Cassy O’Connor wrong again but won’t admit it

Elise Archer,Attorney-General

Cassy O’Connor clearly has no idea how the law works and is once again choosing to politicise an issue instead of trying to understand it.

As Attorney-General and First Law Officer of the State, I exercise purely non-political functions in intervening in some court proceedings to seek clarity on the proper interpretation of Tasmanian laws.

The intervention in the High Court case of Citta v Cawthorn is on the advice of the Solicitor-General due to the complex legal question of law of whether a State can invest its tribunals with the judicial power of the Commonwealth.

It has absolutely nothing to do with taking sides, and to suggest otherwise is absolutely disingenuous and wrong.

This is a matter of constitutional law and I have needed to intervene in the appellant’s proceedings in the High Court appeal for it to resolve an issue that goes to the very fabric of our federation. The High Court stated itself in the Special Leave application proceedings that this is a case of national significance (as is often the case in matters in which I intervene).

As the Solicitor-General stated in his Annual Report* and as I said in Parliament, we are not attacking the validity of our anti-discrimination legislation.

We will always remain committed to working with people with disability, their families, carers, disability providers and the wider community, to build a more equitable, inclusive and accessible State for all Tasmanians.

I would ask Ms O’Connor educate herself on the law before embarrassing herself with her lack of understanding of it.

*Solicitor-General’s Annual Report 2020-21

“The Attorney-General accepted my advice to intervene in the special leave application in this matter as a result of concerns that the judgment of the Full Court of the Supreme Court did not appear to accord with the constitutional principle that a State is unable to invest the judicial power of the Commonwealth in a body which is not a court, in this case, the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal. As was pointed out in the High Court, the case is of national significance. The special leave application has been allowed, and so the matter will go on appeal to the High Court during the next reporting period.

“I mention the case to clarify two matters that have been misrepresented in the public domain. The first is that the State’s case does not involve an attack on the validity of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1995. The second is that the State’s case does not attack the merits of the cases advanced by either party. The State’s concern is that, until the Full Court’s decision is authoritatively ruled on by the High Court, State Tribunals will be left in the difficult position in which they are bound to follow a decision of the Supreme Court, which may lead them into error, and occasion inconvenience and expense to the parties.”

/Public Release. View in full here.