Legal profession welcomes Attorney-General Christian Porter

The post brings with it a responsibility to be “guardian of the public trust,” says Law Council of Australia

Legal profession welcomes Attorney-General Christian Porter
Australia’s top lawyer organisations have welcomed the appointment of the Hon. Christian Porter MP as the country’s 37th attorney-general.

“On behalf of the legal profession, I congratulate Mr Porter on his appointment,” said Fiona McLeod SC, Law Council of Australia president.

McLeod said that Porter holds a key critical appointment within the government.

“The attorney-general, as chief law officer of the Commonwealth, is charged with defending and promoting the system of law and justice,” she said. “As the guardian of the public interest, the attorney fulfils a critical role in upholding the rule of law – seeking to ensure equality before the law, access to justice, the right to a fair trial and the right to review executive decision making by a strong independent judiciary.”

The council is confident Porter would do well in his new position.

“As a former senior prosecutor for the Western Australian DPP, and later state attorney-general, Mr Porter well understands the importance of the rule of law and the steps, which are not always popular, that need to be taken in its defence,” McLeod said. “We look forward to engaging constructively with Mr Porter on a myriad of issues in 2018, from legal aid and court resourcing to the careful balancing of important human rights and freedoms.”

The Australian Bar Association said it welcomes the new appointment, and looks forward to working with Porter on many important issues, including consideration of the implementation of recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory and the current review of the family law system.

The Law Council president also thanked the Hon. George Brandis QC for his work as attorney-general.

"We are grateful for the constructive and productive relationship we have enjoyed with Senator Brandis and his staff. He has been an advocate for a strong rule of law in his term and supported the calls of the Law Council for the reversal of funding cuts this year to the legal assistance sector. He has commissioned a number of important reviews, including referrals to the Australian law Reform Commission on Indigenous Incarceration and Family Law,” McLeod said.

“I was particularly moved by the eloquence and the authenticity of Senator Brandis's advocacy around marriage equality. On behalf of the Australian legal profession I wish Senator Brandis all the very best,” she said.

The Bar said it is grateful to the senator for his work, particularly in relation to marriage equality, national security legislation, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, and defending the rule of law and the separation of powers and the independence of the legal profession.

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