and the sentence. And in those cases where they do it is not one person but a panel who make the determination.
Politicians have a forum where they can act outside the laws that others have to act within, and that is part of Parliamentary Privilege, to me that is more than they need as some of them abuse this privilege for their own personal satisfaction. Seeing how they misuse this only reinforces my view that they should have no more power than that.
MON
19th Jun 2017
1:01pm
As a Victorian I am alarmed at the current behaviour of our courts, inclusive of judiciary, as to the lax manner in which they protect the community from offenders. As a personal view I expect our politicians to stand aside from speaking out against the judiciary, however, given the current mismanagement by the judiciary, I expect commentary to be given by our state politicians, except, in this case we have a silent state parliament and if the federal politicians can't speak out than who can? The judiciary!
MICK
19th Jun 2017
2:41pm
Corporate criminals get really good justice don't they?
Rae
19th Jun 2017
5:12pm
There is limited liability MICK and it protects the wealthy from the fines and sentences that savers can expect.

The criminal class with nothing to give up also mostly walk away. It appears there is little to gain and considerable costs in sentencing them.

Savers on the other hand had best obey the law or at the very least not get caught.

They have a lot to lose in fines and time locked away.

I certainly don't see Justice blindfolded and impartial.
Sceptic
19th Jun 2017
1:34pm
If nothing else. it sure nails your colours to the mast with the nonsense comments that "Victorian Labor Government. Premier Daniel Andrews is running a tight ship in Victoria, with successful environmental and economic initiatives that are making the Coalition Government look like a second-rate operation." Leon. Maybe it demonstrates that you have no idea about just what is happening in Victoria with crime and punishment, especially the bail of violent youth criminals.
MICK
19th Jun 2017
2:44pm
You are making this a political issue Sceptic and I would suggest it is not.
All states have courts which live on blond planet and judges in all states need to either do the job to the satisfaction of a majority of the community or get out. The fact that some of these people are old farts who live in fairyland and let give sentences according to WHO has represented them is a big part of the problem.
I always thought that the facts were the issue and that the law was practised equally but I have discovered it is not so.
floss
19th Jun 2017
2:01pm
They can be a little easy on our Arab friends.
MICK
19th Jun 2017
2:52pm
In Sydney there is a killing almost every week as well as robberies, home invasions and violent attacks on people which happen almost every night. In almost all cases the suspects are of 'Middle Eastern appearance'.

Our Islamic population is stated as being around 2.2% of our mix? So why is it always "muslims" who are involved in crime? Also, that is only what is shown and there would be much much more.

Judges need to lock career criminals up in austere jails without mods and cons. I would say that the Brothers for Life got a decent sentence a couple of days ago but many others do not.
Triss
19th Jun 2017
9:52pm
I agree with you, Mick, and it irritates me when I think of the amount of money it costs us taxpayers to accommodate these crims and give them nutritious, free grub and free health needs when there are law abiding Australians living in cars and under bridges who have to go to soup runs to keep themselves fed.
mogo51
19th Jun 2017
2:04pm
Whilst i agree Ministers should concentrate on their portfolio responsibilities, the courts need to listen to the people and take into account the public interest. Criticism never hurt anyone.
Itism
MICK
19th Jun 2017
2:52pm
Ever heard of 'the King's New Clothes'?
micko
19th Jun 2017
2:14pm
Sentencing in Victoria is not living up to public expectation. I, personally, am happy these 3 have spoken up. Maybe the publicity being generated can bring about some much needed change.
MICK
19th Jun 2017
2:55pm
It's the same anywhere in the country. The worst outcomes is for corporate scandals where the thieving of millions of dollars of life time savings is treated as a misdemeanour. The crooks even have the hide to stach their stolen loot and the sentences are a total joke.
Who is to blame? JUDGES!
Bes
19th Jun 2017
2:26pm
Who MAKES the laws in this country?
MICK
19th Jun 2017
2:56pm
The crooks and governments who do not enforce Law and Order and will not build more jails to house the criminals we breed.
retroy
19th Jun 2017
3:07pm
These three not so competent ministers are merely enunciating what many people are thinking, and the judiciary, instead of more closely aligning with societal values, want to hold on to their perceived position of power.
These judicial officers need to be brought to heel by passing appropriate legislation which curbs their wide ranging powers, and sentences and parole setting which is more acceptable to an increasingly threatened society.
bandy
19th Jun 2017
3:09pm
Maybe all judges at some time in their careers should be subject to something like a committee inquiry to explain their decisions so us lower civilians can understand what the hell is going on.Remember they are just another boys club
TREBOR
19th Jun 2017
3:18pm
Just another distraction for the general public - so as to avoid the really hard questions.
MICK
19th Jun 2017
4:23pm
Probably right TREBOR.

