OUR CONTEMPTIBLE JUDGES – What a ridiculous situation. Three members of parliament, all federal ministers, have made statements expressing their strong opinions about two senior Victorian judges being soft sentencers in terrorism cases. The said judges are so offended by these comments that they have requested the said parliamentarians to appear before the court to explain why they (the parliamentarians, not the judges) should not be charged with contempt. The government decided the parliamentarians will not appear individually but will be represented by the Commonwealth Solicitor-General.

“The attributed statements appear to intend to bring the court into disrepute to assert the judges have and will apply an ideologically based predisposition in deciding the case or cases and that the judges will not apply the law,” a letter by judicial registrar Ian Irving, seen by the Australian, reportedly says.

“The attributed statements, on their face, also appear to be calculated to influence the court in its decision or decisions, and to interfere with the due administration of justice in this state.”

The editor of the Australian, the journalist who reported the remarks and Nationwide News Pty Ltd, publisher of the Australian, have received similar letters.

I’m not quite sure how the criticism by Greg Hunt, Alan Tudge and Michael Sukkar are calculated to influence the court, since the court cannot be influenced – we have, after all, such thing as the separation of power, independent judiciary, and safe judicial tenure. The judges can pretty much do whatever they want to do – and they do, as evidenced by their decisions – only subject to higher appellate courts, not the parliament, the government or the community. Besides, the court is doing great job bringing itself into disrepute, without the help of Hunt, Tudge and Sukkar, thank you very much. That judges, who already are not answerable to anyone, unlike, say, parliamentarians, think that in addition to that they should also be free of robust criticism of their actions, smacks of just a tiny bit of arrogance – and contempt for the community. With the greatest of respect, Your Honours.

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