Bleijie’s u-turn pure hypocrisy
A SPEECH Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie gave in State Parliament in November, 2009, criticising the Bligh Government's Criminal Organisation Bill is telling.
The views expressed then by Mr Bleijie, just some eight months after he was first elected to Parliament, are those of a young man with a clear grasp of the basic tenets of law.
There has been some mockery of Mr Bleijie, depicting him disparagingly as an articled clerk. In fact he received rigorous legal training and by all accounts had a solid grounding in every aspect of the law.
Politics and power corrupt. What other explanation can there possibly be to explain how a former lawyer, now the state's chief law officer, could shift from saying that Ms Bligh's Criminal Organisation Bill removed the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Queensland to, in justifying his own legislation, the claim that "it is also a defence if an alleged offender can prove that the organisation they are a member of is not a criminal organisation".
The Vicious and Lawless Association Disestablishment regulations create guilt by association, make criminals of the communal and would force every prudent person to restrict interaction to the small circle of those they know intimately.
Now police are checking trade skill licence holders to determine the professional future of Queenslanders based on arbitrary assessment of their circle of friends. What next?
Debating Labor's bill in 2009, Mr Bleijie noted that the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, the Law Society and the Bar Association were all opposed to what he described as draconian legislation that Genghis Khan would have been proud of.
Today he says the ends justify the means. They do not, never have and never should in democratic society.
Those who say otherwise, who claim those without sin should have nothing to fear, should reflect on the lessons of history.
Premier Campbell Newman suggested yesterday that if the legislation appeared to be doing its job it may be removed from the statute books in three years.
Such talk again attempts to justify the suspension of the right of law to address an issue that Mr Bleijie in 2009 was adamant could be dealt with by existing laws and a better resourced police service and CMC.
That remains the case.
Yet this Government appears as unwilling as the last to provide appropriate funding while more than ready to trash basic rights and fundamental principles of law.
Peter Wellington described as "pure hypocrisy", the Attorney-General's about-turn on freedom of association. It's hard to disagree with him.