Maybe time to focus on the HUGE debt this government has run up, tax cuts for the rich and new taxes for everybody else. Did I miss something important?
Rae
19th Jun 2017
5:21pm
90 % of people out there have no idea what is going on TREBOR.

Not many are asking the hard questions.

Wonder if Leon wakes in fright imagining that nearly 10 trillion of derivatives on the banks books blowing up?

How that debt is going to be handleds is something I'd like to know.
MICK
20th Jun 2017
10:12am
Not sure if leon understands this issue Rae. Sorry leon.
As always ordinary citizens only find out when they wake up the next morning after the big end has gotten out. Never much changes.
dougie
19th Jun 2017
3:26pm
Isn't it amazing the pundits such as yourself and others call for blood when the Judiciary allow inappropriate bail to those before the court, yet when those whose voice can be truly heard express their feelings it is wrong.
Leon you cannot have it both ways. Myself I would rather that those who are responsible for law making are the ones who openly criticise those who are their to impose the laws.
There are too many decisions made based on the personal feelings of the particular Judge or Magistrate and not taking into full consideration the laws and the community expectation. One sees many decisions made based on how the person handing down the penalty or bail conditions based on how that decision maker will be perceived within the community.
Jenny
19th Jun 2017
3:38pm
What happened to freedom of speech? Doesn't everyone have the right to express an opinion? I would have to agree with the three pollies, even though I personally have no time for them, and support their right to speak out about an issue many have concerns about.
MICK
19th Jun 2017
4:22pm
As much as I despise a couple of the people concerned I agree with their right to question as long as they do not deny this to the opposition as well. That of course is different...as it always is.
trood
19th Jun 2017
4:51pm
Yes what ever happened to freedom of speech? What these 3 said is quite true!
Wasn't there a case recently where an Afghani raped a number of women and was let off on cultural grounds that he was not accustomed to seeing women on the beach in bikinis WTF!
Not Amused
19th Jun 2017
4:39pm
The courts should be above direct political interference but they should never be above criticism from anyone who wants to speak out on any issue of public interest. Just because someone is a minister of the crown doesn't mean he has forfeited his rights to free speech. This is another example of the judiciary losing confidence of the wider public.
Nomad1946
19th Jun 2017
5:37pm
As a Victorian Taxoayer and lifetime resident with an extended family I fully 100% support these gentlemen ... The judiciary in Victoria is totally out of touch with the community on these matters and consequently need to be brought to account. Too many repeat offenders and violent offenders are being given "token" sentences , bail, and/or parole. Our communities are no longer safe.
Nomad1946
19th Jun 2017
5:42pm
You're right old son, Federal Ministers should concentrate on their own jobs ... Viz. working for their constituents, keeping their communities (and Austrakia) safe from terrorists, violent criminals, upholding and supporting Australian Laws. This article is an insult to the intelligence of the entire Austrakian community.
Pamiea
19th Jun 2017
5:53pm
Good on them for voicing their opinion. The legal system in Australia needs a good shake up. Particularly the lawyers who support crims, murderers, terrorists etc
Kali-G
19th Jun 2017
5:59pm
They have voiced the TRUTH!
Our judiciary are part of the present state of disintegration of our society, they live in cocoo land. We need hanging judges!
ex PS
20th Jun 2017
11:08am
Just as long if you or one of your family ever run foul of the law, you are happy to come up against a "Hanging Judge".
don
19th Jun 2017
6:12pm
When those Sudanese robbed a jewelry store of $100,000 dollars and assault and they get a suspended sentence , even though some were of adult age , it tells me the judicial system is stuffed to put it mildly plus numerous other sentences. The Pollies should pass laws that make them impose punishments. They are only reflecting what the community is saying.!! The victim is the one who cops it all the time. I agree with the pollies for a change.
MD
19th Jun 2017
9:43pm
Isn't this just another two bit beat-up that incites everyone to get off their high horse instead of riding high and playing a perfect polo shot ? Whilst most players are down and muckin in the mud with the worst of em can we rely on anyone (with integrity) to keep an eye on the ball and play the game by the rules. If the comment herein is any indication, then I fear we stand to gain as much from the poly pony's plaited tail posterior.
So what if a couple of pollies shoot off at the mouth - what's new ? Isn't it time we asked ourselves why it is, that nowadays almost all or any; comment, action, decision, nod or wink, sly or otherwise, by ANYONE, in any position of responsibility or leadership, is vociferously harangued by the all knowing, holier than thou multitude. Even good (former) peanut farmers made valid/questionable contribution at leadership when given opportunity: think Joh or Jimmy.
