Lawyers hit back at Australian leader’s claim he wants nothing to do with them

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Lawyers have hit back at Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s statement that he wants nothing to do with lawyers after criticizing his plans to set up an anti-corruption body.

As he campaigns for another term as prime minister ahead of Saturday’s national election, Morrison stuck to his plans and slammed New South Wales’ anti-corruption body, describing it as “a kangaroo court”.

“I don’t care if the barristers and the lawyers and others up there in Macquarie Street – not in parliament but in the barristers’ chambers – don’t agree with me,” Morrison said last week in a reference to the Sydney court precinct. “They disagree with me all the time. I never had much dealings with them in my entire political career.

The Mirriam-Webster online dictionary defines “want no truck with” as refusing to be involved.

The Australian Bar Association has said it is deeply concerned by the Prime Minister’s attack on Australian lawyers.

“Australia’s more than 6,000 hardworking lawyers are committed to promoting the administration of justice,” ABA Chairman Matt Collins QC said in a statement.

“Each year, they provide countless hours of low-paid, pro bono assistance to people in Australia’s most deprived communities. They often stand between the individual and the state and constitute a bulwark for the rule of law. Anyone who does not have a truck with lawyers cannot have made a conscientious effort to understand their indispensable contribution to civil society.

Law firms in Australia are generally cautious when expressing opinions about politicians. However, one company made an exception in a Tweeter following Morrison’s comments.

“Scott said he doesn’t have a truck with lawyers which literally means he’s avoiding dealing or being associated with us which seems like a win-win situation,” the firm tweeted. local Brand Lawyers.

Morrison plans to introduce a federal anti-corruption commission, but lawyers have argued that by only allowing the investigation where there is a “reasonable suspicion” of a criminal offense, his power would be neutralized.

Under the plan, when the proposed body investigates politicians and bureaucrats, it would have no powers to exercise search warrants, hold public hearings or make public findings of corruption, criminal conduct or misconduct. ‘general misconduct’.

Morrison said NSW’s most powerful Independent Commission Against Corruption has unfairly cost many politicians their jobs – all on his side of politics.

The Law Council of Australia also criticized Morrison’s proposal, saying the scope of corruption it could investigate should be widened and findings should be made public.

Responding to Morrison’s criticism of solicitors, the Law Society of NSW noted that in NSW alone there are over 4,000 NSW registered solicitors working for the Federal and NSW governments.

“Every prime minister, every government relies on lawyers to ensure they act within constitutional bounds. Having ‘no truck’ with lawyers would render government unusable,” the Law Society of NSW said in a statement.

“The Law Society also considers integrity agencies such as the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption to be important tools for governments, their agencies and their employees to act in the public interest.”

Morrison promised in the last election in 2019 to introduce an anti-corruption body, but failed to deliver.

The opposition Labor Party has also promised to introduce a federal anti-corruption commission.

Australia’s election has been dominated by a debate over the cost of living and wages, housing affordability and which party is best placed to resist China’s growing ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to current polls, Morrison is expected to lose the government, with opposition leader Anthony Albanese expected to win.

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