Society at large (us) and the associated social mores (ours) are generally a mirror image, reflecting the shining example of our torch bearers (them).
The looking-glass will shatter - the likelihood being far greater - given the overwhelming number of stone throwers. What then ? Elect one of your own, or maybe some hack journo polished enough to sparkle ? Thanks, but thinkin I'll stick with the peanut farmers, at least I know I'm good for peanuts.
Crashbang
20th Jun 2017
8:23am
congrats to the ministers for saying what we are thinking. the judges seem corrupt & under Islamic influence.
Not Amused
20th Jun 2017
8:33am
Regarding the view that the ministers should focus on their portfolios, isn't it the collective job of government to protect their citizens? The judiciary has not been doing that so it is up to the ministers of government to say exactly that. When the judiciary repeatedly does not reach expectations, what redress does a responsible government have, especially if the judiciary tries to silence them. This attempt to silence criticism is a bad development.
4b2
20th Jun 2017
9:00am
This typical of those born to rule. Cant remember the same comments from the PM or any of his crew when the Mad Musie held hostages in Sydney. Oh! that right the NSW Government is a Liberal Coalition, silly me.
bike30
20th Jun 2017
11:52am
Just makes you wonder who is running this country, or for that matter this state, with the laws the way they are written....who is it suppose to protect?..the victims or the terrorist[s].. more the latter the way it's going....don't victims have more rights?...obviously not with the terrorists getting 'lenient sentences'....the laws have to change Mr. Andrews...the people of this State have had enough...they want action not words, if your party isn't prepared to do it, then step aside...I want a leader who has the guts and conviction, to change the law so that the victims feel vindicated.....if a terrorist terrorises victims they lose their rights, and they can forget about discrimination because they have lost that right too...why should the 3 Federal ministers apologize for being in 'contempt of court', when they are only agreeing with what the majority of people are saying, about laws in this State, in regards to terrorists..........blame the weak laws, not the judges who have administer the sentences.....crime = time.......better still send them out to the desert without water and let them beg for mercy, better off dead, and God will deal with them on Judgement Day..........
bike30
20th Jun 2017
11:52am
Just makes you wonder who is running this country, or for that matter this state, with the laws the way they are written....who is it suppose to protect?..the victims or the terrorist[s].. more the latter the way it's going....don't victims have more rights?...obviously not with the terrorists getting 'lenient sentences'....the laws have to change Mr. Andrews...the people of this State have had enough...they want action not words, if your party isn't prepared to do it, then step aside...I want a leader who has the guts and conviction, to change the law so that the victims feel vindicated.....if a terrorist terrorises victims they lose their rights, and they can forget about discrimination because they have lost that right too...why should the 3 Federal ministers apologize for being in 'contempt of court', when they are only agreeing with what the majority of people are saying, about laws in this State, in regards to terrorists..........blame the weak laws, not the judges who have administer the sentences.....crime = time.......better still send them out to the desert without water and let them beg for mercy, better off dead, and God will deal with them on Judgement Day..........
Priscilla
20th Jun 2017
12:02pm
The Ministers are correct in their criticism of the judiciary. The sentences passed for these serioud crimes are appallingly inadequate and and are definitely not 'justice'! People's lives can be affected forever by some of these terrible crimes and the perpetrators are left off with such ridiculous sentences and some not given a sentence at all! The judiciary needs to come out of their ivory towers and realise their job is to punish wrong-doers, not the victims, who rarely get justice these days. Shame on them!!
bike30
20th Jun 2017
12:02pm
Well Mr. Stary, time to get the 'laws on terrorists' changed, the people of this State have had enough.....what if you got terrorized Mr. Stary, what would you do?....the ball is in your court
Loey
20th Jun 2017
7:27pm
I cannot agree with your opinions, Leon. It has always been the job of politicians to act as our advocate. They should be calling out others when they see the need. No one is above the law. Not politicians, nor police, nor even the courts! We all need to be called out from time to time. If we are no longer allowed to look to our politicians as our advocates, who DO we look to? This should all be open to honest debate, and not shut down by expressing condemnations! I used to have a local politician in Victoria years ago, to whom any in the electorate could go to for help, even regarding unfair traffic fines! The politician's office would have it all sorted out promptly, with a satisfactory conclusion. Are those days over for good?


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